How Flamingo in Everglades National Park Won My Heart. Again.

Manatee in the Flamingo Marina in Everglades National Park, Fla., Jan. 14, 2024.

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“The Everglades is a test. If we pass it, we may get to keep the planet.” This quote by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the champion of the Everglades, resonates with me every time I visit this unique and fragile ecosystem.

Over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, I spent a night camping in Flamingo, the southernmost point of Everglades National Park, with my dog. Despite the active mosquito population, it’s exactly what my soul needed.

Flamingo Campground, Everglades National Park, Jan. 13, 2024
Flamingo Campground, Everglades National Park, Jan. 13, 2024

My History with Flamingo

Flamingo has a special place in my heart. I lived and worked there for more than three years in the ’90s/’00 and my former husband was the resort general manager until his unexpected passing in 2008.

Hurricanes in 2005 destroyed the original Flamingo Lodge, where I once lived (right above the registration desk, with a spectacular view of Florida Bay). I’ve returned several times since and each visit was bittersweet. This visit was different. Driving away, I finally felt contentment.

Why? Because Flamingo has been reborn and is receiving the care and attention it deserves.

A New Era for Flamingo and Everglades National Park

The new Flamingo is a modern, eco-friendly, and resilient destination offering visitors a variety of ways to enjoy the beauty and diversity of the Everglades. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The new lodge is built from shipping containers! I love this because it’s repurposing items and in theory, they should be more storm resistant. They’re all elevated, too. The lodge has 24 rooms, compared to the original lodge which had over 100 rooms (I *think* 102; many on the ground level) and 24 cottages.
  • There’s a new restaurant, also elevated and made with shipping containers. The building housing the restaurant serves as the lodge registration desk, too. The menu gave me some vibes of the original restaurant but it’s definitely a 21st century eatery. There’s indoor and outdoor seating. (Coconut fried shrimp – not what the previous restaurant cooked up but still delicious!)
  • You can glamp in the Glades with the eco tents in the Flamingo Campground! These canvas tents are a bit elevated and during the winter, offer the comforts you need.
  • The Guy Bradley Visitor Center is stunning. It’s located in the former Flamingo Restaurant and has a spectacular view of Florida Bay. It has state-of-the art displays plus a Mosquito Meter!
  • There’s a variety of activities to experience out of Flamingo including renting kayaks, bicycles, and houseboats; hiring a fishing charter; taking a boat tour; or joining a ranger for a National Park Service program.
  • I also had some amazing wildlife encounters during my stay. I observed birds, which I expected, but I didn’t expect to see two huge osprey nests so close to human interaction – one in the group campground and the other in the marina. I also saw two American crocodiles and a handful of manatees in the marina.

The Only Florida Destination to Make the 2024 New York Times List is… Flamingo!

Flamingo is not only a paradise for nature lovers, but also a hot spot for travelers. Annually, the New York Times releases its 52 places to visit list for the year and in 2024, they only included ONE Florida destination and it’s FLAMINGO!

When working in the park, I remember when Flamingo made the New York Times, and it wasn’t for something positive. I specifically remember a restaurant server getting a talking to for being quoted about saying something disparaging about the resort. My, how things have changed!

Having lived and worked in Yellowstone National Park before living in the Everglades, it took time to appreciate the Everglades. It’s the first park dedicated because of its biodiversity vs. its scenery. It’s a destination best appreciated with patience and observation.

Is the Everglades for the Dogs?

Bringing my dog brought comfort while camping, but it also limited what I could do. The park is not very dog-friendly. Dogs are permitted in the campground but not the lodge or eco tents. They aren’t allowed on most trails but allowed on the Guy Bradley Trail which starts in the campground and leads to the marina. Despite this, I’m glad he made the trip with me!

Plan Your Visit to Flamingo in Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park
40001 State Road 9336
Homestead, Fla. 33034
Admission fee collected.

Flamingo Adventures – including Flamingo Lodge & Restaurant and Marina Activities
1 Flamingo Lodge Hwy
Homestead, Florida 33034
Tel: (239) 695-1095
Reservations: 855-708-2207
Hotel Direct: (239) 695-1095 EXT.101

Relieve Mosquito Bites with HeatIt!

Yes, I was bitten up during my stay and I took the itch away with my iPhone and the HeatIt device! It’s easy, peasy. I plug the device into my phone, adjust settings using the HeatIt app, apply it to bite, then set go. As the product name implies, it provides relief with heat and no chemicals.

Check out my video below to see how it works! Order the HeatIt device through my Amazon link.


Solo Travel Girl

Jennifer A. Huber is the voice behind Solo Travel Girl. She's an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. In 2023, she was a finalist in AARP's Benefits Badass competition. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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