Explore Everglades National Park Wilderness Waterways

Home / Articles / Explore Everglades National Park Wilderness Waterways

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness in Everglades National Park is comprised of 1,296,500 acres and is the largest designated wilderness east of the Rocky Mountains. Congress authorized the wilderness in 1978 and named it after its most famous champion in 1997.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness is very different from other places you may have boated, paddled, or camped. It can be confusing and difficult to navigate the mazes of mangrove-lined creeks and bays. As you consider a trip to the coastal portions of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness, take time to carefully plan and prepare for your backcountry experience.

Experience a subtropical wilderness that protects unique Florida wildlife and habitat

The possibilities to discover Everglades are endless when in the Marjory Stoneman Douglass Wilderness. Discover the solitude of a paddle as you glide through the waterways, view Everglades’ rare and endangered wildlife like the manatee and American crocodile, and settle-in overnight at a primitive “chickee” campsite (comprised of an elevated wooden platform with roof).

As you plan for your visit, it’s important to note a wilderness camping permit is required year-round and most wilderness campsites are only accessible by water. Most visitors plan to visit in the winter, also known as the dry season when a variety of wading birds are present – as well as their predators.  Dry season lasts from November to April, while the wet season is typically from May to October (think hot, muggy, and mosquitoes!).  

Kayaker in a wide waterway lined with trees and clouds reflected in the water.

Everglades National Park (Jane Gamble, NPS)

Beginning November 17, 2020, at 10 a.m. ET, Everglades National Park will offer online reservations for wilderness camping permits on Recreation.gov. This permit allows the permit holder and their group to overnight camp at designated campsites within the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness. Reservations are available year-round, 90-days before your arrival date on a rolling basis.

Reservations holders will be required to pick-up the wilderness permit in person at either the Gulf Coast or Flamingo Visitor Center on the day before or the day of your reserved trip. 

Explore Related Trips

Bring Home a Story