Ten Thousand Islands  
Goodland-Everglades City 
Chokoloskee Island  
The Everglades National Park

Old Florida Fishing Village

The first time I saw Goodland the jumping off point for the ten thousand Islands, its number one attraction was Stan's waterfront saloon host the annual Mullet Festival.

At one time, this was strictly commercial fishing country.

Species like mullet, snook and seatrout provided the region’s inhabitants with a living for decades

The second gateway to Ten Thousand Islands is Everglades City, at the mouth of the Barron River, on Chokoloskee Bay, just inside of Everglades National Park.

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge protects a 35,000-acre labyrinth of mangrove islands, freshwater and saltwater marshes, brackish ponds, winding channels, sandy beaches, and shallow bays.

The islands harbor an abundance of life, and the shallows serve as nursery grounds for countless marine species.

Boaters should be mindful of the depth of the water, as shallows are common

Finding your way through this area of the park can be difficult, and it is strongly recommended that visitors reference NOAA Charts #11430 and 11432 to assist them. 

Everglades City - Chokoloskee Island

The Everglades National Park and the Ten Thousand Islands are a traveling fisherman's ideal destination.

Everglades City located near Florida’s southern tip and southeast of Naples, is known as the gateway to Ten Thousand Islands. 

Chokoloskee Island is connected to Everglades City on the mainland by a causeway. 

Chokoloskee like Everglades City is known for its fishing, bird watching and kayaking through the mangrove jungles of the Everglades.

Explore Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands

THE EASIEST WAY to see the Ten Thousand Islands is a narrated boat tour based at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center of Everglades National Park in Everglades City.

The 90-minute tour is $31.80 (2017 rate, tax included) for adults. Children 5 to 12.


The 99-mile Wilderness Waterway is the premier Ten Thousand Island adventure, a week-long paddle from Everglades City to Cape Sable and Flamingo (or vice versa).

You will spend your nights on raised platforms (chickees), hard ground islands and beaches.

Not for amateurs or the feint of heart

This journey will test your skills.

Motorboats are allowed in these waters, but all watercraft, motor or paddle, must carefully navigate varying depths, some too shallow at low tide and others even shallow at high tide.

Select your gear carefully, but bring a tarp or pop-up tent, and understand that you may be sharing a cozy chickee platform with strangers.

Don’t even think about taking this trip without up-to-date NOAA navigation charts and studying the park service’s. A portable GPS is highly recommended as well.


While artificial fishermen and live baiters alike can fish these rivers effectively, this is perhaps the fly fisherman's paradise.

The "head waters" are crystal clear, though always tea-colored from the tannic acid released by the mangroves, providing excellent sight-fishing opportunities.


The outside barrier islands both north and south are lined with pristine, isolated beaches with grass flats just off the shoreline.

Snook, redfish, shark and jack roam these waters, making for excellent sight-fishing opportunities.

Trout, pompano, ladyfish, flounder and redfish are up on the flats.

Tarpon, shark, cobia, large jack and dolphin will be there, too, hunting the smaller species.

While trout fishing with six to eight pound spinning gear, my anglers will almost always run into a school of ladyfish.

In the spring, summer and fall, quite often a ladyfish will be gobbled up by a marauding tarpon.


Unlike most every other fishery in Florida, rarely are you blown out because of weather in the western Everglades.

Because of the diverse fishing opportunities and vast amount of sheltered water, you can almost always find good, sheltered areas to catch fish no matter what the weather guessers deliver.

When to Go

October to May is cooler and drier and has fewer mosquitoes and more boat and camping tours.

If visiting from June to September, go boating or hiking in the morning to avoid afternoon thunderstorms and the hottest part of the day.

Must Dos

Make advance reservations for a guided canoe or kayak trip, a dolphin ecotour, or a birding and wildlife powerboat tour with an authorized Everglades National Park tour operator (permits include Ten Thousand Islands National Refuge), such as Everglades Area Tours

Camp for free on islands located within refuge boundaries, accessible by boat only.

No reservations are required. Whitehorse and Panther Key provide some of the best beaches for setting up camp.

Or book an overnight canoe or sea-kayaking tour, which include beach camping and meals.

Shallow water sharks of the 10,000 Island

Summer water temperatures bring many types of Shark into the shallow waters of the 10,000 Islands.

They are here to breed, and arrive in good numbers. Although there are Shark here year round, it is now that they are most abundant.


BLACKTIP SHARK, A very active, fast-swimming shark often seen at the surface. 

May leap out of the water and, like the related spinner shark, spin around several times before dropping back into the sea.


Abundant in nearshore Florida waters. Commonly seen over shallow sand and mud flats.

Moves into deeper coastal waters during the colder months


Common apex predator that inhabits estuarine, nearshore and offshore waters of both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida.

Commonly enters estuarines and is one of the few shark species that may inhabit freshwater


An abundant, inshore tropical shark that inhabits both estuarine and nearshore waters of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida. 

Commonly enters estuarine waters and often ventures into freshwater areas, but does not penetrate as far up rivers as the Bull shark. 


An abundant, coastal, tropical and subtropical shark that inhabits nearshore waters of both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Flordia. 

Often seen lying motionless on the bottom. Preferred habitats are coral reefs, rocks, and mangrove islands

See you next year!

From backcountry to kayak, fly fishing to light tackle, Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands in the western Everglades is an angler’s paradise.

The Ten Thousand Islands section of the Everglades is known as an angler's paradise, with tarpon, snook, redfish, permit, pompano and other ...

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