Spanning more than 1,110 acres across a chain of islands northeast of Marathon, most of Curry Hammock State Park protects rare Florida Keys habitats.
These include tidal rock barrens, rockland tropical hammock, and coastal berm, all of which can be seen along the park’s trails on the bay side.
Curry Hammock contains the largest remaining stand of Keys thatch palms in the United States.
The portion of the park developed for day use fronts the Atlantic Ocean. But typical of the Florida Keys, there are no waves, and the beach is marl muck edged with sargassum.
These vast calm flats behind the reefs of the Florida Keys are important estuaries, a watery nursery for sea life.
Resources for exploring the area
Disclosure: As authors and affiliates, we receive earnings when you buy these through our links. This helps us provide public information on this website.
Location: Grassy Key
Address: 56200 Overseas Hwy, Marathon
Fees: $5-6 per vehicle
Restroom: Near the picnic area
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM to sunset. Leashed dogs permitted.
Stay within marked paths in the tropical hammocks to avoid brushing into any poisonwood trees.
The splotchy trunk that oozes a sap far more irritating than poison ivy. An important food source for endangered white-crowned pigeons, its fruit is deadly.
The park’s main entrance is at MM 57.6 on the Overseas Highway, two miles north of the edge of services in Marathon.
About the Park
The most intriguing natural areas in the park are free to visit. A dense tropical rockland hammock is the focus of the Curry Hammock Nature Trail.
On the walk to it are tidal flats facing Florida Bay, edged with mangroves and dense with salt-loving ground covers.
A ride or walk north along the Grassy Key Trail – which is part of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail and East Coast Greenway – is 3.2 miles from trailhead to trail’s end.
The 6.4 mile round-trip affords views of all three unusual habitats in the park. There is no shade over the path, but you will find a few benches.
Another mile of the paved trail extends south through the park to a parking area and boat ramp north of Vaca Cut.
In the fee section of the park, the day use area has a small sandy area adjoining the picnic pavilion, where visitors often sunbathe.
Some people swim in the inlet, others fish or paddle. You are welcome to bring your own human-powered watercraft to launch.
Walk the oceanfront and survey the seagrass flats and the colorful wrack lines of seagrass flung onto the shore.
It’s not a swimming beach, but it is pretty. In fall and winter, count the raptors passing overhead. This is a major migratory flyover route.
During our first visit to the park, Hawkwatch volunteers kept up a continuous count of migrating raptors passing over the observation tower in the day use area.
There was no tower on our most recent visit, but seventeen different species of raptors fly over Curry Hammock, including many peregrine falcons and merlins.
The campground sits within view of the ocean but not directly on it. A short bike path connects the front gate with the campground.
Check at the ranger station as you come in to inquire about kayak rentals and bicycle rentals.
The Curry Hammock Nature Trail is hiking only. It branches off the Grassy Key Trail 0.8 mile south of the park’s main entrance.
You can hike or bike the Grassy Key Trail, the paved path beneath the power lines. Once it breaks out of the tropical forest on a northbound trip, the coastal berm is obvious.
Both trails share a paved parking area along the bay side of US 1 about 0.2 mile south of the park’s main entrance.
For an immersion into a tropical rockland hammock and its rare bounty of Florida thatch palms, explore this short but rugged loop at Curry Hammock State Park.
See our photos from Curry Hammock State Park
A pleasant piece of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail that is entirely a paved bike path, the Grassy Key Trail runs 4.4 linear miles through Curry Hammock State Park.
43.6 miles. With the most island-hopping of the ride, the middle portion of the Florida Keys delights with its aquamarine waters and coconut palms, a very tropical vibe.
Part native, part cultivated, Crane Point Hammock is 63 acres of tropical hammock in the heart of Marathon, with one of the most extensive trail networks in the Florida Keys.