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Latest update: December 2019

Paddling at Flamingo...

By Kayak or Canoe, Everglades National Park, Florida

Flamingo is located about 38 miles from the Park entrance at Homestead, a long but worthwhile ride. At the Flamingo Visitor Center are parking, restrooms, marina and marine store, restaurant (closed for renovation), exhibits, brochures, and campground. There are two boat ramps (one to Florida Bay, one to Buttonwood Canal), marina store, hiking and bike trails, as well as boat tours and canoe and kayak rentals. (Detailed map and photos below.)

Paddle Everglades, Flamingo, kayak, canoe, Florida

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Flamingo, The Everglades

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Distance: Varies
Location: Collier County (Everglades National Park)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Flamingo Visitor Center (See map)
Nearby points of interest: City of Miami, Miccosukee Indian Reservation


Flamingo Adventures (park concessionaire, rentals, tours)

Support and Advocacy:

National Park Foundation
The Alliance for Florida's National Parks
Friends of The Everglades

 Page Summary:

  1. Paddling at Flamingo
    - Marina at Visitor Center, Launch to Florida Bay
    - Freshwater Launch
    - On Buttonwood Canal
  2. About the Wilderness Waterway
  3. More Information and Resources

Paddling at Flamingo... Comments and Photos

The marina is in two parts, saltwater on one side (launch to Florida Bay), freshwater on the other (launch to Buttonwood Canal). A dike protects the freshwater Canal from saltwater incursion. Due to insects, it's best to plan a trip during cool weather, typically best between November and early April.

Marina at Visitor Center, Launch to Florida Bay

Paddling from Flamingo (saltwater side) includes exploring Florida Bay and its islands, or paddling to Snake Bight (about four miles), popular for birding. Note: only experienced kayakers and paddlers should attempt Florida Bay due to open water, strong current, and unpredictable winds. If attempting a back-country trip, register at the ranger station.

Freshwater Launch

On the freshwater side of Flamingo Marina. Launch, tours and houseboat rentals.

On Buttonwood Canal

Paddling up the Buttonwood Canal, you'll be out of the wind, but sharing the waterway with motorboats and tours. The canal runs north to Coot Bay. Coot Bay is great for fishing, but you can also see alligators, dolphin, otters, sharks, and crocodiles.

About the Wilderness Waterway

The 100-mile Wilderness Waterway extends north from Flamingo to Everglades City. This is literally a wilderness and recommended or experienced paddlers only. There are several routes, along the beach and backcountry - plan for at least 8 days to complete this trip. There are channel markers along the way, but nautical charts, compass, and GPS are recommended to avoid getting lost. Permits are required for camping and dependent on availability. See the National Parks Service Wilderness Trip Planner (link below) for details on obtaining permits and planning your trip.

More Information and Resources

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