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2011/01/14 - Long Pine Key Campground, Everglades National Park, Florida City, FL

Posted 02-03-2011 at 10:29 AM by Phantom

Day 61, Camp 15 (5 nights @ $8 a night)
Long Pine Key Campground
Everglades National Park
Florida City, FL
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Drove a long day down US-27, past Lake Okeechobee, onto FL-997, south to Homestead and onto 9336 down into Everglades National Park. We stopped at the first campground at Long Pine Key, only about 7 miles into the park, because we hadn't stayed there before. It was 217 miles and took about 5 1/2 hours after stopping to re-stock groceries and eat lunch. We spent our days seeing the sights in the area. Since the road through the Everglades and down to Flamingo is 38 miles, it made some sense to see the sights, walk the trails, etc. on this side of the park. That way you only have to drive a maximum of 15 miles to walk all the available trails along the main road. At Royal Palm we did the Anhinga & Gumbo-Limbo Trails, (also a night-time gator walk with a ranger). We walked the Sand Pine Trail, visited the Pa-hay-okee ('Grassy River') Overlook and Mahogany Hammock and walked out on the Long Pine Key Trail. We even took a tour of the old Nike Missile installation which was in the Everglades during the years following the Cuban Missile crisis. The trails were great. Saw many new birds on the Anhinga Trail, plus bunches of Alligators. This is an absolute must-see place for anyone visiting the 'Glades'. Never have I seen so many birds so close-up! nor so many gators... all so close and calm and used to people. Photo opportunities abound! The campground was nice... more brush and privacy than Flamingo. When we were here 2 years ago, it had just been burned. Now it is all green again! There are NO hook-ups. No electricity, water only at the dump station. Nice bathrooms but no showers. It is about 13 miles back into Florida City or Homestead to do laundry, shopping, dining, etc.
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