Burns Lake Campground offers lake views from every campsite. Offering direct backcountry access, this campground is the ideal place for hunters and off-road vehicle enthusiasts.
Burns Lake offers a great access point for your permitted off-road vehicle. Campers can enjoy fishing in the lake and surrounding areas with the appropriate licensure. Just far enough from any major highway, this campground offers countless wildlife viewing opportunities.
This campground offers a picnic day use area, vault toilets, and an off-road vehicle parking lot and access point. No fresh water is available.
Surrounded by towering pine trees and wrapping around a lake, this campground allows you to feel like you are getting away while still being close enough to modern conveniences.
Campers can enjoy local sight-seeing attractions such as airboat and swamp buggy tours, museums, art galleries, and boardwalks. This campground is located close to multiple national and state parks.
ADA Access: N
This is a small, primitive campground offering access to a number of backcountry trails. If you're bringing a swamp buggy or ATV, you'll need to be sure to complete the required training and obtain your permits. There were a few swamp buggies heading to the trail when i was there. Following a large rainstorm, there was some puddling on the RV pull-through sites. The back side of the campground was drier and quieter. Access to the trails is at the far end of the pond, so ORVs will be coming past your site either on their way in or out.
Insects are somewhat more tolerable in the dry season (Jan-Apr), but but expect them anyway! The only facilities here are vault toilets. Be sure to bring plenty of water and stock up on supplies before you get into the Preserve!
You may be visited by gators or panthers, so there are food boxes available. Ample opportunity for birdwatching and looking for alligators throughout the preserve. You're also not far from the Everglades.
You may stay 10 days Jan -Apr; 14 days the rest of the year. If you have a senior or access pass, your fees are discounted 50%.
Burns Lake is about midway between Naples and Miami, making it a great location to explore either of both of Big Cypress or Everglades National Park. The campground is open all year long for day use (it's a big area for ATVs), but unfortunately you can't overnight there during the summer season. (The closest campground open year round is Midway a few miles away).
The camp ground is set up to accommodate off-road vehicles, and you've got to drive down a dirt road a little ways to access it.
The Camping area is structured in one loop around the lake with lots of beware of Alligator signs. Like most of the other camping areas in the Everglades, there are no trees, so the campground is wide open and you're right next to your neighbor.
In addition the the Alligators, you'll notice in this area when driving on US 41 that you are also in a Panther crossing area. Fortunately, the only thing to eat me was mosquitos. Be sure to pack your repellant.
You'll also want to make sure you've packed all your supplies, there's not a whole lot in the area besides wilderness! Each site is equipped with grills and tables.
Amazing campground (as long as you're cool with pit toilets and without showers). Great picnic tables and fire rings. We're tent campers and loved this place. There's only 7 tent sites and they're on the opposite side of the lake from the RV's (I think there's about 10 RV sites). It's far enough from the road that's it's quiet (about a mile on gravel from the state route to the campsites). Stars are great. Bathrooms are clean. Bring your own firewood. We didn't see any hikers or OHVers (their website says this campground is commonly used by them). There was an alligator swimming in the lake at dusk. Don't make the mistake like we did and wear sandals though, the chiggers/no see ums are terrible.
First, there is nothing like the Everglades…its vast and critical…an enormous river of grass.
Burns Lake Campground is a little more than an hour from home…but it is surrounded by primal wilderness of a different sort.
The campground itself, is…well…primitive. Bring your own water, period. Most of these primitive campgrounds in Big Cypress are used by hunters or recreational vehicle owners. You are out there…in the middle of nowhere. You would need to drive a considerable distance on 41 east or west to get to a service station that might have what you are looking for. Its quiet…in a nature sort of way. In the winter months, it will fill up as do all campgrounds in Florida…mostly with northerners cruising RV's. Being primitive, expect nothing more than a picnic table, fire ring and pit latrine.
Tent camping any time between April and November is hot…be prepared. Also prepare…no, wait…over prepare for biting insects. They spray for mosquitos along the inhabited coastline, so rarely do you even see the nasty creatures…but out here they are active and hungry. Remember too that the sun is hot, sometimes seemingly oppressive…you have a lake in front of you…but you can't swim in it…in fact, you don't want to take your eyes off the water when you are close to its edge. Gators lurk…it's true…and in these parts, they get big, real big. Though I didn't see any, venomous snakes do inhabit these parts as well.
Bears can be pesky…keep your food sealed in containers…in your car. You may still get a visitor anyways. "Florida panthers" have been seen, but are very elusive.
If its cooler and you can't seem to find any gators…my favorite spots nearby are the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk (17 miles west from the campground on US 41) The boardwalk extends some 2300 feet back into Fakahatchee Strand. You'll almost always see a gator sunning itself along the bank (which is uneasily close, as you walk by). Even if you don't see a gator…its a relaxing walk.
Ordinarily you will see hordes of gators in the canal on the northside of US 41 the entire way.
There are two other options: One much closer to the campground…just 3 miles out and to the west to HP Williams Roadside Park. I always see gators there of varying size…and really enjoy the rangers that share words of wisdom there.
Thirteen miles east from the campground brings you to Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center. Guaranteed gators. A boardwalk in front of the visitor center stands above numerous monster gators in the water below. This makes for some great photo opportunities for the shutterbug. The visitor's center is newer and fascinating. (sidenote: If you really wanted a more immersed wild, natural Florida hiking/camping experience…park in the Oasis Visitor Center parking lot…advise the rangers…and hike behind the visitor's center on the Florida Trail. Pack it in, pack it out)
There is really so much to do and far more to see in this natural wonderland. You can check out Wooten's airboat rides or any number of the other's along US 41 for a neat experience…or drop down into Shark Valley and explore even more. Shark Valley in the winter months is triple A+…gators galore…see my upcoming review and photos on that NPS.
Or consider canoeing or kayaking the Everglades and camp on the Chickees along the way.
Remember from June to November is "hurricane season"…from July on to late October, you'll likely experience rain daily as storm bursts roll through. (Take note: Florida is the lightning strike capital…but the displays are awesome!)
Monument Lake Campground and Burns Lake Csmpgrounds are nearly identical in every way…with Burns Lake being a bit further back from US 41.
Also, you may find the campground closed at different periods, so have an alternate plan.