Can you take your dog camping in Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida? Absolutely! And if that’s your plan, Midway Campground is a furrific place for you and your pooch to pitch your tent. The campground is quite as rustic as many other national park campgrounds -- you won’t have access to showers or the full range of RV hookups, but electricity is available. You'll also be treated to lakeside views, and several sites are ADA accessible. That being said, the sun is a concern -- the campground is fringed by trees, but none of the sites are really shaded.
But should you take your pup with you on your Big Cypress National Preserve adventure? That depends on how active you want to get, or how much fur-ther afield you want to venture to find Fido-friendly exercise options and entertainment. Pets are not allowed on any of the backcountry trails in Big Cypress, and your walking options are limited to the campground, the parking lot, and the area around the visitor's center. There’s a good reason for that -- the area is home to quite the population of Florida panthers, as well as gators and rattlesnakes, and the delicate tropical ecosystem won’t tolerate much meddling. Hound-dog hikers will have to take a 25-minute drive to Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge before they find a trail that welcomes wagging tails.
However, if you’re there to fish or just take in the scenery, you’re in the right spot! Fishing is allowed in all water areas in Big Cypress. Just make sure you pick up a state permit before you cast your line! Avid birders might want to keep an eye out for cormorants, anhinga, and over 206 other species of feathered friends that can be found around the water or flitting through the pines and hardwoods.
Unlike many national parks, there’s no fee to enter Big Cypress. Campsites start at $24 for a non-electric tent site, and an RV site with electricity hookups will set you back $30. Midway is quite a paw-pular spot, so it’s best to make your reservation early.
WiFi isn’t available at Midway, but all cellular networks should receive at least some service. Fires are permitted, and you’ll find drinking water available on-site. Remember to bring waste bags for your pupper, and have a grrr-eat time!