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Firefly Tourism

Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) light up the night in Elkmont, TN. Photo by Radim Schreiber,
Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) light up the night in Elkmont, TN. Photo by Radim Schreiber,

Firefly tourism is a quickly growing industry in the U.S. While this can be a boon to local economies and help more people to experience the wonder of fireflies, it also presents its own challenges. In April 2021, a consortium of site managers, tour operators, event planners, and firefly researchers gathered for a U.S. firefly tourism charrette to discuss these challenges, identify practical solutions, and draft a set of guidelines that could be used to promote sustainable firefly tourism. Adapted from recommendations provided in Firefly tourism: Advancing a global phenomenon toward a brighter future (also available in Spanish), these guidelines are meant to help promote sustainable firefly tourism in the U.S.

Firefly Tourism Guides

Visitors Etiquette Guide

This handy one-page guide provides tips on how visitors can help protect fireflies and maximize everyone’s enjoyment.

Guidelines for Site Managers

This simple guide is intended to help site managers understand the basic needs of fireflies and identify ways to protect fireflies and their habitats while also providing educational and viewing opportunities for visitors.

Where to See Fireflies in the U.S.

The U.S. is home to over 150 species of fireflies occurring in every state except for Hawaii, so it’s safe to say that there are many places where you can experience their magic. Flashing fireflies are predominantly found east of the Rocky Mountains, although there are pockets of flashing populations reported from western states like Utah and Nevada. A few species, such as synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) and snappy syncs (Photuris frontalis), have a particularly devoted following. However, there are many other fireflies that put on a remarkable light show.

Are you looking for a place to view one of these species? If so, check out our map of tourist sites. Zoom in to your area of interest and then click on one of the points to see information about that particular site.

Firefly Tourism Site Map

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Note that some sites have not been added to this map at the request of their associated site managers. If you manage a site that you would like us to add, please email us.

Firefly Publications