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.
Resources for exploring the area
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Trailhead: 24.8155, -80.8234
Address: 67400 Overseas Highway, Long Key
Fees: $5-6 per vehicle
Restroom: At the boardwalk
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM until sunset daily. Leashed pets welcome.
Waterfront campsites (walk-in, primitive) are first-come, first served. Ask at the gate.
The park entrance is 0.5 mile south of MM 68 on the left as you go southbound on US 1. Follow the park entrance road and keep to the left at the fork; the trailhead starts at the main parking area.
About the Park
By 1906, Zane Grey was America’s first millionaire author. He could vacation anywhere, but he chose the Long Key Fishing Camp as his getaway where he could fish in the mornings and write in the afternoons.
The island itself was a stunning beauty, with more than 17,000 coconut palms, and caught the eye of Henry Flagler as a resort property as he decided on a route for his Overseas Railroad to Key West.
The camp’s grand hotel attracted the rich and famous, including Ernest Hemingway, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Randolph Hearst. However, a hurricane changed everything.
With all structures and the coconut palm shores wiped out by the horrific hurricane of 1935, the land passed into private hands. It eventually became a part of the Florida State Park system in 1969.
Hiking and nature trails introduce you to the many habitats on the island, including the weird tidal rock barren, a scrub-like habitat with a forest floor of chalky white sand embedded with coral splinters.
Paddle the mangrove-lined lagoons, walk the trails, and picnic along colorful shores in this natural Florida paradise.
Hurricane Irma was not kind to Long Key. The interior mangrove swamp, a major highlight of the park with a boardwalk and observation tower across it, was killed by salt water immersing the mangroves for too long.
The oceanfront campsites washed away along with the natural beach, as did boardwalks and bridges along the Golden Orb Trail, which now follows an altered route.
As of 2023, the park has reopened the full loop on the Golden Orb Trail. It will be much longer before a new mangrove swamp eclipses the ghostly dead one you now see.
Hiking and Biking at Long Key State Park
See our post-Irma photos of Long Key State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.