Camp at Clubhouse Beach

Added by Daniel Madrigal

Spot dolphins, and tons of birds on this canoe trail. Camp out on a beach site you can have all to yourself. 4 mile paddle from the marina.

Head west from the Flamingo marina and hug the shoreline for about 4 miles (25.130287, -81.039099). Once you see an opening in the mangroves and there is sand visible you have hit your spot.

Make sure to time your arrival and departure with the tides or you will get stuck at your campsite for a few hours. This is the closest backcountry campsite in the park, and very easy to find. Great overnighter or day trip for a beginner.

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Overall rating: 

Easy path, expect everything the Glades has got to throw at you.

I'm a moderately experienced backpacker based out of Miami. I've attempted this trail twice. There is NO freshwater. All water must be packed in. The hike takes about 3 hours +- an hour depending on your pace. The trail cuts through many different biomes that are part of the Everglades, including prairies, forests, and mudflats. This is not much of a gator area. The first time was about 3-4 years ago that I hiked this trail with an experienced friend in early January. The trail was well kept, well hiked, and a bit muddy at a few places. The beach has a great view overlooking the Florida Bay. The beach has been extremely well scavenged for firewood - do not expect to find anything dead to burn - bring a stove with fuel if you want hot food. To the left and right of the beach are mangroves. The temperature during the day was not too bad during the hike, around 75. DURING THE DAY at the beach a nice breeze kept the bugs away and the heat down. However, during the night, the breeze died, the mosquitoes swarmed and the temperature became a bit muggy and stifling. My friend and I were camping via hammocks with bug nets but the mosquitoes were still able to get to us. We left that next morning with over 300 bites each. A kayaker arrived later in the evening and set up camp on the opposite section of the beach. It looked like he was trying to find firewood, but to no avail. In the morning around 5-6 we were awoken by a morning kayak group going for a sunrise paddle - so don't expect complete solitude, it will depend on who comes and goes. Overall the trip was still fun besides the missing breeze that we expected to keep the mosquitoes down. Fun enough for me to try again. My second attempt at this trail was earlier this year, again in January, this time with my girlfriend. However, El Nino had kept temperatures high the water levels higher. The mosquitoes swarmed us immediately out of the car. Even with 100% Deet and Picardin we were unable to keep them away from us to be anywhere near comfortable and turned back about 2 miles in. The only sane moments we had were during the hikes in the prairies, but even then the mosquitoes were only at a tolerable level. As soon as we entered the wooded areas they came back with a vengeance. Besides the bug problem, the trail is no longer being maintained. Due to an endangered flower that grows in the area, the park service has stopped all maintenance of the trail, but still allows hikers. This has caused the trail to become a bit more overgrown: the path, which used to be fairly wide, now has brush/briers nipping at your ankles in the prairie parts and fallen trees across the path in the wooded parts. Still, it's fairly well traveled. El Nino's rainy "dry" season this year had also made it much muddier in parts than what was usual during my first jaunt. If you are going to do this trail be prepared with copious amounts of water and bug repellent. Go when it is cool and dry.

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