After leaving northern Florida, we needed a place to spend 1 night. Long Pine Key Campground in the Everglades was our campground of choice for two reasons. First, it's first come, first served with 108 sites—meaning we could probably find a spot during an average winter week. Then second, because we love the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park and this is as close as you can get to it.
For more on the Anhinga Trail, see my previous Florida journal, as we did far more in the Everglades on that trip. The only addition I have is you don't need to go early to this trail. There are less crowds early, but it takes the sun being up to get the gators moving more (though I'm told if you go at night you can see the gators hunting, etc.—MUST try that next time...) We were there about 10am and were pleased with the level of activity. We had gone earlier only to find not much going on (comparatively).
Back to the campground...REALLY nice setting among trees and overlooking a nice pond. There were few people there our night (January midweek), so we got a prime spot directly overlooking the pond itself. We took some time the next morning to hike around it...It was very quiet, and definitely had more of a sense of being safe and serene than the other option we had (motels in Florida City/Homestead)—not to mention it was quite a bit less expensive.
There are no showers here...nor any other amenity besides nature and picnic tables (and flush toilets). What they do have is miles of trails both here and nearby. You can easily explore the whole eastern side of the Everglades from this campground, and it would only be a short (45-minute or so) drive if you wanted to see Biscayne National Park as well. Everyone is welcome from tents to big RVs, but quiet is expected in the evenings. However, it's truly a spot for nature lovers—not folks looking for amenities such as pools and electricity. The closest groceries are in Florida City.
I should add that they have quite the thriving bug population so have bug repellent and eat before dark (if tenting). Be sure the tent doors are totally closed. The bug repellent works well for the mosquitos, but seems to attract the gnats. There are several bodies of said critters in our citronella candles—makes an interesting conversational piece later—but is rather annoying at the time they are accumulating.
Another downside could be the bathhouse. The ladies' side was clean and adequate. The men's side ...hubby said it was one of the worst he'd seen. That, of course, could depend on who's been there. One never knows.
Overall, for its proximity to Everglades National Park and for the peacefulness of the setting, we'd stay there again easily.