(Last Updated On: January 9, 2023)

old tree at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, one of many impressive state parks in the Florida Keys, was once a limestone quarry. During the early 1900s Henry Flagler used this quarry to help build the Overseas Railroad. The quarry was then used to produce the Keystone, a decorative building stone. This stunning keystone can be seen today on the park’s Education Center and on the Hurricane Monument in Islamorada.

The quarry was active until the 1960s; Today, this geological treasure provides guests with self-guided hiking trails, spectacular views of the fossilized coral, bird watching opportunities, peaceful picnic areas, and a state of the art education center.

Activities

Discover exquisite ancient coral as you walk along an 8-foot high quarry wall and examine its cross sections. From here you will learn more about the quarry, its operational procedures and its historical importance. And get a close up view of some quarry machinery.

The Alison Fahrer Environmental Education Center features displays and exhibits on geology, nature, and Flagler’s railroad. An upstairs conference room may be reserved for school trips, youth organizations, and meetings.

Take some time out from exploring the trails or the Education Center to enjoy a peaceful picnic lunch inside the quarry. Don’t worry about running out of fresh drinking water, the park provides a refillable water bottle station next to the Visitor Center where guests may fill their personal water bottles.

Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park:

Hiking at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park provides one and a half miles of trails that wind through lush hammock, plants and wildflowers inside and around the old quarry.

Guests are encouraged to stop into the Education Center and pick up maps, guidebooks and checklists before venturing out on the trails. These resources will help them identify much of the park’s flora and fauna, such as the gumbo limbo, Florida thatch palm and white ironwood, a couple of the more than 40 species of plants and trees that exist within the park’s woods.

bench on a hiking trail at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

Birding at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

Bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for herons, egrets, Gray Kingbirds, Black-whiskered Vireo, White-crowned pigeons, Mangrove Cuckoos, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Laughing Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Short-tailed Hawks, Roseate Spoonbill, Wild Ibis and more during your visit to Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park.

Nature and Wildlife at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

The Florida Keys are a great place to watch wildlife. This gorgeous area is home to many species, including many rare or endangered ones. Some species that are only found within the Keys include the Key Largo cotton mouse, Key deer, Lower Keys marsh rabbit, Schaus swallowtail butterfly, Torch Key raccoon, Lower Keys striped mud turtle and the Key ringneck snake.

Pets at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

You can bring your pet along when you visit Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park. Be sure to keep them safe by maintaining a hold on their hand held leash that’s no longer than 6 feet. Pets are not permitted inside any park buildings. Service animals are not considered pets.

Camping Near Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park is one of many day-use parks in the Florida Keys. For a bit of R&R check into one of the following nearby state parks that offer overnight accommodations.

  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located at 102601 Overseas Hwy in Key Largo, features a modern campground, a primitive group camping area, and overnight boat slips in their marina.

    The main campground has 42 sites, ideal for either tents or RVs. Each site has electric, water and sewer hookups, a picnic table and a grill. The primitive group camping area has a water faucet, a campfire circle, a picnic table and space for up to 24 campers. All campers have access to nearby restrooms, and laundry facilities are available in the main campground area.

  • Long Key State Park, located at 67400 Overseas Highway in Long Key, offers primitive hike-in campsites that are located along the Atlantic Ocean. These tent-only camping areas have picnic tables and grills but no electricity or water. Restrooms and cold outdoor showers are available nearby.

Park Location

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
84900 Overseas Hwy
Islamorada, FL 33036
Phone: 305.664.2540

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park: