Everglades Exploration Network

First-time to the Everglades, Solo Camping, Tips/Help/Advice?

Hi All - 

First off, this website has been a great resource as I research all things Everglades. I've spent hours reading through threads and trying to get an idea of what I should do/bring/consider/etc. It's been fun and exciting to begin planning all of this and am looking forward to hearing some direct feedback from the community.

I'm planning a 2 night trip the weekend of 12/11 (leaving on Friday 11/1 and coming back on Sunday). I plan to paddle out Indian Key Pass with the outgoing tide around 2p and heading straight to Tiger Key or Picnic Key. I'm thinking to just camp at one of those two sites for both nights and just fish around the area on Saturday before packing up and paddling back w/the incoming tide (low tide at 8a) on Sunday morning.

My questions are:

  • What safety gear do I absolutely need to bring?
    • I have all the basics like pfd, whistle, first aid, extra paddle, etc. But I'm thinking more like "Do I need a GPS? Marine Radio? Other?"
  • How concerned should I be about doing a solo trip for my first time to the area? I'm most concerned about getting lost. That's why I'm choosing a pretty basic route.
    • FYI I'm 32 and in decent-to-good shape. Been kayak fishing in Florida (originally from Jacksonville) for the last 2.5 years on my WS Ride 115. Basically, I'm not a total newb to the outdoors but I'm not a "survivalist" either.
  • What would be other options for a similar trip if Tiger Key and Picnic are both full?
    • What do you think the odds of this happening are?
  • Any tips for fishing around that area?
  • Anything else I should know?

Please share your collective wisdom with the new guy! I'm open to all suggestions and advice....Thanks in advance!


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   To add to what Vivian wrote. if you use a pencil and a straight-edge to draw in your route, you will see that even if you are heading for a nice wide channel, if the angle by which you are approaching it may make it seem like a solid green wall. When you get out toward the open ocean, you will see if a nearer key is blocking your view of  the key you are headed to in the distance. Or if the key in the distance just seems to be part of the nearer one because the water between the two is not visible. Keep your eye out for power boats appearing from a solid wall of green. That's where the channel is. And don't rest your compass on a piece of steel. Have fun. 

It took time for me to adjust to the scale of what I was seeing. I was used to seeing 80 foot tall trees in the North so I thought the distances were farther than they really are. Since you are from mangrove country you might not have this problem

Flex - Your blog and advice have been super helpful. The entire community here has been helpful, but you've documented a lot of your trips and all the info is a great resource. Pending the weather, I may look at doing a prelim trip this weekend out of Goodland. It looks like there is a lot of space to camp so even if it's busy, I should be able to find some peace and quiet. 

Rob and Vivian - Thanks for the heads up. I've experienced this issue with scale and mangroves before. One thing that does concern me would be missing a turnoff for a smaller creek b/c of the way the mangroves tend to hide them a lot of times. We'll see how it goes.

It's all part of the adventure! Have fun. I am envious. Allison

“Nice dreams in the Ten Thousand Islands”

Aurora indica australis at Cape Romano?

It's easy beach camping! ;)

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