Once a favored tourist hotspot for celebrities, millionaires and US Presidents, Long Key State Park is one of Florida’s most impressive public recreational spaces.
Nestled within the heart of the Florida Keys, this gorgeous park is now a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Many of whom flock here for the opportunity to paddle, fish, swim and snorkel within its beautiful waterways.
When not in the water, visitors enjoy gazing at the stars that can be seen within crystal clear skies. Hiking, picnicking, birding and wildlife watching are also popular activities here too.
A popular day trip destination from Miami, which is approximately a two and a half hour drive away, rustic camping facilities are available onsite for those who want to stay for a while.
This Florida state park gives visitors the chance to enjoy its gorgeous scenery in a plethora of ways.
Outlined below is a brief overview of some of the more notable things you can see and do during your time there.
Boating at Long Key State Park
The shallow waters found within the park provide outstanding opportunities to explore its natural shoreline via kayaks, canoes or SUPs.
As you glide across the water you will be mesmerized by the gorgeous scenery. So don’t be surprised if you spend hours out on it.
If you didn’t bring any watercraft of your own to the park you can rent them from the ranger station.
Unfortunately boat ramps are not available at the park. However, when you are out on the water, you could spot green and loggerhead sea turtles during your paddle.
Swimming and snorkeling at Long Key State Park
The park does get warm in the summer months so it’s worth bringing your costume with you for a cooling dip.
You will be able to swim within designated areas at the park. However, as the area is not lifeguarded this is an activity you will do at your own risk.
That said, the water is generally shallow, while the waves and currents are quite stoic.
If you brought your gear with you, snorkeling is also permitted within these areas. You will see plenty of seagrass and marine life as you look into the water.
Fishing at Long Key State Park
The park is considered to have some of the best sport fishing within the whole of the Florida Keys.
For this reason anglers from all over Miami and the USA come here throughout the year for the opportunity to cast a line.
Depending on where you fish you may be able to catch bonefish or redfish within the shallow grassy flats.
Alternatively mullet and snapper can be caught elsewhere.
You may need a license if you want to fish, and all activity will need to abide by the rules and regulations pertaining to the number, size, season and method of capture of the fish.
To find out more information it is worth contacting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Hiking at Long Key State Park
The park has a couple of nature trails you might like to explore.
Named after a native spider that resides within it, The Golden Orb Trail is an easy 1.1-mile walk which will take you past several different plant communities.
Over at the bayside of the park, The Layton Trail has short yet linked trails which take you to gorgeous scenic look out points that showcase the stunning waters of Florida Bay.
Star Gazing at Long Key State Park
As the park boasts little in the way of light pollution it is a fantastic destination for taking in the cosmos.
If you have a telescope you should definitely bring it with you to the park. The chance to observe the milky way and various constellations without having your view restricted by smog, is one you should not miss.
Picnicking at Long Key State Park
For those who want to enjoy a picnic there is a lovely waterside picnic area within the park.
This area has several tables that reside under covered pavilions to protect you for the elements.
Birding at Long Key State Park
Lovers of birding will be pleased to know that the park is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.
As a result you will get to see a fabulous range of seasonal migratory and permanent resident birds here.
This should include the likes of ibis, herons and egrets which are prevalent, as well as a roseate spoonbill and white-crowned pigeon, if you are lucky.
Pets at Long Key State Park
Pets can join you at Long Key State Park although there are some conditions.
They are not allowed on the natural shoreline or beaches. In addition, they are also not permitted to enter the restrooms or picnic shelters.
In designated areas where they are allowed, they must be well behaved at all times and remain on a leash of no more than six feet in length.
As with any state park in Florida, service animals are allowed in all public areas of Long Key State Park.
Camping at Long Key State Park
The park does have camping options onsite, however at the time of writing it is currently closed as a consequence of damage done by Hurricane Ian.
Prior to your visit you will want to check with the park’s main office to ascertain its current status.
However, if it is open, it takes the form of hike-in, tent-only campsites. Nestled on the Atlantic coastline, within the heart of the Florida Keys, this campground does not have any hookups for water or electricity.
Each site does have its own grill, hammock stand and picnic table though, and there are restrooms that have cold, outdoor showers available to use.
If you are unable to stay at the park, there are several alternative campgrounds nearby. This includes the Fiesta Key RV Resort & Marina, Bahia Honda State Park RV Campground and Curry Hammock State Park.
All of these provide a range of accommodation options for RVs, trailers and tend campers, as well as cabins and lodges too.
Long Key State Park
67400 Overseas Hwy
Layton, FL 33001
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Long Key State Park: