Just off the Overseas Highway on Long Key you’ll find a saltwater oasis teeming with natural wonder. Long Key State Park is a perfect location for those looking to indulge in the beauty of the different unique ecosystems present in the Florida Keys while still enjoying some great activities and amenities.
The location is a popular destination for campers and day-trippers alike.
Long Key State Park was once a gem and a popular location to explore, but since Hurricane Irma came through in 2017, a lot has changed. While still a superb site with lots of places to enjoy, many of the park has seen some significant damage.
Efforts to restore the area to its previous beauty are underway, and hopefully the iconic beachside camping spots that made the park famous will be reopening for use in 2021.
Swimming, hiking, paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and wildlife viewing are just a few things you can expect to experience at this beach.
Birding is a prevalent activity here and is actually part of The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Catch year-round shorebirds pecking at the tides looking for dinner, or even the swaths of migratory birds as they move through the sky.
The park is also a popular area for Geo-seeking. This popular outdoor game uses GPS coordinates to send you on a treasure hunt of sorts. Some caches, as they are called, can be significant, and some can be small. It’s all part of the fun!
Restrooms, showers, picnic areas, hookup areas for RVs, and plenty of camping spots.
The park is also home to a variety of hiking and walking trails. Some, like the Orb Weaver Trail, cut through several significant ecosystems like mangrove swamps, coastal berm, or rocky hammock habitats.
On a sad note, Hurricane Irma did some damage to the interior trails of the park. The storm surge ravaged the mangrove swamp, pushing saltwater into the area. This has caused a lot of the flora to die off, leaving an eerie ghost-like image of what the park once was.
While efforts to rebuild are underway, the park’s natural wonders could take a long time to rebound. While it is still a magical sight to see, it is not the same as it was pre-hurricane.
Up the road a bit of US 1, you’ll find Sea Bird Marina. This is a beautiful spot to bring a few fishing poles and enjoy the bounty that the Florida Keys has to offer. There is a bait shop, boat slips, a boat ramp, and even places to rent water gear.
For a unique take on island hopping, make sure you take some time to explore The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. This multi-use bicycle and pedestrian trail encompasses 90 miles of the famous stretch of road and is recognized as a National Scenic Highway.
Famous Floridian and railroad magnate Henry Flagler made this area famous when he pushed his famous railroad through the Keys. Before it was a park, it was the Long Key Fishing Camp and was a popular spot for saltwater anglers and the rich and famous looking to soak in the natural beauty of the Keys.
After the Great Labour Day Hurricane of 1935, the camp was destroyed, paving the way for the area to become a state park.
Address: 67400 Overseas Hwy, Layton, FL 33001