The Everglades are famous for their unique wildlife and the striking beauty of the wetlands. You have only to watch the sunset over an endless expanse of water to understand why they are considered a paradise of relaxation. Don’t be fooled though, there are also endless exciting activities to take advantage of. Everglades National Park camping, for example, is second to none, and at Chokoloskee, we seek to make sure guests have access to all the everglades offer.
Everglades National Park Camping: Discover the Adventure
Rent a Boat for Yourself
The absolute best way to see the Everglades, since they are mostly water! You can rent from us either a skiff with a motor or a kayak to paddle. You’ll begin to notice that a lot of the activities offered either with us or in the surrounding area are water-oriented. If you are confident in your boating abilities and want the freedom to navigate on your own, this is a great option.
Hop on Someone Else’s Boat
Not without their permission, of course! At the park, we offer a number of guided fishing experiences, which are highly recommended as fishing in the Everglades is widely renowned. They call Chokoloskee a fisherman’s dream; if fishing isn’t your thing though, there are also loads of companies offering airboat tours where you can observe native wildlife like alligators and manatees from the comfort of your seat.
Give Up the Vehicle Altogether
If you prefer to rely on your own two feet, there are also swamp walking tours, where you can learn in-depth from professionals about the natural ecosystem as you hike through it. Not to worry: you won’t actually immerse yourself in the waters of the swamp (just information about it!), but you will get to see a lot of wildlife up close in a different way than you could from a boat.
Peep Some White Waders
No, not the rubber overalls you probably considered for your swamp walk. These are wading birds, including beautiful white herons and egrets, whose similar plumage you can learn to tell apart on a birding tour. Also common are certain types of hawks, as well as some smaller species with the flashy coloring often associated with a tropical climate. Your guide will teach you about each and inform you about ongoing preservation efforts.
Cycle Amongst Cypresses
Another unique experience offered in the nearby Everglades is the opportunity to take a bike tour, guided by a park ranger, among the unique pond cypress trees and then onto sawgrass prairies, noting the sharp contrast between the two ecosystems. Cycling allows you to see a larger swath of land than you could cover on foot, but get more intimate with your surroundings (specifically these unique trees and their inhabitants) than easily possible by boat.
Stare Down a ‘Gator…From a Safe Distance
If you want some guaranteed wildlife viewing with absolutely none of the risk factor, there are multiple animal sanctuaries near Chokoloskee. At Wooten’s, less than 20 minutes from the park, you can admire powerful tigers and lions, adorable otters, and fearsome alligators and crocodiles. They even have a live alligator show, taking advantage of the more than 100 gators they care for in their park.
Gain a Higher Perspective With a Swamp Buggy Tour
Wooten’s also hosts a swamp buggy tour. These are essentially a large, elevated platform set atop four giant wheels meant to overcome any type of offroad challenge. They can guide you over terrain that a boat or bicycle couldn’t manage, and the lofted seating means that you can look down upon the Everglades, a different angle than you would be able to see otherwise. These tours potentially allow you to view birds, alligators, and manatees in their natural habitat.
Take It to the Beach!
No, we’re not suggesting that you pretend our backyard swampland is a white sand beach, as much as we may know it to be just as beautiful! It’s a bit of a further jaunt than the Everglades knocking at your back door at Chokoloskee, but a 45 minutes drive will bring you to Marco Island, which houses two beautiful public beaches. It’s a wonderful day trip if you need a short break from the adventures that the Everglades tantalize you with at every turn.
Visit the Smallwood Store
If you need to trick yourself into absorbing some culture after all your outdoor adventures, pop into the Smallwood Store, which is actually a museum. Don’t worry, this old trading post established in 1906 has a gift shop too, but it’s mainly a historic site that focuses on teaching about the indigenous people and the history of the region. Some claim that the store, and the area itself, is haunted (it even appeared on an episode of “Most Terrifying Places in America”).
For those who want to take advantage of all of our wonderful offerings but don’t own a camper and feel skittish about tenting, don’t worry! We have you covered; Chokoloskee has a ton of adorable, well-furnished rental units. They’re fully outfitted with everything you might need, from the kitchen to bathrooms to the living area. You can come enjoy the camping experience with us…without all the heavy equipment.
Kick Your Feet Up
After a day of adventuring in the hot sun, you’ll likely want to take a load off and relax. Perhaps you’ll build a campfire, or perhaps you’ll seek out the Liar’s Bench Pavilion at the back of the park. Chill out on one of the rocking chairs while you warm your feet by the fire pit, grill up any fish you’ve caught, or simply watch the sun go down as you recall the events of the day.
If you do have an RV or are in need of a home base for your adventures, we hope that you will consider staying with us at Chokoloskee Island Park and Marina. We are proud of the beautiful and comfortable variety of spaces that we offer here, and we’re your perfect link to all the outdoor activities you could possibly dream up!