Access and Resource Protection

Florida Bay Overlook
Florida Bay Overlook

To better protect seagrass and other bottom dwelling lifeforms in Florida Bay from propeller scarring, the bottom of Florida Bay is legally designated as submerged wilderness as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness and is thereby protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964.

Joe Bay and Snag Bay, previously closed for over 30 years to protect crocodiles and manatees, were reopened to non-motorized boating in 2017.

Special Zones include:

Refer to our Maps and Navigation page for trip planning.

Everglades City Area:
  • Alligator Creek
  • Plate Creek
  • Halfway Creek
  • Gopher Key Creek where marked
  • Between Wilderness Waterway Markers 86 & 87.
Key Largo Area:
  • Marker 42 Creek
  • The Boggies
  • Shell Creek
  • Nest Key as posted
  • McCormick Creek
Flamingo Area:
  • Florida Bay and Whitewater Bay boat basins.
  • Tarpon, Avocado, and North Prong Creeks.
  • Buttonwood and East Cape Canals where marked.
  • Shoreline of Florida Bay east of marina as posted.

Poll/Troll Zones are generally defined as any area in Florida Bay less than two feet deep. Combustion motors may not be operated in these areas; all propulsion is by poling, paddling, or use of electric trolling motors.

Park waters in the Everglades City and Chokoloskee areas are posted as idle speed, slow speed, or limited speed zones for manatee protection. Please observe manatee protection signs in these areas and throughout Everglades National Park.

Closed areas represent less than one percent of the total park area

Florida Bay Keys:
  • All Keys (islands) in Florida Bay are closed to protect bird nesting areas (see exceptions below).
  • Wading within 100 feet of any closed area is prohibited.
  • Moats and internal creeks associated with Buchanan Keys.
  • Exceptions: Landing and camping is permitted on North Nest Key, Little Rabbit Key and Cape Sable. Carl Ross Key is open for summer day use. Bradley Key is open for day use all year. Permits are required for camping.
Northeast Florida Bay:
  • Little Madeira Bay
  • Taylor River
  • East Creek
  • Mud Creek
  • Mud Bay
  • Davis Creek
  • All creeks and bays inland from the northern shoreline of Long Sound to U.S.1.
Everglades City Area:
  • The small group of islands to the south southeast of Everglades City, known as the Lane Cove Colony, approximate position N 25 50.507 W 081 24.448, as marked.
Other Areas:
  • Rodgers Bay Rookery
  • Cuthbert Lakes and Rookery
  • Other areas may be posted by order of the Park Superintendent.

Combustion engines and/or trolling motors must be removed from the boat's transform and/or bow before entering the areas below.

  • All Freshwater lakes, including Paurotis and Nine Mile Ponds.
  • Noble Hammock and Hells Bay Canoe Trails (Park Road to Lard Can).
  • Long Lake to the mouth of Garfield Bight. *Note* Watercraft with engines of 6hp or less are permitted on West Lake, but not beyond.
  • Little Henry, Henry, Monroe, Middle and Seven Palm Lakes.
  • Joe Bay and Snag Bay and all inland creeks and lakes north of Long Sound, except for the ponds and lakes associated with Taylor River.
  • Coot Bay Pond, Mud Lake and Bear Lake.
  • The Homestead Canal and all small lakes along the canal.
  • All associated small lakes on Cape Sable inland from Lake Ingraham.

Last updated: August 7, 2020

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, FL 33034-6733


305 242-7700

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