Flamingo, Everglades National Park
The old fishing town has become the park favorite
Will you see flamingoes at Flamingo? Probably not, although some claim to have seen them in Everglades backcountry for the first time in years.
Flamingo is the gateway to Florida Bay and the coastal prairie. Florida Bay, a huge expanse larger than some states, extends from Flamingo to the Keys. It is incredibly shallow with parts of it dry at low tide. Nine feet is the maximum recorded depth.
Florida Bay is ideal habitat for the scores of birds that feed on the mud flats and in the shallows. Look for sandpipers, ospreys, egrets, pelicans, and others.
The magnificent snowy egret once thrived here in such large numbers that in the late 1800s Flamingo became an important center for the trade in bird plumage.
The collecting methods were particularly brutal. Plumage hunters normally waited until the birds were nesting, when the plumage was at its finest and the birds easiest to kill.
Walking the coastal prairie bordering Florida Bay, you will see such salt tolerant plants as mangroves and grasses.
Flamingo offers 8 separate hikes through the coastland. Most walks are less than 5 miles, but a 14-mile roundtrip coastal trek will take most of a day. See map.