Synchronous Fireflies at Congaree
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Synchronous Fireflies at Congaree

Date: May 10 - May 27, 2019
The Harry Hampton Visitor Center will be open until 10:00pm nightly from Friday, May 10 through Monday, May 27. Please note that the exact date of when the synchronous fireflies will begin is not known. They are normally active during a two to three week period sometime between mid-May and mid-June. During this year’s event there will be a designated Fireflies Trail, which will give access to prime viewing areas. This one-way trail will start at the Picnic Shelter, go under the elevated Boardwalk and will end at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center. Because of the large numbers of participants, the elevated section of the Boardwalk will only be open to those with mobility issues during evening hours.

Because of the large numbers of participants expected for this event, the following are prohibited on the Fireflies Trail:
  • Dogs
  • Strollers
  • Wagons
  • Headlamps
  • Using Smartphones as Flashlights
  • Chairs, hammocks or blankets
  • Flash Photography
  • Applying insect repellant (please apply prior to arriving at the park)
Participants are asked to observe the following viewing etiquette:
  • Keep noise levels to a minimum so that everyone can enjoy this special natural occurrence.
  • Capturing fireflies is not allowed within Congaree National Park.
  • Stay on the designated trail (walking off trail can adversely impact firefly habitat).
  • Wear sturdy, close-toed shoes (roots and biting insects may be present)
  • Only use flashlights when absolutely necessary, pointing them straight down so as to not disturb other participants (Small penlights are recommended).
Other important information about the Fireflies Festival:
  • Parking is very limited. Carpool when possible.
  • Bus and oversize vehicle parking will be very limited, so please plan to drop off passengers and have a set time to return to the park to pick them up. Parking for oversize vehicles is not guaranteed.
  • Be prepared for the weather. Thunderstorms often occur in the evenings during May.
  • The best time to view the fireflies is just after dark, usually between 9:00pm and 10:00pm.
  • Because of the high volume of visitors, backcountry campers will only be able to access the backcountry via Kingsnake Trail at the South Cedar Creek Canoe Landing. Vehicles of backcountry campers must be parked at the parking lot located at that site. All visitors wishing to camp in the backcountry must have a permit.
  • If you have a specific question not otherwise answered on this page, please e-mail us
  • If you are interested in volunteering at the 2019 Fireflies Festival please e-mail us.

With over 2,000 species found world-wide, there are only three species of synchronous flashing fireflies that can be found in North America. Every year, Congaree National Park hosts synchronous fireflies for approximately two weeks between mid-May and mid-June. During this time visitors can experience an awe-inspiring display of synchronous flashing while the fireflies search for a mate.
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