An Evening on Jewell Key, Everglades National Park
Looking for something different to do, something maybe a trifle adventurous? Consider paddling out to Jewell Key in Everglades National Park and spending the night. Heck, get crazy and spend two!
You'll need a vessel to get there, either a canoe or a kayak. Either can be rented in Everglades City (see Resources at the end of this article). You'll also need a camping permit from the national park. And you'll need camping gear, and food and water. It takes a bit of planning to pull it off.
You find options other than Jewell Key, too. Tiger Key, Picnic Key, Rabbit Key, and Pavilion Key all have lovely campsites. I like Jewell Key because you can see both the sunrise and the sunset from the campsite. Some of the other keys have this feature too, but require a longer paddle.
On the way out look for wildlife. Expect to see exotic-looking birds, bottle-nosed dolphins, and several kinds of fish. You might even see a manatee!
This is not a summer excursion. Visit during the winter, any time between about Thanksgiving and Easter. There are fewer bugs then, and the temperatures are much more comfortable. And those long nights are great for both star-gazing and catching up on your sleep!
So consider a trip out to one of the park's Gulf islands. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet out there!
All text and photos copyright john kumiski 2021. All rights reserved.
Boat Rentals in Everglades City
Everglades National Park links
www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm - ENP website
www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/gcdirections.htm - Contact for the Gulf Coast Visitor Center
www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/wildernesscamp.htm - the wilderness trip planner
camping trip equipment list- www.spottedtail.com/trip-equipment-list/