How to Find a Small Local Florida Beach in the Keys
You can find out-of-the-way small local beaches in the Florida Keys by visiting some of the Florida State parks located all along the Keys. One of these little gems is Curry Hammock State Park. The park is home to one of the largest populations of thatch palms found in the United States. It also provides natural habitat for many birds, including the endangered white-crowned pigeon.
The History of Curry Hammock State Park
Curry Hammock is made of a group of islands in the Florida Keys, and was established as a park in 1991. It is named in honor of Lamar Louise Curry, who was a well-known and beloved teacher in Miami. Lamar's father, Thomas Curry, once owned large tracts of land in the Middle and Upper Keys.
Curry Hammock State Park is home to two miles of Florida's famed Overseas Heritage Trail, which follows the former route of the Overseas Railroad. This trail provides foot and bicycle access to Marathon Key. The park also contains part of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail.
What Can You Do at Curry Hammock State Park?
- Enjoy the beach
- Ride your bicycle
- Go camping (there are restrooms and showers available)
- Go kayaking
- Use the playground
Because the waters here are shallow and protected, Curry Hammock is a great place to kayak. You can paddle along the coastline of Florida Bay and of the Atlantic ocean here. Bring your own equipment or ask at the ranger station about available rentals.
When there's a strong ocean breeze this park attracts windsurfers and kiteboards.
You can go birding year-round at Curry Hammock. Fishing is available on both the ocean and the bay sides of the park. There's a 1.5 hiking trail through the hammock for hikers.
The campground at Curry Hammock is a 28-site campground with full facilities. It's sited behind the dune along the oceanfront part of the park. To make reservations go to ReserveAmerica or call 866-422-6735.
You can find out about ranger-led activities by calling the ranger station at 305-289-2690.
Natural Features of Curry Hammock
This state park holds large areas of mangrove swamp, rockland hammock, and seagrass beds which are vital parts of the ecosystem of the Keys. Rockland hammock is is a rich tropical hardwood forest in areas where limestone is very near the surface and often exposed.
Curry Hammock is located on several Keys - Fat Deer, Long Point, and Little Crawl. The beach is a small crescent beach with shallow waters and great views.
Mangroves and marine grass beds in this park are important in cleaning near-shore water and are essential for Florida's coral reefs. Not only that, the mangroves and grass beds are the nursery for many types of fish and crustaceans and are the feeding grounds for wading and diving birds.
The park is open from 8 AM until sunset every day of the year. Because it is a state park one cannot disturb or harvest any plant, animal, or park property. Pets are not allowed along the shoreline, in the water, or in the picnic area and must be kept on a six-foot handheld leash. Fireworks and hunting are prohibited in the park. Alcohol is prohibited except in the camper sites. Fishing, boating, swimming, and fires are allowed in marked, designated areas. Be sure to check whether a Florida fishing license is required. And if you are along the waterfront keep your eyes out for Portuguese Man-of-Wars.
For More Information
The Florida State Parks have a modest entrance fee. If you have an annual pass to the parks you can use that for entrance. Curry Hammock's official address is 56200 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida 33050. You can get more information about Curry Hammock and all the Florida State Parks by going to FloridaStateParks.org.