If you like camping, rafting, and fishing, then this is the perfect site! We've gone back year after year and it never disappoints. Each site has a picnic table, a fire pit, and a drive way that can squeeze 2 cars and trailers if they aren't huge. You have to find flat ground to set your tent on, but it exists. We love that there is a boat ramp right on site so we can push off from there and go as far as we want. There is some firewood, but bring an axe to break it down. Each pit has a grilling platform which makes it easy to grill out. Freshwater can be filled at the gas station in town for free. They are super nice and make sure to purchase something from there at least once during the trip. Dogs are allowed but most people don't have theirs on a leash, so be aware if you dog is one that may not get along with others well. The bathrooms are a toilet over a hole in the ground. Bring extra TP just in case. There are some great hiking areas around as well, just be aware of bears, mountain lions, and moose. Absolutely love this site; can't wait to go back this summer.
This site was beautiful and well kept. The gentleman (park ranger?) who greeted everyone and made sure the rules were followed was very nice and answered all of our questions. I appreciated that he was around as it make me feel safer if I were to travel alone. This is a great site for families or groups as the sites are close together so one could reserve 2 and have a lot of room for multiple tents/cars. On the other hand, if you are looking to get away from people, this is not it. The sites are close to each other with little to no barriers/designation lines between them. This is a great site for those testing camping with their dogs or small children. Not too far of a trip, great walking space, and the ranger is great about making sure all dogs are kept on leash. It is near to the Oasis Ranger Station and the Florida Trail, as well as loop road and Shark Valley. The stars were absolutely incredible being so far from major cities. Other than how close the tent sites were, my one big negative is the amount of road noise. The closest campsites are maybe 100 meters from the Tamiami Trail so if you're a light sleeper, it is less than ideal.
This campsite was as expected. Was it my favorite ever? No. But it gets 5 stars for being exactly as depicted on the recreation.gov site. The tent camp sites were far enough apart that you didn't feel like you were overlapping with your neighbor and far enough from the main road that road noise is not an issue. Our site easily held 2 cars, a 4 person tent, and a 2 person tent with room to spare. Each site has a campfire pit and a picnic table. There are bear cabinets around to put your food in overnight if you don't want to leave it in your car. This is not just for bears, but panthers and hungry raccoons too. Even during the dry season, the ground was quite damp so I was happy to have a good footprint for our tent. I would make sure to prep for this by bringing water resistant shoes next time. The campfire area has a grill attachment so if you are just doing burgers and hotdogs, I wouldn't fret too much about cooking utensils; just get the fire going first to sanitize the grill. Bring your own firewood. We were able to scrounge for some, but I wouldn't depend on that. There is a bathroom (hole in the ground with a toilet on top); totally fine, but I would advise to bring extra TP just in case it hasn't been restocked. There are RV sites on the other side of the lake; I appreciated that they were separate as we didn't have to be right next to all the generators. The only negative thing was some jerk who was speeding around the loop road in their Jeep, kicking up dust and dangerously drifting the corners; I didn't feel safe walking along the road to the bathroom. But that is an issue with an inconsiderate camper and not the NPS.
I would camp here if for some reason I couldn't get out to one of the chickees before sunset, and didn't want to navigate the mangroves in the dark. Or if it is cold out and I am out fishing for multiple days. The site has a dock and a shore that one could put their boats. It has 3 different small clearings that are surprisingly well cleared and level. The site can be reserved for 2 groups and up to 5 people. The porta-potty was clean. However, even in a 25 knot wind, none of it gets back into the clearings making it so the mosquitos are awful 24/7 unless it is downright cold.
This is within the Everglades National Park, so unless you have a pass, you'll have to pay for entry. This site has no freshwater and minimal to no cell service. All trash must be paddled out.
This is a beautiful Chickee! Brand new and ADA certified as much as a platform over water can be! Both platforms have ladders and the eastern platform as small steps down towards the water level for those with limited mobility. This is the only chickee with railings and 2 porta-potties, one big enough for a wheelchair. The platforms were clean and both have cooking tables. This is a great one nighter, or a stop on the way to further sites like Hells Bay of Lane Bay chickee. It is semi-protected so one still gets a decent breeze, but expect the mosquitos to swarm after sunset; bring cards or a book to entertain you in the tent. The relatively short paddle is perfect for a first timer! It is among the shortest paddles for any chickee in the Everglades. Starts off through beautiful winding mangroves trails, then a short jaunt across the more open Pearl Bay and you're there! Even on a super windy day, this wouldn't be that bad as there's a lot of places to hide along the edges of Pearl Bay. If you are the first person to traverse the trail that day, keep an eye out for all the spiderwebs! We had a few horseflies on the paddle through the mangroves which was probably the worst part of the trip! There is no electricity, no freshwater, and minimal to no cell service.
The Hell's Bay Chickee is one of 4 that I have visited. The structure itself needs a little love. I liked the angled boardwalk which made it feel a little more separate from the other platform. It is definitely one of the oldest chickees. The porta-potty doesn't lock and someone put a string on it to hold it shut. There are no ladders like some of the new chickees so on a super low tide some may have issues hauling themselves up. There is also no cooking station so there are a lot of areas where camping stoves melted the composite floorboards. However, it is a stable structure and the porta-potty was clean. There were fishing line and hooks wrapped around a few of the posts, but I blame inconsiderate campers for that and not the NPS. The paddle was relatively easy; we had a moderate headwind at one part which may have been more difficult for less experienced paddlers. I thought the trail was well marked from the head of the the Hells Bay Canoe Trail, however, I mapped and planned a lot ahead of time which may have factored in. Heads up that if you are the first paddler of the day, there will be a load of spider webs across the trail. Contrary to some other reviewers, we saw a lot of wildlife! A few dolphins swam by the Chickee and on the paddle we saw sharks, seabirds, and fish. Mosquitos were awful right after sunset, but a strong north wind came in which blew them away. Winds can change drastically and quickly, so make sure to tie of your watercraft really well; we went from flat calm to 25knots in just 5 minutes.
This site is a ground site tucked into the mangroves and vegetation along the Lopez River. It is an easy paddle to navigate from Chokoloskee (~6miles) or from the Everglades Gulf Coast Center (~9miles). Even on a cool, breezy evening, you will be swarmed by mosquitos a no-see-ums. Pack a tent that you don't mine hanging out in and bring cards/books to pass the time as there are certain hours you will not want to be outside. Even though it was ground camping, no fires are allowed. There is a porta-potty which was quite clean. While I am happy we did this camping trip, next time I'll paddle the extra mile or so to the Crooked Creek Chickee. This site does allow for 3 groups with a total of 12 people, however, there are only really 2 sites each with a picnic table. Packing in another group would have been uncomfortable, especially in COVID times. The porta-potty is in the more eastern site, so the other party has to walk through the campsite to use it. We fit in a 4 person tent, a 2 person tent, and 3 hammocks into the eastern site; likely only room for another small tent. The western side may fit 2 small tents at best. We paddled back via the northern route through the mangrove creeks, and while the navigation was a little more difficult, there was far more wildlife and much more relaxing. You must check the tides before doing this paddle!