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“Beautiful but THE BUGS ARE AWFUL”

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Flamingo Campground
Reviewed January 28, 2012

We're worldwide campers (deserts, mountains, rainforest) but this was the most miserable camping trip I have ever had. We were there in December, when the bugs aren't supposed to be bad, but even when we climbed in the tent,leaving the mosquitoes behind, we had no-see-ums that bit all exposed skin all night. After two nights "camping" (we left first thing in the morning and came back only in time for bed), I had over 80 bites, most of them from chiggers in the grass. And yes, I used insect spray.

So, here's my helpful tips if you go: if you can help it, don't camp near the edges of the campground where there are trees that harbour the mosquitoes. The "walk-in" sites closest to the beach are beautiful but were too windy when we were there. There is a restaurant that's newly opened at Flamingo but it doesn't open until 11 am so don't count on it for morning coffee. The place is strikingly beautiful though....

Room Tip: Hot solar showers!!!!!
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank Neverenoughtravel60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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50 - 56 of 63 reviews

Reviewed March 2, 2011

Last year, I finally had enough of the holiday madness. I snapped. A new convention needed to be established with a quickness. So, I decided to something different: go camping on Christmas Eve! Not just any camping, either. Primitive camping, in the Everglades.

A few weeks earlier, a grumpy, old disk jockey by the name of Dr. Rich was talking about the Flamingo Campgrounds on his show, The Love Doctors. He said it was one of the greatest places to camp in South Florida, and many of the callers agreed. Further online research confirmed that Flamingo is a great camping destination, so I began to make plans.

Safety is a big priority when camping, especially in the backcountry of a 1.5 million acre park with crocodiles, alligators, and pythons (oh my!). Considering I have never engaged in a trip like this before, I decided to hedge my bets and bring along a friend.

We read everything we could to prepare ourselves for the trip.

Picking a campsite was pretty easy. We had two choices: 1) beach camping, or 2) river camping (on elevated 10’ X 12’ wooden platforms with roofs called “chickees”). I had always wanted to camp on a beach, so that was that.

We loaded up our gear and made our way towards the park where the entrance fee was $10 per vehicle and our pass was good for seven days. The Flamingo Visitor Center was another 38 miles away, but there was plenty of scenery to take in while driving.

Registration was quite a cinch. I filled out some paperwork and received a decal that was to be placed on my tent for identification. Dealing with the canoe people, however, was a bit trickier.

In an effort to save time, I reserved a canoe online. When I went to pick it up, I was met with a confused crew of guys that did not know a thing about online reservations. After 15 minutes, someone found my reservation and then I had to wait an additional 15 minutes for my canoe to be placed in the water.

In the meantime, I picked up 2 waterproof nautical charts at the gift shop, and then I wrapped my backpack/gear in trash bags to keep my belongings try. It looked kind of ghetto, but large dry bags are more expensive and are quite difficult to get a hold of. My 55 gallon, industrial strength bags did the trick.

We boarded our canoe and set off on a 4-5 hour journey that led us to encounters with lascivious dolphins, indifferent birds, bewildered sand crabs… and Holy Mudd. Let me tell y’all ’bout the mudd. It is downright treacherous.

I picked up a tide chart during registration and was warned by an elderly park ranger that we would most-likely get stuck at some point during our travel. It was suggested, if we were to find ourselves in such a predicament, that we get out of and simply drag our canoe along until the tide came back in. Ha!

And so the moment came to pass. We found ourselves stuck in muck.

Holy Mudd is akin to quick sand. The longer we stood in it, the more we sank in. After much hullabaloo, we finally realized that it was more efficient to lean on our canoe and trudge forward at snails pace, preserving our energy. Knee deep in sea grass and mud, we carried on like this for the better part of an hour before finding ourselves in deeper water, only 250 feet away from where we first got stuck.

The whole ordeal felt like penance. By the time it was over, we felt spiritually cleansed and hella happy to be alive.

Exhausted from our crusade, we decided to drop anchor at the first inhabitable beach that graced us with her presence.

We dragged our heavy canoe up to the beach and tied it down.

Next, we spent half an hour and nearly 2 rolls of biodegradable toilet paper trying to start a fire. Dry twigs collected from nearby dead plants were instrumental in the process.

The sand was extra soft, and required many stakes to secure our tents.

It was chilly that night, but we were pleasantly distracted by a celestial display of stars, space debris, and even the ISS (International Space Station).

Isolation.

Serenity.

Heaven on Earth.

The tide was to be at its peak come sunrise, so in an effort to prevent ourselves from getting stuck again, we woke up early and set sail sans breakfast. This time around, we ventured farther out into the golf and made sure we always had at least 3 feet of space between the belly of our canoe and the Holy Mudd. This strategy fared us well and we made it back to harbor in a little over 3 hours.

Mild discomfort aside, my overnight camping trip was a great experience and I can’t wait to do again this year! Perhaps I will stay out there for a week next time. Maybe, not likely.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with friends
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53  Thank mrdellano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2011

I loved this place! I set up my tent so that I could look over the bay and it was absolutely beautiful! They had nice showers and bathrooms were clean. Definitely will be back!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled solo
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18  Thank gozzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2010

It takes a little while to get down here from the Everglades National park entrance in Florida City, but well worth spending a few nights here. Very peaceful, tranquil camp on the side of the Florida Bay, right by the water. 1 mile from the Flamingo Visitor Centre for canoe and boat trips and ranger led talks and walks (highly recommended) There are no hookups and no hot water but if you don't mind a cold shower and sitting round your fire then go for it. Only slight downside is the number of mosquitoes so go prepared.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank LondonKazza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2009

I spent 6 nights in Flamingo campground, and two nights in Long Pine. Flamingo has views of Florida Bay, fields, a short walk to a beach area and a bit longer walk to the marina. Flamingo is much more interesting than the Pine in that you can view alligators and exotic birds living around the marina and canal. The Pine is a shady, fairly windless stand of pines with a little lake. The attraction of the Pine campground is that it's closer to some of the better trails and has limited cell phone reception. Apparently there is cell reception with AT&T at Flamingo. The Pine has more secluded spots; Flamingo is pretty much a field with no privacy between you and your neighbor. I was there in the so-called Dry season when mosquitos weren't so supposed to be bad. BUT they were horrendous!! A cloud covered both me and my dog anytime we ventured out of the camper, and, most unfortunately, when we ventured back into the camper. It was unbelievable. You may do better, however, because supposedly above average Nov. rain bred a bumper crop of these bugs in December. Bring lots of bug juice with at least 25% DEET in it or else you may find yourself eaten alive. Flamingo has showers with no hot water, which in 88 degree days feels wonderful. The dujmp station is at the Pine enterance. Both charge $18 a night.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled solo
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12  Thank cyclegrrrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2008

Here is the information I was looking for prior to our trip. We booked a walk-in site online, but you really pick a site that is available when you get there. The sites are spaced out in the big field. The beach front sites are the best, but farthest to walk to. The walk-in sites are only about 50 yards. It was not crowded during Spring Break. There is a great marina store with sandwiches, drinks and snacks. Do not go crazy bringing food, it is close. I would recommend the backcountry tour through the marina, lots of crocs. If you get a canoe, Nine Mile Lake was perfect, lots of alligators swimming around. It was too windy to canoe in the Forida Bay, but in the morning we saw dophins and our camp neighbors saw a shark out there. We will have to go back. We brought ready to light charcoal for cooking. Fires are only allowed in the raised grills. One evening the bugs were horrible, the next it was windy enough to get rid of them. Have all your stuff put away before sundown, you never know. Great Junior Ranger program for the kids. Hope this helps.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled with family
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20  Thank jurzyna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Wolfeboro N.H.
158
Reviewed December 31, 2003

Ive been to Flamingo Campground 6 times since 1980. Im headed down
again this feb. For the nature lover, this is a very nice place to
camp. A true taste of the glades. Nice bay view campsites with level
ground,cooking grills, some picnic tables,and bathrooms within 300ft of
most sites. You can listen to waves breaking, and exotic nightly jungle
sounds.{some birds get startled in the night!} There is much to
explore, or just relax and take in some sun. The restorant at the
marina serves three meals and I am particularly fond of the breakfast
buffet. Great way to start the day. Rental boats/canoes/kayaks will
allow for deeper exploration. Everything is available including guided
tours on a variety of vessels. Simply put, Its great camping spot. If
by chance you get there after a lot of rain you had better have long
sleeves and pants. The mesquitos will carry you away in the early
morning, or after sun down. YOU CANT ESCAPE THEM !!! Trust me.,I GAVE
BLOOD!
Bottom line, 5 out of my 6 trips there were no mesquitos, and it was just wonderful. Remember to buy your food, drinks, etc. before the hour long drive in. There are no 7-11s in the park.If possible, watch the weather, and plan your visit accordingly. Enjoy the experience, I always do.

58  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Flamingo Campground

Address: Everglades National Park Main Road, Everglades National Park, FL 33034
Location: United States > Florida > Everglades National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Everglades National Park
Number of rooms: 274
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the ocean with views of Florida Bay. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Flamingo Campground Hotel Everglades National Park
Flamingo Hotel Fl

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