Camping on Short Key is free and doesn't require a permit. Starting at South Dade Marina, paddle down the glades canal/aerojet canal. After exiting the canal, you can take the rougher waters of the Manatee Bay or follow PVC pipes through an small lakes and mangroves. A map and advice can be acquired by the marina owner.
This was my first kayak camping trip and it was easy enough for a novice paddler. Manatee Bay was a little rough and Barnes Sound was sorta rough so be prepared for a short rough paddle after exiting the PVC marked trail. Camping would be better during the winter months as the bugs were getting bad in April.
There is a large sandbar in front of the camping beach and crabs like to pinch your feet, this doesn't hurt but it does startle you.
The camping beach requires primitive camping, there is firewood that must be cut. Visitors can range from pleasant families like we met, to rude people who party on the sandbar and don't clean up.
No permits, I paid $10 to load 2 kayaks and park over night.
South Dade Marina is located on highway 1 close to mile marker 111, on the mainland.
A map was provided to me by the marina owner