Solo Road Trip: Hiking in South Florida

hiking in south florida

South Florida is certainly known for bustling beaches and water activities, but there are also great trails for hiking in South Florida.

With international travel slowed down, the great outdoors is having its moment in the sun to remind us of the natural beauty that lies right in our own backyards.

I’m so happy to partner with Campspot, the largest online marketplace for RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins, glamping options, to celebrate National Take a Hike Day, November 17, 2020! Accommodations were provided in exchange for my honest review of the property. Full disclosures

hiking in south florida

While many places in the U.S. are lamenting the coming of winter because it means less agreeable weather for outdoor activities, as a Florida resident I’m rejoicing for milder temperatures, less humidity, and the ability to take a hike without feeling like I’m walking inside a toaster oven.

For my Take a Hike getaway I decided I would finally take this chance to explore Everglades National Park.

Campspot was the perfect resource to help me find a home base for my adventure that would provide comfort and accessibility to some of the best trails for hiking in South Florida.

My Campspot Accommodations

hiking in south florida camping spot club naples rv resort
Club Naples RV Resort

For this trip, location was key. Everglades National Park is a far trek to the southernmost part of mainland Florida so I needed to be in the Naples or Miami area. I typed in Everglades National Park in my search on the Campspot site and found an adorable deluxe cottage in Club Naples RV Resort.

This a departure from the type of accommodations I would have normally searched for. It’s not a traditional campground or a rental home or a hotel. This property was in an RV park which I would have normally never even looked at since I’m not an RV user. I had no idea many RV resorts also have rental homes.

hiking in south florida

The cottage is a manufactured home, so this was a first for me. It was such a pleasant experience. The home itself was adorable inside. I loved the front porch to sit out in the early morning breeze and listen to the woodpecker in the distance.

It was fully furnished with flat-screen televisions with cable in the living room and bedroom, dining table, spacious bathroom, air conditioning, plenty of storage space, and a good amount of countertop space in the kitchen area.

The kitchen had a toaster, modern appliances, blender, cutlery, dishes and dish soap. There was everything one could need for their stay.

As for COVID-19 procedures, the office and community require masks in all indoor areas and outdoor areas that are close proximity to people. They also use EPA-registered disinfectant products to sanitize the home before your arrival. To my great pleasure, they also left disinfectant in the home for you. Of course I brought my own, per usual to do my wipe down of all touch surfaces and spray the vents.

The resort had a pool and hot tub and other outdoor recreation games that cater to the older crowd.

The neighborhood was quiet and seemed to be mostly long term residents or extended stay travelers. Everyone was extremely friendly and waved but not overtly nosy which is my kind of place.

I also often have to consider how I will be perceived in a space like this as a solo Black female traveler. At Club Naples RV Resort, I felt like I was just another traveler. I never got a look or a question that I sometimes get of “what are you doing here”. I must say that it was refreshing.

hiking in south florida

Hiking in South Florida Itinerary

Day 1:

The proximity to the Everglades and other nearby South Florida hiking trails is why I chose this location. It was 2 and half hours from my cottage to the Everglades NP Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. I chose to make my first full day my long day.

Because Hurricane Eta had just passed through a few days prior to my trip, some of the areas of the park had not reopened yet due to lingering high water but there was still plenty that I was able to do. The Mahogany Hammock Trail was a nice shaded hike along a boardwalk and I also did the Guy Bradley Trail along Flamingo Bay. I couldn’t get to the famed Ahinga Trail but it is one that is popular in this section of the park.

hiking in south florida

The highlight was seeing saltwater American crocodiles for the first time and really being able to see up close how they differ from the American alligators that I see all the time elsewhere in Florida.

I also took a private pontoon boat tour through the backwaters of the mangroves and out to the 2nd largest body of water in Florida, Whitewater Bay.

hiking in south florida

In the late afternoon, I realized when I was routing myself back to the cottage that I was only 20 minutes from another national park!! Biscayne National Park was literally up the road so I decided to extend my day and go check it out.

hiking in south florida

I’m so glad I did! While most of the activities for this park are boating activities, they do have a nice trail along the water behind the visitor center. It took me along the shores and then over a footbridge to the most wondrous and magical trail along a jetty. This is exactly the kind of trail that makes hiking in South Florida so different from anywhere else in the country.

hiking in south florida
Biscayne National Park jetty trail

Day 2:

On my 3rd day after checking out in mid-morning, I headed to Collier-Seminole State Park which was just 16 miles from the resort. This is a loop trail that really shows the variety of Florida nature. This trail was shaded most of the way with gumbo-limbo trees all along the path. It was a little muddy and wet before getting to the boardwalk portion but I didn’t let that stop me. This area is known for Florida panthers but I didn’t see any or any paw prints, thankfully.

hiking in south florida

Next, I headed 3 miles down the road to Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge. This is also part of the Everglades. This was another easy trail with a footbridge and an observation tower with awe-inspiring views. If you’re a bird lover, this is a hike to add to your list.

hiking in south florida

For my last stop of the day I headed to Everglades City to the Gulf Coast Visitor Center entrance. The most popular activity here is a boat tour through Ten Thousand Islands. There isn’t a hiking trail here persay, but you can walk along past the dock to the edge of the marsh and take in scenic views of the pelicans feasting in the bay.

hiking in south florida

Plan Your Next Adventure

So are you inspired to plan your next outdoor adventure getaway to celebrate National Take a Hike Day?

With pet-friendly options, cabins, glamping, treehouses, tent camp locations, and RV parks, Campspot can help you find just the right accommodations you need to fit the needs of your next great outdoor getaway.

hiking in south florida

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