Synchronous Fireflies at Congaree

Fireflies blink along the forest floor at dusk
Synchronous Fireflies light up the forest at dusk. (NPS Photo)
Updated on June 8, 2024

Synchronous Fireflies Viewing Event

With over 2,000 species found world-wide, there are only three species of synchronous 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. This special and unique phenomenon is extremely popular. Below you will find information about this year's event, the lottery, park access during the synchronization period, and important guidelines for those coming to see these flashy fliers light up the night.

Firefly Viewing Event Dates & Information

The viewing period for the synchronous fireflies at Congaree National Park for this year has passed. While there are still other species of fireflies that are present and can be seen in different areas of the park, the synchronous species are no longer active. The next opportunity to view these fireflies will be in the spring of 2025.

Firefly Viewing Event Lottery Information

In order to protect critical firefly habitat and provide optimum visitor experience, tickets are required to enter the park during this event. This pass lottery will be open for one week and typically will take place during the last week of March/first week of April. Entries can only be made through the online lottery page at and are limited to one per household.

All lottery applicants will be charged a $1 non-refundable service fee upon entering the lottery. Applicants who are awarded passes will be charged the remaining $24 event fee to secure their pass, for a total cost of $25. A total of 145 passes will be available for each event night. All applicants will be notified one week after the lottery closes as to whether they have or have not been awarded a pass.

Passes will admit one passenger vehicle with up to 2 axles that can fit in a standard parking space. During the event, vehicles such as RVs, vehicles with trailers, large passenger vans, buses or mini-buses, will not be admitted. Vehicles may have a maximum of 8 passengers. Passes may only be used one time, are only valid for the date listed. Passes are non-transferable.

PLEASE NOTE: All questions or technical assistance requests concerning the lottery should be directed to (877-444-6777), as the park does not manage the lottery system.

Park Closures During Firefly Synchronization

To best protect critical firefly habitat and allow park staff and volunteers to prepare for the event, certain areas of the park will be closed to all day-use visitors daily at 4:30 p.m. during the event period. This closure includes the following areas:

  • The Harry Hampton Visitor Center, boardwalk, and frontcountry hiking trails.
  • Bannister Bridge Canoe Launch.
  • Cedar Creek between Bannister Bridge and South Cedar Creek Canoe Launch.
  • Longleaf and Bluff Campgrounds

Additionally, no backcountry camping permits will be issued during the period of the viewing event.

Basic Fireflies Event Etiquette and Information

Because these fireflies need specific habitat and conditions in order to synchronize, Congaree is one of only a few places where these conditions are present, and that visitors can experience this natural wonder. In order to provide you and fellow visitors with the best experience and to ensure there are fireflies for the future, please remember the following:

  • Keep flashlight use to a minimum, and only use lights that have a red-mode or have a red filter.
  • Keep all flashlights, when in use, pointed at the ground.
  • Cell phones may not be used in the viewing area for either a light source or taking photos/video.
  • No pets are permitted in the park during this event. Service animals are welcome.
  • All visitors should stay on the designated Firefly Trail.
  • Catching or disturbing fireflies is not permitted at Congaree National Park.
  • No insect repellent can be applied after arrival at the park. Please apply prior to arrival.
  • Viewing the fireflies is best just after dark, usually between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
  • Thunderstorms often occur during this time, so be prepared for the weather. Rain can slow down or stop firefly activity for the evening.


Last updated: June 8, 2024

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