Synchronous Fireflies at Congaree

Fireflies light up the forest.
Synchronous Fireflies light up the forest. (NPS/Vic McCord)
2019 Synchronous Fireflies Season (Updated March 3, 2019)
Please note that additional information will be provided as we get closer to this event and some of the details below are subject to change. Please check this page for the most up-to-date information.

2019 Fireflies Festival (May 10-27)
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.
  • 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 or would like more information about volunteering at Congaree National Park, 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. For information on the scientific research of fireflies at Congaree National Park, be sure to visit the Old Growth Bottomland Forest Research and Education Center's fireflies page.

Last updated: March 3, 2019

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100 National Park Road
Hopkins, SC 29061


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