Curry Hammock State Park, Florida Keys
Curry Hammock State Park is one of those small, unknown Florida parks that is tucked away between Long Key State Park and Bahia Honda State Park. Located in the middle Keys, Curry Hammock it tends to get overlooked.
It has all the things that the Keys are famous for -- turquoise waters, great boating and fishing -- but in a quieter atmosphere.
Let's take a look at Curry Hammock State Park, and see what we can see.
Kick Back and Relax
Curry Hammock is actually made up of a group of keys, and its public access happens to be on Little Crawl Key. When you think of a group of keys...think water activities. Fishing, snorkeling, swimming, boating -- all are popular.
Curry Hammock is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the bigger state parks to the north and south. It's quieter, more laid back and relaxed. Don't come here to be entertained by others -- come here to enjoy the the "natural" Keys.
Be on the Lookout For...
Hawks of all kinds. In the Fall especially, a hawk migration passes through Curry Hammock. Kestrels, falcons, merlins -- they can all be spotted. In fact, in October through early November, Hawk Watch International keeps an eye on Curry Hammock, to check on the migrations.
But all kinds of birds spend their days at the park, too. Watch for herons big and small, as well as ospreys.
So What Is There To Do?
Curry Hammock is one of the Florida State Parks that doesn't have concessions, so the activities are limited to:
Watery Delights at Curry Hammock State Park
Swimming in the tropical waters off Curry Hammock State Park feels sooooo good on a hot summer's day. Mostly the waters are calm and clear, perfect for enjoying the beautiful weather. The clear calm waters is also very inviting to snorkelers. While there aren't any coral reefs within easy reach, there is no telling what you might see beneath the waves. The sea grass beds are full of life, once you start looking. You might even see some lobsters!
If you plan to snorkel, bring all your equipment, including a diver down flag, with you. There are no rentals available in the park.
And by the way, there are showers available to wash the salt water off after your swim. Just cold water though.
Curry Hammock is great for boating. There is a ramp available, but remember it's shallow water -- your best bet is a canoe or kayak, followed by a flats boat.
Canoes and kayaks were made for this kind of water world, and there are all kinds of things to see. From fish below to birds above and all things in between. Just enjoy the beauty of the Keys.
Okay, by now you are probably wondering what gunkholing is.
Gunkholing is exploring the nooks and crannies of the shorelines with a human-powered boat. So, a paddle or a push-pole is required. Okay, maybe you can gunkhole using an electric trolling motor, but I think that's cheating (that's the purist in my coming out). On the other hand, a quiet trolling motor can come in handy at the end of a day on the water...
Out in the back country, fishing is fine. Check the mangroves for snappers, the flats for sea trout. There is no telling what you will find! Here's hoping it's tasty, of the proper size and species -- label it "lunch" or "dinner".
Yes, you'll need a saltwater Florida fishing license -- please don't fish without one. And know the bag limits! Click for current rules and regulations for saltwater limits.
Picnics - What Did You Bring?
Once again -- bring your own munchies because there are none for sale in the park. There are, however, plenty of picnic tables and grills for your goodies. If you're a fisher-person and can filet a fish with the best of them, you can always think about catching lunch or dinner. Just make sure to clean your catch down by the water.
As always in Florida, drink a lot of fluids, especially if you are visiting during the summer months. Drink before you get thirsty, and drink more if you get thirsty. The heat and humidity are nothing to fool around with.
For Those With Excess Energy...
After a long ride through the Florida Keys, the little ones get fidgety (although you didn't need me to tell you that). Thank goodness there is a playground available to Curry Hammock State Park, for the children to work off their excess energy (not to mention have some fun). You can find the playground on the ocean side of the park.
A Notice About Water, Weather and Insects
As always when in natural Florida, be aware of the plentiful insects, strong sun and ever-possible rain showers. Make sure to bring sunblock, sunglasses and at least have some insect repellent available. Better to have it and not need it....
I suggested a hat of some sort -- it is so easy to get a sunburn on your scalp, along the part in your hair (ask me how I know...).
I don't know why I keep forgetting to mention this -- have available a lip balm, preferably with some sunscreen will help to keep your lips from chapping.
Time and Place
Curry Hammock State Park is open year-round from 8 AM to sunset. The entrance and other fees are as follows:
Curry Hammock State Park is on US 1, also known as the Overseas Highway. The official park address is 56200 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida 33050. The phone number is (305) 289-3690.
Curry Hammock State Park is at Mile Marker 56.2, south of Marathon in the Florida Keys. The closest cities are Marathon to the north and Key West to the south,. The closest decent-sized airport is Key West (although there is a very, very small one in Marathon).
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