Thanksgiving in Everglades National Park

When I think of Thanksgiving, I have wonderful memories celebrating with my family in upstate New York. But after moving to the west coast 5 years ago, I stopped going home for Thanksgiving because it was too far, and instead, I took advantage of the holiday to travel to different places. Well, this year was no different as Joe and I rang in Thanksgiving at Everglades National Park in southern Florida. This is also the last stop of our big RV road trip before we head back to Texas! 

The Everglades has been the most unique stop yet as we (unexpectedly) boon-docked out here! In RV lingo, boon-docking means we don’t have any hookups and we were 100% off the grid – no power, water, or sewage. Admittedly, there have been some challenges as we feel like we’ve stretched the limits of the trailer — more on this below. 

From the moment we drove into the park, there was so much life with the warm sun, moist air, and plenty of living things around us. Everglades National Park is a unique park in the U.S., filled with tall grass, thin pine trees, and endless swampland. The swamps are the main attraction as well as the wild alligators. 

We stayed at Lone Pine Tree Campground, 15 minutes from the entrance of the park. It was a very cool experience to stay right inside the park. Our campground was almost empty – apparently, people prefer to be indoors on Thanksgiving 😉 – we had so much open space around us to enjoy. 

When we arrived, we were surprised to find out there was no electricity at the park — we swore their website said there was! We were caught off guard to find out we would be 100% boon-docking, and honestly, we were a little unprepared. We had a “semi-boon-docking” experience in Pensacola, so we had some idea of what to expect, but without power, this meant we had virtually no amenities in the Everglades. 

Out of everything, I missed air con the most. I was overconfident thinking I could handle the heat after traveling through Southeast Asia for 6 months this year, but the heat here was no joke! Our little trailer turned into a hot box. Despite the last-minute surprise, we decided to stick it out and try to make the most of this beautiful spot.  

Needless to say, our days were slow and mostly spent like this. We read, sat outside, walked around, and enjoyed the scenery. I kept swinging back and forth between being bored out of my mind and enjoying our forced digital detox. 

We also enjoyed the wildlife around us. Joe is so good at spotting these creatures. 🙂 

We cooked most of our meals at our campsite since we were pretty far from civilization. Fortunately, our propane tanks powered our stove, so we didn’t have any issues cooking. We also grilled outdoors several times as we’re in love with our little grill! 

Ellie handled the heat pretty well – lots of napping and finding cool spots in the trailer. 

The highlight of the Everglades was the hiking. We did the Anhinga Trail right at the entrance of the park – it was a really nice one. We walked along a massive swamp with more lilypads than I’d ever seen in my life. We’ve seen a few swamps in Florida, but this one was the most impressive! 

We also did the Gumbo Limbo trail, which was in the shaded forest. 

Lots of wildlife around us. 

We even saw two alligators.

We loved looking at the different plants as well. Sometimes Joe and I would stop to look at one, and other people would crowd around us thinking we saw an animal, but they were eventually disappointed to find out we were just nerding out on plants. 😛  

We ventured into town one day for some errands. We went to lunch at Gator Grill where we tried alligator! It was my first time, and it wasn’t bad at all. As the cliche goes, it tasted like chicken, but a little tougher.  

Finally, we made it to Thanksgiving. Our Thanksgiving looked a lot like our other days — relaxing at our campsite and doing nothing. 

Joe and I made a Thanksgiving feast for two. Joe grilled his famous marinated chicken and I made our two favorite Thanksgiving sides: stuffing and green beans.

Overall, I’m pleased with how it turned out! Despite being away from our families, it was so nice to celebrate together over a nice meal. ❤ Definitely a unique Thanksgiving this year. 

To be frank, we shifted our plans to leave a little early — 6 days was enough for us. 🙂 We feel like we’ve experienced the entire range of RV life: from upscale RV resorts to boon-docking in the middle of nowhere, and honestly, we reached our personal limit in the Everglades!

Nevertheless, I’ll always remember the quiet days and beautiful scenery here. We’re also walking away with about 700 learnings about the RV; this experience certainly made us stronger.

After 2 wonderful months of traveling around the southern U.S., we are heading back home! This RV road trip has truly been once in a lifetime. We’ve done so many things and learned so much. It was also amazing to get this quality time with Joe after doing long distance this year. It’s something I’ll cherish for a very long time. ❤

Up next, we have a marathon week ahead as we’re driving halfway across the country back to Texas (1,400+ miles over 9 days, wish us luck!). We’re really excited to go back to our home base and spend the rest of the year with our families. ❤   

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