At the End of the Road – Flamingo, FL

Last weekend I did a road trip to the end of State Route 9336 in Florida. Once you reach the end, you reached the small town of Flamingo. Well, it used to be a fishermen’s town before the Everglades became a National Park. After that, people left and also got forced out of their homes later on. The National Park Service built a ranger station and visitor center in Flamingo. Besides that, there is now a small marina with a shop.

There used to be a lodge and a restaurant but the hurricanes Wilma and Katrina damaged the buildings. The lodge got demolished and the restaurant is still closed until further notice.

Before the 60 mile-long State Route 9336 was built, Flamingo was connected to the outside world via a small road – Old Ingraham Road. The Old Ingraham Road connected Flamingo with Florida City. This road is now part of the Anhinga Trail and can now be used only by foot or bicycle.

The new and improved state route takes you to Flamingo in about 60 minutes. Just before you enter the Everglades National Park you find the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. It is located just outside the park boundaries and you can visit it without having to pay the entrance fee. However, if you plan to continue down to Flamingo you will need to pay the entrance fee. Except of course you are a holde of the annual Everglades pass or the annual National Park Pass.

Road to Flamingo

Road to Flamingo

Flamingo

Ernest Coe Visitor Center

Flamingo

Ernest Coe Visitor Center

Flamingo

The “Borrow” Pit at Ernest Coe Visitor Center

Along the way, you find numerous turnouts with information placards and trailheads. The drive itself is not very scenic. It’s just flat swampland with no real views from the car. But once you park at one of the trailheads you can explore the swamps and ponds of the Everglades.

Everglades

Everglades

Flamingo offers a lot of activities, everything from camping and kayak rentals to boat tours and hiking opportunities. During the summer months, it’s rather slow here. The high season is from November to April. This marks also the end (November) and beginning (April) of the rain season.

While I visited the campground was completely deserted. Not even one person was there. A great tip if you plan to hike here, bring mosquito repellant.

There are boat tours to the backcountry and the bay. If you want, you can rent boats and bikes at the marina. The little shop at the marina has everything you need, from groceries to camping supplies to boat and road fuel.

Marina and Pelican Tour Boat

Marina and Pelican Tour Boat

Inside the visitor center is a small museum telling you the story of Flamingo before and after the Everglades became a National Park.

Flamingo Visitor Center

Flamingo Visitor Center

Flamingo Visitor Center

Flamingo Visitor Center

Flamingo Visitor Center

Flamingo Visitor Center

Flamingo Visitor Center

Flamingo Visitor Center

 

On your way down to Flamingo, you will pass many trailheads. Here two I can recommend. Of course, there are many more and I haven’t done them all. You can also launch your kayak at certain spots and get deeper into the swamp. This is for one of my future visits. Just check the Tag “Everglades National Park” to find out more about my adventures here.

The Anhinga Trail and the Gumbo Limbo Trail at the Royal Palm Visitor Center.

It’s super easy to find. Once you passed the National Park Entrance Station make a left a few miles down the road. There is a big sign right on the street.

Gumbo Limbo Trail

Gumbo Limbo Trail

Gumbo Limbo Trail

Gumbo Limbo Trail

Pond along the Gumbo Limbo Trail

Pond along the Gumbo Limbo Trail

Royal Palm Visitor Center

Royal Palm Visitor Center

I saw a turtle swimming in the pond, which you will pass on the Gumbo Limbo Trail.

Turtle

Turtle

And of course, if you are lucky enough, you can see Flamingos here as well. I didn’t see any during my visit.

Have you been to Flamingo yet? The main reason I went down here, was to make use of the annual pass for National Parks which I bought during my visit to Zion National Park in Utah.

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