Monument Lake Campground is a beautiful place where visitors can enjoy the surrounding preserve while sitting at their picnic table. Visitors may enjoy nearby activities such as fishing, hiking through the preserve, and exploring the many boardwalks.
Monument Lake Campground is centrally located in Big Cypress National Preserve offering a multitude of recreational activities including hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, photography, and off-road vehicle trails.
This campground offers flush toilets and drinking water. Fire rings are available at the tent sites.
The RV campsites surround the lake offering a view from every site. Each campsite is open with limited to no shade. Tent sites are tucked away from the RV area and close to the campground host and restroom.
Located just off the highway, this campground is close to the Oasis Visitor Center, Miccosukee Cultural Center, Shark Valley, and Clyde Butcher's Art Gallery.
ADA Access: N
Was here for a couple hours
Went on a wet walk in the swamp on the west side
Kayak pictures are from further on US41
Campgrounds are based all around the lake they have bathrooms and hookups for electric on designated rv sites. Tents are set only on a separate designated area. Great to see tons of alligators.
Quiet and relaxing campground(other than one camper with a very loud generator). Quick and easy check-in with the camp host. Walked the service road and the trail north of the Oasis Visitor Center. Several alligators in Monument Lake and the canal next to the visitor center. Interesting facts about local cougar population. Had beautiful sunsets on Monument Lake. Cell service was adequate. Did not us the restrooms or showers, but very clean. We would camp here again.
nice campground with tent and RV sites. The tent site we stayed had the perfect view of the sunrise over the lake without even leaving the tent! Lots of families with kids. Picnic tables and fire rings at the tent sites and very friendly campground hosts!
I was looking to stay in Monument Lake (located at Mile 60 on Hwy 41 - Alligator Alley) after a fun day of Everglades airboating, but was surprised to find the campground closed for the season upon arrival.
Monument lake is only open during the Florida winter. For alternative options, Midway Campground was the closest option open in Miami direction, and Trail Lakes Campground was the closest option open in Naples Direction.
Monument Lake is a National Forest Service campground and can be reserved at recreation.gov in season.
My husband and I lucked out to get an absolutely gorgeous day to tent camp at this campground. The next day was back to Florida’s hot and humidity. This campground is in one of natire’s most wonderful places, big cypress national preserve. This campground has tent and rv sites. No electric sites. We went on a Sunday and the whole campground was full, it’s a popular spot, would recommend making reservations in advance. There are vault toilets over on the rv sites and flush toilets by the tent sites. There are campground hosts, fire pits in the tent area, and a lake that does have alligators, because this is Florida. The nite sky was perfect so many stars to see. Little to no noise pollution. Make sure to bring your insect repellent, I got eaten alive once the sun started setting. No trails at the campground but there are trails within big cypress. Tent campsites were level and not right on top of one another. There were a few trees for shade as well.
There are plenty of RV spots around a cute lake. We stayed in a tent only campsite which was a little farther from the lake. They were far apart from each other and did not seem too crowded. It seems every site was full the weekend we camped there. There is no shade in the tent only campgrounds and as this is south Florida, I recommend bringing some sort of pop-up or tarp to escape the sun. They had pretty great fire rings that were high with a grate across the top. There is one building with bathrooms and showers. It was pretty clean while we were there. There is also animal proof trash cans that are near by as well.
Keep in mind that there are no stores anywhere near this campground. It is located in the big cypress preserve almost right between Miami and Naples. You have to bring everything you need with you (water, firewood, food, etc). There aren't many activities in the campground besides a short walk around the lake. The lake is NOT for swimming as there are gators so you'd have to drive to get to the activities.
All in all it is nice if you are looking just to relax and hang out around your campsite for a few days but it is a littler underwhelming.
Campground: Monument Lake Campground, FL
Monument Lake Campground is located within the Big Cypress National Preserve, Ochopee, FL.https://www.nps.gov/bicy/planyourvisit/monument-lake-campground.htm) This is a small campground area located near the halfway mark across US 41 (the Original Alligator Alley) between Naples and Miami…on the north side of the roadway at mile marker 60. There are several campgrounds along this stretch of US 41, but it appears most are designed for the self-contained RV'er to roost during the winter…much like migratory birds. In fact, there are 10 campgrounds within the Big Cypress National Preserve, some are first come-first served and others it is best to secure reservations on Recreation.gov.
Amenities: True enough, if you read any articles or reviews on Monument Lake Campground…amenities are scarce. So do not anticipate glamping in style…if you don't bring "it" all with you…you won't have it (No stores for 20+ miles in either direction). Restrooms are located mid-way on the west side of the Lake, and pit latrines are located mid-way on the east side of the Lake. There is running water at this campground…but we bring our own…or filter what is available (well water tables can be "iffy" in SWFL). No electrical, water or sewer hook-ups.
The Lake is not for swimming…period! This is gator country and while you may not see one in the lake, they are present. Gators travel pretty far to find reliable water and sustainable food source. Keep small pets and chldren away from the water's edge and within reach. I've seen folks fish from canoes and small row boats.
Campsites are grassy (but realize this is Florida and everything is sandy), complete with picnic table and fire pit. Take great care with campfires, as winter months are dry and susceptible to raging fires. No shelters, so I recommend a tarp or pop-up shelter for sun shade.
Camping here in January is a bit of a crapshoot. Weather can be warm and sunny or cold and sunny from day to day. Mosquitos, sand gnats, chiggers and small flies can be found in abundance or nonexistent. I recommend Sawyer spray and lotion, Sunsect and/or Thermacell to combat insects around the campsite.
There are "animal proof" steel storage containers. Most signs point to raccoons or palmetto rats (think large Gerbil…cute but destructive), but bear and panther roam these parts with regularity. I also recommend picking up a container of fire ant granules to bring along to apply to any active sand mounds (kills the colony quickly)…fire ant bites smart, well…burn and on most leave a nasty blister.
As stated earlier, definitely use Recreation.gov to reserve your site well in advance for Dec-April camping. We were shocked there were so many vacancies following a holiday weekend, but that's not the norm. Sites are $28 for RV (26 sites), and $24 for tent sites (10). As a tent camper, I prefer sites along the north side of the lake (15-18)…more shade trees to string hammocks, further from the sound of US 41 traffic and long lake views, but you'll pay the $28. Keep in mind that some campgrounds close randomly for various reasons (renovations, seasonal rains, no hosts). Check the website for alerts.
Things to do and see: Not much to do at the campground, quite frankly. There is a service road at the NE corner of the campground that angles off NE and will intersect with The Florida Trail. But nearby, there are plenty of interesting places to visit and explore. Most notable is Shark Valley Visitor Center…20 minutes east and offers bicycling, walking or tram along a 15 mile loop in the Everglades. If you want to see hundreds of gators up close and personal…this is the place. It is a National Park, so there is a fee. (https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/svdirections.htm) Directly across from Shark Valley is the Miccosukee Cultural Center http://www.miccosukee.com/indian-village/ where you can learn about the indigenous tribe of this area. Also to the east about ten minutes is the Big Cypress Gallery Center of Clyde Butcher http://clydebutcher.com/big-cypress/swamp-walks/, and at six minutes is the Oasis Visitor Center (more of a nature center) which not only will educate you about the area, it is the official Southern Terminus of The Florida Trail (http://www.floridatrail.org/) so you can start or end your 1300 mile journey here. H.P.Williams Roadside Park is west ten miles and Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center and Everglade City a bit further.
There is a rich history in these swamps and waterways. Several great marked canoe trails to explore nearby the campground (Mitchell Landing, Turner River Canoe Trail, and Halfway Creek Canoe Trail). Note that several chickee huts have been damaged by Hurricane Irma, so check with park staff on the best on-trail camping spots. Several airboat ride vendor locations along US 41.
So while the campground itself may not have a lot to offer, there is much to see and do nearby…and its way better than staying in the big city.
Product Review: Tredagain Claystone Oxford boots
First glance at the Tredagain Claystone Oxford boot https://tredagain.com,quality construction, sturdy to the touch, thick but supple leather, and comfortable cradling fit.
The leather upper gives a combination of an aged, distressed appearance. Tredagain describes it as a full-grain waxed upper. I find the classic moccasin toe of the Claystone model attractive and stylish. Tredagain branded the Claystone an Oxford, but I would describe it more as a "chukka" boot.
As a TheDyrt Review Ranger, periodically, I'll have opportunity to review outdoor products at discounted or no cost. I was given the opportunity to review the Tredagain Claystone Oxford both with a discount code and I found them on sale over the holidays. Bonus!
The "tricot" style liner mimics a suede-like appearance visually and to the touch. The shoe laces give the appearance of leather the same coloring of the boot leather. No clue if this was a forethought by the manufacturer, but a nice touch. I did find that it was necessary to double knot said shoe laces or they came untied due to their slickness.
Boot upper stitiching appears uniform and stylish in accents. The bonding of the APX rubber sole to the leather upper is well done, leaving no trace of glue marks on or puckers in the leather.
As you read about Tredagainhttps://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tredagain-leaves-a-better-footprint-with-shoe-line-made-with-upcycled-tires-300256631.html)you learn every outsole contains 50% upcycled rubber compound called APX. All upcycled soles are produced here in the US of A! Diverting roughly 3,000 tires yearly from landfills and converting them into clean rubber compounds. How's that for sustainability. Their company mantra: "Leave A Better Footprint." Gotta love that! Tredagain is based in Austin, TX.
The sole appears rugged and durable, yet is quite flexible. Nothing is noted on the Tredagain website about the Claystone Oxford possessing a shank of any type for added support or protection and I was able to feel rocks, branches and such pressing up into the bottom of my foot while hiking. I also noticed the tight tread picked up and retained tiny pebbles, shell, etc from trails…so I would not describe the sole as self-cleaning. Casual wear created no such problem.
Remarkably, much though went into the removable anatomical footbed. It is well-cushioned, comfortable and thicker than what most companies provide.
Wearability: I found the Tredagain Claystone Oxford model true to size, just as the company representative advised when I inquired. I wear a 9.5 in almost all my shoes/boots…and the Claystone Oxford's in 9.5 fit nicely. If comfort is king…the Tredagain Claystone Oxford's reign!
Although, I'll keep that in an urban or casual hiking setting. I would not recommend them for backpacking or treking on rock strewn trails as they lack the torsional or vertical support my feet need in footwear. I do see myself wearing the Claystone Oxford's often for everyday use. It should be noted that Tredagain does not advertise the Claystone Oxford as a hiking or backpacking boot.
Be forewarned: The shoes possess a very strong leather treatment odor initially. Think new baseball mitt smell. Personally, I like the smell, but other household members and vehicle passengers may find it overpowering.
Parting shots: I like the boots..a lot, and I look forward to their longevity. But what sets this company apart from (and ahead of) many other companies is their customer service. What attracts and keeps me loyal to product brands, is both dependable, durable goods and excellent customer service. When I called Tredagain with a question, a real live young lady answered the phone. She entertained and answered my questions, gave me her name and advised to call and ask for her personally, if there was ever a problem. To me…that's huge!
Tredagain Claystone Oxford boots receive 5 stars from me!
TL;DR Great for RVs, sucks for tents
Stayed for 2 nights in the tent loop in early January and encountered several problems with the campground.
- Every night at 7pm the tent sites were swarmed with a fly hatch (may flies, I’m guessing). We couldn’t breathe without inhaling them. All campers were forced inside their tents at that time and for the rest of the night. Fires didn’t help. We mentioned the situation to a Ranger who was picking up the trash outside of our campsite and suggested that they refer new comers to a different section of the loop because sites 8-10 were the worst. Ranger said it was not her job and that she would not pass the information on to the camp host. Their RVs were parked RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER and we saw them drinking together at sunset, since their sites didn’t have the fly hatch, but no: She would not pass this along and spare the next campers. The positive is that the mosquitos weren’t bad. Just cleaning the dead bugs from your ears and nose gets nasty fast.
- Old reviews on the campground mention that there are showers. In fact, there are showers in the restrooms. However, no one is allowed to use them except apparently the camp host and ranger. We had been snorkeling the day before and wanted to rinse off the saltwater. When we asked the camp host where the closest place to buy a shower was, she said she had no idea and suggested we go ask some other campgrounds and see if anyone would let us. This seems like something a camp host should know. But for reference, the answer is: there aren’t any showers for sale. The best we could find was 10 miles west down the road at the Skunk Ape Museum there’s a campground that will sell you a $25 tent site and as many people as you have with you can shower and then just not use the site. For a family, that’s a decent deal. For the 2 of us, we just went on without them. We did see people washing their hair and taking birdbaths in the dish sink if you need.
- As we were packing up, a ranger dropped by and we spoke briefly and pointed out a fire ant mound near our site that we had been fastidiously avoiding. She immediately came back and threw some kind of stuff on it that causes them to run away and create a nest elsewhere. She clarified that it was NOT an insecticide and all it did was make them mad. No surprise, they ran over onto us and started biting us. She could’ve just waited until we were done packing up, but again, no one who works there seems to think that tent campers are part of their job. I’m pretty pissed about the fire ant stings though. It’s one thing to not know about showers, it’s another to sick fire ants on people while knowingly saying “this’ll make them mad!”
So basically the review is this: if you want to boondock in an RV, this is a beautiful place to do it. It’s got a little pond with a couple of gators and beautiful views of marl grass prairie. You can get away from the fly hatch, take a shower, block out the night traffic noise, and hopefully avoid the fire ants. For tent camping, this place was the worst we’ve stayed in for a while. While a lot of things can’t be controlled, the host nor ranger were ever helpful (and sometimes actively making the experience worse!), though they were very chummy with RV campers. Bathrooms were clean though, which was fantastic.
Went in December, which meant the temperature and humidity were bearable. Unfortunately everyone else seemed to have the same idea, as the campground was packed. The lake itself is close to the campgrounds, and beautiful. I saw several gators. Amenities quite posh, as I think many "glampers" frequent the campground. Good for introducing people to camping, as I did with a few relatives on this trip.