What to do in Long Key State Park

Long before the park was established, the subtropical climate, clear waters and abundance of marine life attracted explorers. The Calusa Indians lived off the plant and marine life before the arrival of the first Spanish settlers. After Spanish occupation, other travelers from nearby islands such as the Bahamas made their way to Long Key. By 1912, the Florida Keys were no longer considered a remote area to travel. By this time, the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railroad was completed, allowing Long Key to become an important depot. This productive era came to a temporary end when a hurricane destroyed the railroad and along with a fishing club in 1935.

Long Key was once referred to by the Spanish as "Cayo Vivora," which means Rattlesnake Key. The name was used to describe the shape of the island, which resembles a snake with its jaws open. Today, Long Key State Park is known for being rich in history and recreational opportunities as well as natural beauty. The 965 acres that make up Long Key were acquired between 1961 and 1973, with the park's official opening in 1969.

Long Key contains the remains of ancient coral reefs that were formed 100,000 years ago when the sea level was 20 to 30 feet higher. The vegetation is primarily of West Indian or Caribbean origin. A large variety of trees and shrubs are found, including species such as the gumbo-limbo, poisonwood, mahogany, Jamaica dogwood and crabwood. The shallow waters off Long Key support an abundance of marine life. Various wading bird species may be observed in the mangrove-lined lagoons, particularly during the winter months.

Educational offerings at the park include fun and informative programs on snorkeling, fishing, birding, canoeing, sea turtles, plants, history and the marine ecology of the area.

There are three nature trails located within the park for visitors who enjoy both walking and canoeing. Picnicking, swimming and some of the best sport fishing in the Florida Keys is enjoyed at Long Key State Park.

Long Key State Park is located in the Florida Keys at mile marker 67.5 on U.S. Highway 1.

Southern Florida lies within a subtropical climate. It is usually hot and humid in the summer with brief afternoon thundershowers. It is not unusual for temperatures to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit with averages reaching above 83 degrees Fahrenheit (above 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging above 64 degrees Fahrenheit (above 18 Celsius). The average precipitation for the southeast area is more than 60 inches per year. The powerful rays of the sun make it a good idea to wear hats and sunglasses along with using a SPF-15 (or above) sunscreen when planning outdoor activities.

P.O. Box 776
Long Key, FL 33001

Phone: 305-664-4815

  • Long Key State Park Travel Q&A