Outdoor recreation in the Florida Keys introduces you to the most tropical and unusual habitats within the United States.
It truly is like being in the Caribbean, with tangled jungles of tropical trees and mangrove-lined waterways. Some destinations are accessible only by boat, while others are right along US 1, the Overseas Highway.
Trails in the Florida Keys
- Bahia Honda Beach Walk- Connecting Calusa Beach to the Atlantic Ocean, this shoreline walk at Bahia Honda State Park provides scenic views and a close examination of the historic Bahia Honda Channel Bridge from below.
- Blue Hole- For the easiest wildlife watching opportunity inside National Key Deer Refuge, head for the trail and observation deck at Blue Hole, a cenote-like pond that is the largest body of fresh water in the Florida Keys.
- Crane Point Hammock- Part native, part cultivated, Crane Point Hammock is 63 acres of tropical hardwood hammock in the heart of Marathon. Preserved from development in 1989 by the Florida Keys Land Trust, it is the largest tropical hammock in the Middle Keys.
- Curry Hammock Nature Trail- For an immersion into a tropical rockland hammock and its rare bounty of Florida thatch palms, explore this short but rugged and fascinating loop along the bay side of Curry Hammock State Park.
- Flagler Quarry Trail- A short interpretive trail at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, the Flagler Quarry Trail leads you around the showiest of the quarries and the ruins of the railroad depot.
- Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail- The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is a 109-mile trail the length of the Florida Keys, a island-hopping slice of tropical paradise: part bike path, part road ride.
- Fort Zachary Taylor Hiking Trails- The southernmost hike in the USA is at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West, connecting the Point Trail, the Fort View Trail, and an stroll through the fort itself.
- Golden Orb Trail- Showcasing some of the Florida Keys more rare and unusual habitats, the 1.2-mile Golden Orb Trail at Long Key State Park swings an arc through the heart of Long Key, ending up at views of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Grassy Key Trail- Part of the Overseas Heritage Trail and almost entirely inside Curry Hammock State Park, the Grassy Key Trail is a 4.4 mile linear paved path under the power lines between Marathon and Grassy Key.
- Green Turtle Hammock Nature Preserve- At Green Turtle Hammock Nature Preserve, natural footpaths wind through a rockland tropical hammock on Upper Matecumbe Key, where a rocky crevice emits sulfur fumes and you must beware of a crocodile by the canoe put-in.
- Grove Trail- If you've ever wondered where Key limes came from, take a walk on the 0.5-mile Grove Trail at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to see of one of the historic groves of Key Largo.
- Hammock Trail- In a tropical hammock, learn about the trees of the Florida Keys with a walk on the 0.6-mile Hammock Trail at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park.
- Indian Key Historic State Park- The original seat of Dade County, settled in 1836, lies in limestone ruins swaddled in a tropical forest within sight of US 1, but offshore. Indian Key takes a little planning to visit, but is well worth the journey.
- Key Largo Hammock Nature Trail- On the interpretive Key Largo Hammock Nature Trail, tunnel into the largest tropical forest in the United States to enjoy its natural beauty while learning about its unusual trees.
- Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden- With boardwalks and natural footpaths winding amid curated collections against a backdrop of natural Florida Keys habitats, the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is a delightful natural destination.
- Layton Trail- At Long Key State Park, the Layton Trail leads you on a quarter-mile exploration of mangrove forest and tropical hammock on the shores of Florida Bay.
- Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park- Wrapped in a dense blanket of mosquitoes, Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park is one of the United States' most significant botanical treasures, a virgin tropical forest home to more than a thousand lignum vitae trees.
- Little Hamaca Park- A preserve along the historic Key West Salt Ponds, Little Hamaca Park has a boardwalk and footpath leading through a cross-section of the island's habitats.
- Long Key State Park- Spanning shore to shore across much of its namesake island, Long Key State Park offers a bounty of botanical wonders across a variety of rare Florida Keys habitats.
- Mangrove Trail- At John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the Mangrove Trail is an accessible boardwalk that gets you right into the heart of a mangrove tunnel along a tidal creek
- Mannillo Trail- An accessible interpretive trail providing an easy round-trip to a freshwater wetland, the Mannillo Trail gives an overview of the importance of National Key Deer Refuge in protecting both habitat and wildlife in the Lower Keys.
- National Key Deer Refuge- Established in 1957 to prevent the extinction of the diminutive Key deer, the National Key Deer Refuge spans 84,351 acres across 25 islands in the Lower Keys
- Old Bahia Honda Bridge Trail- Stand above Bahia Honda State Park and take in a sweeping view from one of the highest points in the Florida Keys: atop the Old Bahia Honda Bridge, built in the early 1900s.
- Plantation Hammocks Preserve- Adjoining Founders Park on Plantation Key, Plantation Hammocks Preserve showcases some of the Florida Keys most interesting flowers under a generous canopy of well-established tropical trees.
- Port Bougainville Trail- At Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, enjoy the island's bounty of National Champion tropical trees from the 2-mile loop of the Port Bougainville Trail.
- Silver Palm Trail- CURRENTLY CLOSED THROUGH 2019. Along the Silver Palm Trail at Bahia Honda State Park, you'll meander through the largest grove of silver palms (Coccothrinax argentata) in the United States.
- Sombrero Beach- At the southern tip of Marathon, Sombrero Beach offers beachgoers a natural strand and an easy beach walk within sight of the Keys' largest lighthouse.
- Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park- Within sight of the Atlantic Ocean, Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park is a rare patch of green space in the city of Key West, with native trees and a natural freshwater pond.
- Watson Trail- At National Key Deer Refuge, the Jack C. Watson Wildlife Trail loops through rare pine rocklands and rockland tropical hammock edged by rocky freshwater marshes.
- Wild Tamarind Trail- Tunneling into the deep shade of the Key Largo Hammock, a tropical forest that once covered most of the uplands of this island, the Wild Tamarind Trail provides you a close-up look at the trees and shrubs that make up this not-so-common forest.
- Windley Trail- A short interpretive loop at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, the Windley Trail circles through a tropical hammock before descending to showcase the fossil-rich rock walls of the quarry.
Nearby: Biscayne Bay, Biscayne National Park, Everglades National Park, Homestead, Miami.