Everglades Exploration Network

Hi all,

Just moved to Sarasota from New England in October. Have done a few winter trips in Everglades / Keys and 10000 islands areas. Does anyone kayak camp in these areas in the summer ? I know there will be bugs, are they around 24hrs or just dusk to dawn. Heat I am not too worried about ( spent years adventure tour guiding in Equatorial West Africa etc ). As far as I can see afternoon lightning is the main problem. I was bicycling in the Keys this last weekend and the water looked very inviting for kayaking.

I am thinking island or beach camping will be the way to go.

Thanks in advance for any info/advice.


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Bugs in the day aren't always bad in the summer. They can be a constant nuisance at night though depending on the wind.

The bugs and the heat are a tag team that keeps most folks from summer camping. During the day, if you go to shade, the bugs will drive you back out. After the sun goes down, there still is no break since the bugs will drive you into your tent. And even with some breeze, inside the tent will be sweaty.

On the upside, you probably will have any campsite all to yourself.

Give it a shot... the only way to find out if the juice is worth the squeeze is to try it.

Take plenty of water!

Dave, for summer camping I would recommend sandbars in open water like this one in the lower Keys:


There's one south of Cape Romano that is an island-in-the-making and is a lot closer to you.

ZERO bugs, but watch out for high tide!! You actually really don't need the tent except as a wind block.

Also the two chickees in Florida Bay are an option, especially the Johnson Key chickee:


Little Wabbit Key (also in Florida Bay) is a good bet too, I was just there a month ago and encountered very few bugs. I think I encountered more power boaters (fishermen) than bugs ..lol. Mostly just cruising around the island.


Bring tarps to make some shade on the sandbars otherwise you'll be roasting. Bring about 2x the water (or beverages) you think you'll need. A weather radio or if you have reception, your phone so you can radar track the PM storms. Sometimes it's better to arrive much later in the afternoon to avoid the storms and heat. The nights and mornings are where it's at in the summer!

I know its not the same as the WW but I just got back from 3 days camping at Dupuis WMA and it was great when it wasnt raining. No bugs in the daytime, nice breeze and not hot in the shade, comfortable at night.  The worst of summer is yet to come.  The worst months being July, August and September IMO.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts.... I was going to give it a try anyways but wanted to see what to expect !!

Hey Flex, great pics as usual. The growing sandbar you mention just off Cape Romano is off limits from what I gather. I did a 2 nighter a month ago starting from the Goodland Boat Park/Ramp and there were notices pinned up warning boaters not to land on that sandbar as it was under some kind of environmental protection. I've camped on all those Florida Bay sites, I liked Rabbit Key, especially circumnavigating it by snorkel !! I am aiming to explore that clump of keys North and West of Big Pine Key, so thanks for the info on the safe launch and parking at Sugarloaf.

Great source of info as usual, thanks everyone.


Thanks Dave! Last time I was at the Cape Romano sandbar was last fall, and there we no signs at all. Looks like there's a seasonal closure now from March 1st to Aug 31st for nesting birds. Glad you mentioned it, 'cause I was thinking of going out there again this summer ..lol!


The lower Keys backcountry is really beautiful, but that particular lil sandbar may or may-not be there, it's very small at high tide, so plan accordingly with the charts! :)

Yesterday I flew from Everglades city down to lake Ingram and took a left a Taylor slough I saw about a half dozen power boats north of Broad river and a few in joe river and lake Ingram. other than that I didn't see a single kayak or canoe on the wilderness waterway north of shark river. Didn't fly over white water bay though. 

I don't kayak during the daytime in the summertime way too hot. With the full moon out right now it's a great time for night paddling!

As far as bugs I bought a canadian bug shirt from Garl. It seems to work better than the combo of long sleeves and bug net hat. Garl has been having a lot of luck with them so far. All of his client wear them when they are on his trips. I just ran into him in flamingo on friday ask him about them if you see them around the park.

Thanks CaptAlan, I've seen these bug shirts....


but they look like they might be hot. I am thinking of making a bug net tent that is big enough to sit/stand under so at least I'm not confined to a small tent.

I'll be going anyways at some point, the full moon paddling sounds like a good idea too.

thanks again


Dave, I have a few friends that camp in the summer and other than the info already given really stress the importance of taking double the water per day recommended. Mostly they use Krugers outfitted with bimini's to help them paddle more miles in the daytime heat. Tarps are a must. As far as rain gear, I've been bringing a well made poncho because my marmot precip pants and jacket are just too hot and the sweat will be equally as drenching.

I've been now weekending at Chokoloskee island for a second year in an air conditioned RV :-) and in the summer notice that the storms generate from the interior and are sometimes not even seen a few hours before on radar. They blow up so quickly and are quite severe some with hail and lighting. Keep you eye on the sky and paddle early mornings as they seem to start building from 11 am on. Have a plan in case they do get you while out in the open.

Air conditioned RV?

those hard sided tents on wheels do have their advantages...

Hahaha! Only the strong survive here in the summer and us weaker ones insist on AC for sleeping. Yes, metal tents work well.

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