Flamingo Campground is located near Ochopee, FL. The trail is primarily used for camping and is accessible year-round.
Everglades have the most phenomenal birds. Canoed through canals and saw crocs as well. Excellent place to go and appreciate this volume of wildlife
We have been using the campground at Flamingo as the final nights stay for an annual camping trip to the Everglades every year for the past 6 or 7 years. The fishing is suppose to be great ( I like to just explore the area) . We usually go to Alligator Creek and camp for a couple nights. I have also done 9 Mile Pond canoe trail which has some very nice views of open prairie as far as the eye can see.
The trip across West Lake can be an easy paddle straight across the center or can be full of whitecaps and you end up surfing the waves. Have experienced both. Once you get out of West Lake and in the first tunnel it's a no motor area the rest of the way to Garfield Bight. We have seen some very large Crocs and Alligators back in here. It can be a little tricky finding your way through the Lungs area. Take a good map (print one from google earth and laminate it, no good charts have the area shown) and a gps. The campsite is at the mouth of Alligator Creek and is big enough for about 5 tents comfortably. The last time we went here as we were leaving a bobcat ran through the campsite just as we paddled away from shore. This is a great place to camp if you want some peace and quite. It is 8 miles from the launch on West Lake. This is one of my favorite places in the Glades very different feel back in the mangrove tunnels.
9 Mile Pond canoe trail is also a good trip. You are not that far from West Lake but it is completely different in every way. Mostly open marl prairie with little islands of trees. If you look you can see Paurotis Palms growing wild, a palm native to this area only. You can follow the pvc trail markers or just explore. The water in this area is crystal clear and you can see fish swimming under you on some of the deeper holes. We did this trip in the summer and the bugs were bad at the Flamingo campground in the evening but the time on the water they were not bad. We did have some big horseflies that we couldn't seem to shake for a few minutes. They are very persistent. All in all a good trip with many options.
Overall the Flamingo area has a lot of canoe trails and hiking trails. In the winter people flock there to see the flocks of birds. If going go in the winter months so you don't have to contend with the bugs. If you really like it and have been a few times then try the summer and see what the bugs are all about. We have not done any other trails since this area is so nice, but they have many more chickee site spread all through the area and they have port o lets. Get out and explore the Everglades you won't be sorry.
I decided to go paddling to the famous chickees around flamingo. I went to Johnson Key Chikee about 8 miles or 5 miles strait from flamingo (depending the route you take). The Trip was amazing but definitely something an entry level paddler should not do by itself. I when in a 15 foot canoe and i have to say that if i go again i will go in a kayak. I had 2 to 3 feet waves and 10 to 15 mph winds. The canoe was stable for the most part but it took me and my friend 4 hours to get to the chikee going in the 8 mile route. Passing the 2 to 3 feet wave was scary and some times water came in to the boat.
The chikee is amazing and the sensation that you are sleeping in a platform on top of the water is something else. I highly recommend this adventure to any good pagdler.
It is one of the most empty and lonely state parks of south florida. I never camped there but it looks like the only good activity to do is to bring your boat, kayak or canoe to enjoy fishing either the calm intracoastal waters or the open waters.
I only went there for fishing in the intracoastal and we catch a lot of sharks