Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Friends and Alligators

Ochopee, Florida


Day One:

We got on the road about 9:30 Friday morning.  We headed south on I-75, through Alligator Alley, then south on Hwy 29.  Traffic was pretty light and it was a good travel day.

Once we got into the Everglades we started seeing a lot of traffic.  We started getting nervous about finding an available spot at Midway Campground.  It’s the only campground nearby that has electric and it’s first come, first serve. There is no way to call ahead and check availability because there is no phone/internet service.

Thankfully they had plenty of available campsites.  We chose site 13  this time.

After we set up, we walked up to pay our $10 per night fee (senior pass rate).  It’s cash only and you  deposit it in a box.   Make sure you have the exact amount of cash.  The sites are $19 a night if you don’t have the senior pass.

On the way to pay, a very nice man at another campsite struck up a conversation with us.  We chatted a while before we realized we knew each other.   At least we knew each other from our blogs.  It was Randy Warner from  The Roadrunner Chronicles.

Of course we had a lot of mutual friends.  What a small world this and what a nice guy Randy was.     They are leaving here Sunday also and heading to Flamingo campground and then onto Key West.    We’ll be anxious to hear about that campground deep in the Everglades.  We both had plans for Saturday, so we didn’t get to meet up with them again.   We hope to meet up with them in the Keys.

Shortly after we arrived Friday, we decided to take a short drive over to the Oasis Visitor center right down the road.   You can always count on seeing a bunch of gators there.

We were not disappointed.



There are many, many gators in this canal, existing with lots of fish and birds. None of the other animals seem too concerned by the gators, but of course the gators do eat about once a week.

We left there and took a short drive up the road where we saw the Florida Panther last year.  We keep hoping to see him again and this time, get a decent picture.  Unfortunately, there were a lot of other tourists (and some hunters) around so smart panthers hide.   We did see some deer though.


Day 2:

The plan for Saturday was take a drive to Fakahatchee Strand.


There is a visitor center with restrooms at the entrance.  We snapped a few pictures before we headed down the 11 mile scenic drive.


It was a gravel road that got worse and worse the further we drove.  There was water on both sides and we saw a few birds, but not to much else.  The pot holes started getting really bad, so we decided to cut it short and turn around.

Next stop was down to Everglades City.

There is a very nice Motorcoach Resort there.  We didn’t go inside, but it looked very nice…and expensive.    There were nice paved waterfront sites.


Next was into Everglades National Park.  This park covers a huge amount of the southern part of Florida.  It’s as much water as it is land. 


There is a water trail with campsites that goes on for miles and miles.

The picture below shows some of the trail and  primitive campsites.  Double click if you want a larger picture.


This is what it looks like.  I think you’d have to be very careful that you didn’t get lost. 


Here is a picture of some of the waterfront campsites.


There were a lot of people coming and going from what appeared to be long camping trips.  They had a LOT of gear.

Although Al and I love to kayak, we didn’t have any desire to take one of these trips.  They would probably be pretty nice, but the water was brown and didn’t give me the desire to paddle there.  Now, give me some turquoise blue water (like in the Keys) and I’m ready!


There was an observation tower.  We decided to climb the 108 steps to get a better view of the waterfront.



Next stop was the town of  Chokoloskee.

There was a nice Outdoor Resorts campground there.  Lots of nice waterfront sites.  Lots of money.




Again…..brown water.  I think I’ll wait for the Keys!

We did a little more exploring on the way back to the campground.  Met a few more friends.


There are so many birds here.  I can’t count the number of Kingfishers, Anhinga’s, Egrets, Herons, Ibis.   The waterways on the side of the road are just covered with birds.  It’s a beautiful place with a lot of wildlife.

Today (Sunday) we will be heading south towards the Florida Keys.

We have no internet at the campground, so I’ll have to post this on the way down.

We’re anxious for some pretty clear blue water. 


  1. Thanks for the information about Midway. We hope to go down there and to Flamingo in early February. I don't mind brown water but I do worry about getting lost in the glades.

  2. Enjoy your drive to the Keys, to bad we are missing you, maybe another time, travel safe.

  3. Have been by Midway CG many times, but have never stayed there. Have fun in the Keys, it a great area:)

  4. We're looking forward to Key West, planning to be there mid January.

  5. Hope you have a safe trip to the keys. We hope to get there next year.

    Your campground looks great. Enjoy your stay.

  6. Looks like a lot of fun being had down there enjoy.

  7. Ah-h-h-h...the of our favorite stompin' grounds. I'd get lost in the Everglades for CERTAIN if I went out by myself in my kayak! So not gonna! :-)

  8. We went to Florida with our kids when they were very young. Had to go to Disney World, but we also went to the Everglades and saw lots of birds on a fan boat trip. Memories.

  9. How cool to run into Randy and Pam! We hope to meet up with them somewhere on the road too. LOVE your bird shots!

    Karen and Steve
    (Old Blog Name) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
    (New Blog Name) RVing: This Country Is Our Big Backyard


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