Flamingo, Florida is the gateway to the Everglades National Park and located on the coast of the Florida Bay located two hours south of Miami, Florida. There is so much to do here it is ridiculous. There are hiking trails, camping, incredible spots to check out the wildlife, and the launching place for some of the best kayaking and canoeing in the world. In fact, people from Europe come all the way from overseas to check out the spectacular adventure found in the Florida Everglades.
Due to its proximity to Miami, Flamingo is an excellent day trip from the big city. Most that come to Miami are more interested in taking a road trip to the Florida Keys; nonetheless, for those that want to see some alligators, swamps, and amazing bird life then Flamingo is a better alternative. Make sure to stop at the Anhinga Trail on the way down from Miami.
The Everglades deserves a longer trip. There is a lot of room to adventure travel as the park is 2,400 square miles and is the third largest national park in the lower 48 states. It is located on the southern tip of Florida.
The Everglades does not typify the traditional sense of outdoor natural beauty that outdoor lovers tend to expect. There are no canyons here, there are no snow tipped mountains here, there are no waterfalls, and there are no crystal blue lakes; however that does not mean the park is not beautiful.
There is something about this park that grabs you in your soul and will not let go. For this certainty to happen one needs to stay and explore, and this can only be done on a longer trip. When I returned from my first Everglades trip over twenty-five years ago I dreamed about the park routinely and woke up wishing I was there. This had never happened before or since with another outdoor destination that I have visited.
There are many activities found at Flamingo from easy laid back adventure to extreme roughing it in the interior. For those looking for a less extreme experience there are several hiking trails found near Flamingo. Eco Pond is walking distance from the campground and there is a half mile trail that loops around the pond. The list of birds I have seen here could fill up this page. Highlights include wood stork, roseatte spoonbill, black legged stilts, and there is usually an alligator or two hanging about.
Flamingo is located on the Florida Bay and the best way to explore the Everglades here is by boat. If you do not have your own there are guided boat trips that leave from the headquarters. The Gulf Coast Boat Tour departs from Flamingo every single day year round and explores the Ten-Thousand Islands. There are also canoe rentals for those that want to adventure on their own.
For canoeists and kayakers that want to explore the Everglades on their own there are a couple of great day trips. One can canoe around the Florida Bay, through the mangrove swamps via the Noble Hammock Trail, or out into Bear Lake and into the aptly named Alligator Lake. There used to be an incredible one day trip through Bear Lake to Cape Sable, but it is now listed as impassable. Check back with the park service to see if this route is restored.
There is also the option for extreme canoe and kayak adventure from Flamingo. The Wilderness Waterway extends from Flamingo to the Gulf Coast Visitor Center. It is a 99 mile trail that takes the average group 8 days to complete. It takes paddlers through some of the most remote areas of the park. It takes a lot of experience and dexterity to navigate, so it is not for the beginners.
To get to Flamingo U.S. 1 south from Miami through Homestead, Florida. Just south of Homestead there is a junction where one can continue on 1 to the Florida Keys or exit on Florida route 9336 to Flamingo. The junction is clearly marked and once on the road into the national park it is the only one and dead ends at Flamingo.
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