You may have read about the imminent demise of the Flamingo Lodge in my earlier Traveler post or other sources. Well, the waiting is over. The building, which was hurricane-damaged beyond repair in 2005, has been demolished.
This is a pretty sad situation, and I don’t mean just the irrevocable loss of a beloved (if quirky) structure that was built half a century ago and used by Everglades National Park visitors of just about every conceivable stripe. The rub now is that there won’t be a replacement structure at Flamingo Key for many years – if ever.
Constructing a new “green” lodging complex, re-doing the marina, and taking care of related needs will cost $20 million or more. Where will that kind of money come from? NPS funds are not available for lodging construction in Everglades or any other park (a standing fact for decades). And alas, there were no “shovel ready” plans for a Flamingo lodging project that might have been considered for economic stimulus funding. Finally, and most regrettably, scrounging up adequate private funding in today’s economic climate is a mighty mountain to climb.
However this plays out, you’ll still be able to enjoy overnight stays at Flamingo if you like (or at least can tolerate) camping/RVing. The campgrounds have been reopened and electricity is available in the tent and RV areas.
There’s also good news for Flamingo marina users, including those who’ve enjoyed the houseboat rentals and have patiently waited for the marina to replace the eight houseboats lost to the 2005 storms. Two replacements houseboats now on order are reportedly due in soon. As you may know, canoe and skiff rentals are already available, Whitewater Bay boat tours are operating, the Marina Store is open for business, and fuel sales have resumed. For additional information, schedules, and reservations, phone the concessioner at 239-695-3101.