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Flamingo Lodge is No More


Flamingo Lodge before the 2005 hurricanes ruined it.

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.


Today while looking at google satelite maps of Everglades Park today, I couldn't find the Flamingo Resort. I didn't know what occurred in 2005 till I found this site. 1978 (Late June of all times) - My wife, 8 yr old daughter and I took a camper-van road trip vacation that included Shenandoah, Smoky Mtns, and Everglades Natl Parks with a last stop at Disney World. Sleep a hot, humid night in the camper at Homestaed then toured Everglades the next day spending the night at the Flamingo. Definitely wasn't a 4 Star, but in that humid heat a room with AC was great. Took the an interesting guided tram ride from Tamiami Trail to the Observation Tower, drove back down to Homestead and the park road to Flamingo. After checking in we went to the room and must have killed 50 mosquitos. After eating - food was decent - we left the marina on a beautiful sunset cruise in the bay with beautiful sunset. When we got back to the room, we ran from the van to the door, entered the room and shut the door quickly. Only had to kill a few more mosquitos and had a cool, reestful night. On the way out we stopped at an overlook at a small lake and got to see to women fishing with bamboo poles with a gator moving back and forth about 20 feet out. Didn't get out of the van and watched as they turned to put more bait on their lines, the gator moved in close. One of them screamed and they both started beating the water or gator with the bamboo poles. The gator went further back out into the lake and they continued fishing. That scene was just unbelievable to us.

I don't like the heat, humidity or mosquitos but to this day I still the trip to the Everglades and Flamingo well worth it. In fact our framed Flamingo Resorts, Society of Explorers poster is still hanging in our family room.

In 1979,on my first excursion from home at age 18, I left N.Carolina and moved to Hialeah, Fla. Soon thereafter, I heard of jobs at Flamingo Lodge and a friend and myself went down there. We subsequently got jobs as waitresses in the restaurant. It was a truly fun and different experience for us. We lived in the employee cabins, drank beer dispensed from Pepsi machines for 75cents (in the employee housing areas only), and had some great times, along with beautiful scenery and sunsets. The Lodge and Restaurant were both in what I considered to be very clean and presentable condition, unlike the "dump" that was stated in an earlier comment (although the employee housing was somewhat crude and left a little to be desired). But I consider it one of my happiest life experiences. As the southern-most point of the mainland in Florida (and possibly all of th U.S. mainland?), it is an area that I feel should be preserved as a U.S. National Park and subsidized by the federal government as such. Best wishes for the future of Flamingo!

Two years after this comment was written, there is still no danger that the government will do anything. There are no labor unions or green jobs down there to fund.

To everyone that has a great memmory of a day or two spent at the last frontier of the florida EveryGlads (FLAMINGO LODGE & MARINA) as i do. working there in 2004. I had the best time of my life, making new friends and seeing old ones from another resort. sitting down on the back docks watching the birds, If i could i would rebuild it. For anyone reading this i was the pizza cook in the buttonwood lounge. miss the place i have been waiting to go back there to work., maybe one building at a time, I'm game, just takes some one willing to do it.simply by sending a dollar at a time or two right.

I loved staying at the old lodge, and eating at the restaurant. Had lots of good times there. No, it wasn't the fancy uptown place some people seem to always expect, but, hey, it was deep in the Everglades, and Flamingo was great for star gazing at night. I used to like the screened-in pool. And the mosquitoes--those pesky little flower pollinators--were all part of the wild experience.

I'm not sure where all that stimulus money went (who is?), but it's too bad a few million didn't go to rebuilding a fine lodge for Everglades National Park.

And if you forget your jumper cables you can tie two baby gators tail to tail and clamp them onto the battery terminal! :-) I had the same problem with my car when I was there, but took three months to fix it. Was in no hurry!

I was in Flamingo last week (Thanksgiving 2010) it was beautiful as always. Mosquitoes were thick as soup but so were the hawks and other birds. I spent most of my time changing out the trucks alternator on the side of the road next to Mrazek pond. There are worse places to be stranded. Can't wait to go back .

Not one more dime of foreign aid should be allocated until places such as this lodge are rebuilt by our so called government. Further, I can't understand why this place was not insured against damage from hurricanes, like every other building in Florida.

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