Everglades Tours at Flamingo

While at Flamingo you might want to take one or both the Everglades Tours they offer--the backcountry tour and the Florida Bay Tour.

These tours are via large, comfortable covered pontoon boats and last about an hour and 45 minutes.

Pontoon Boat Moored at Flamingo

The Backcountry Tour
The backcountry tour leaves the Flamingo Marina and heads up the three-mile-long Buttonwood Canal and on up into Coot Bay and Whitewater Bay, giving you a first-hand look at the great mangrove wilderness. Coot Bay got its name because back in the day (before the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane destroyed the settlement at Flamingo) there used to be a lot of coots here, and the local Flamingo residents would shoot them for food.

If you're lucky on this trip, you might see a genuine, pointy-snouted, toothy saltwater crocodile. There are about 1,000 of these creatures in south Florida now. Twenty five years ago, there were fewer than 400, but they've made a decent comeback. Normally, they're about seven to 11 feet long, with 12 feet five inches being the Florida record.

Close-up of a Large Crocodile
Saltwater Crocodile

In my experience, you're most likely to see a crocodile right near the Flamingo Marina or the Buttonwood Canal, where they tend to hang out.

See this link for specific info on the Backcountry Tour.

The Florida Bay Tour
The Florida Bay Tour takes you out on expansive Florida Bay. The last time I took this tour, a pod of dolphins accompanied us, swimming eagerly to keep up with the boat.

Gateway to Florida Bay
Gateway to Florida Bay

They might take you past Bradley Key, named for Guy Bradley, an Audubon warden shot in 1905 while he was trying to stop illegal plume hunting. As tragic as this event was, at least Bradley didn't die in vain. The news of his death was the catalyst that finally stopped bird plumes from being fashionable in women's hats, helping to prevent Everglades birds from being wiped out totally by opportunistic plume hunters.

Either of these Everglades tours is a great way to get out of the car for a while, and spend a couple of hours on the water, seeing sights you might not otherwise see.

See this link for specific info on the Florida Bay Tour.

Welcome to Key Largo

A View of John Pennekamp Beach

Christ of the Abyss

SCUBA diver on a Key Largo Reef

Sign warning we play Jimmy Buffet music

A quaint Key Largo cottage

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