Sunday, May 26, 2013

Curry Hammock State Park

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A rainbow peaks through the clouds at Curry Hammock State Park in the Florida Keys.

56200 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida 33050

Curry Hammock State Park is located along both sides of U.S. 1 starting at Little Crawl Key. Mile Marker 56.2, 11 miles west of Long Key. The entrance to the facilities is on the Oceanside of U.S.1

Curry Hammock is made up of a group of islands in the Middle keys, with beach access on the ocean side of Little Crawl Key. The hardwood hammocks found on these tropical island support one of the largest populations of thatch palms in the states. Mangrove swamps, seagrass beds and wetlands provide vital habitats for tropical wildlife. 

The park offers access to swimming, a playground, picnic tables, grills and showers on the ocean side of Little Crawl Key. 

Curry Hammock is quiet, clean, and they have added a beach, which is a hard thing to find in the Keys!  This location is great for shallow water windsurfing, kite boarding, beach combing, and a great beach for kids. 

Kayak rentals are available from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., and also inquire about our limited availability of paddleboards. This is a great way to see "...the Real Florida. 

Many guest are not aware of the bay side fishing and swimming/snorkeling area (West side Hwy 1) accessed off the paved bike trail. It is a 2 mile bike ride into town from here.

Ranger led programs are also offered, and they have large back in RV Sites with Oceanview, but most do not have direct access to the beach because of Sea Oats and vegetation protection the Dunes. It is still a bit of a secret that RV's are allowed. 

Camping facility with a 28 site campground, located within view of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Great birding area and there is a festival in late September. Florida Key Birding & Wildlife Festival.

Keep in mind, there is no boat ramp in this state park, however several launch sites within a few miles. 

The park offers 1,200 feet sandy beach facing the Atlantic Ocean. The water is shallow. Swimming is available in designated areas. In general, the water is shallow and the currents and waves gentle.

Canoeing-kayaking-SUP (standup paddle boards) are outstanding in Curry Hammock State Park. Human-powered boats may be carried (NO COMBUSTION ZONE) to the waterfront and launched from both the day-use area and campground. Kayaks & a few SUP are available for rental.

Picnicking and playground area is located on the southeast of the park with 4 pavilions, each with a bbq grill and 4 tables.
  • Bicycles are a great way to travel in the keys. In-fact the Overseas Heritage Trail passes through the park, providing easy access to and from Marathon. (16 years are under are required by law to wear a properly fitted helmet. Bicycles are limited to roadways and not allowed on foot paths, boardwalks, restroom ramps, or nature trail. 
  • Fishing is allowed within the park. The flats permit and bonefish, and the channel alongside the park has produced sizable sharks, snapper, snook, and more. Florida fishing regulations apply within the park, and spearguns are prohibited at all times!
  • Nature trail is 1.5 miles long that winds through the hardwood hammock.
  • Pets are not allowed on beaches, picnic shelters, or in the bathhouse. In the area where pets are allowed they must be on a six foot leash and well behaved. 
  • Rest rooms with hot showers is located in the campground for registered campers only. For daytime visitors, a restroom with a cold outdoor shower is located in the day-use area. All facilities are fully accessible.
  • Snorkeling is available in designated areas. The water in the park is generally shallow and the bottom covered with seagrass. This natural community is different from the tropical reef most commonly associated with the Florida Keys, but as one of the most productive marine communities, it is teeming with fish and invertebrate life, and is essential for the well-being of the reef.
  • Wildlife viewing is excellent in the park. The park is an excellent place to observe wading birds and shore life. The park lies on an important bird migration route.  The park lies on an important bird migration route.  

History and Culture

This land became a state park in 1991 and is name for Lamar Louise Curry, a revered Miami teacher, whose father, Thomas, purchased large tracts of land in the Middle and Upper Keys. Two miles of the Overseas Heritage Trail pass through park. This is a multi-use trail which follows the route of the Overseas Railroad, providing foot and Bicycle access to Marathon. The Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail also passes through the park.

This photo shows a dirt road winding along the shore with palms and grassy, brushy banks on either side.

Original Beachfront

The land that makes up the developed area of the park was once meant to support housing development. 
Instead, the land was purchased by the state under the Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) Program
and became became part of Florida's park system. Today, the state welcomes visitors to have fun in the sun
and explore the many varieties of animals and plant life that live on its shores and in its waters. 

Our campsite was occupied!  

Original Road
The portion of the land that had been slated to become a housing development was used to create the developed 
section of the park on Little Crawl Key. Today, this part of the park supports a swimming area, picnic pavilions,
restroom and shower facilities, and a playground.
This photo shows the first park building as it appeared in 1995 - a small, portable white shed next to a building site.

First Building
The first park building to appear in 1995 was not much to look at. Just fifteen years later, 
Curry Hammock State Park enjoys a healthy visitor population and offers the necessary 
facilities to support many options for outdoor recreation.
Newly-paved roads mark the new campground construction which began in 2003.

Campground construction at Curry Hammock began in 2003. In this photo, you can see how much the park 
has developed since its opening in the 1990s.
A cloud-covered campground awaits its first visitors in November of 2004; not long after Hurricane Wilma devastated the Keys.

Completed Campground
The new campground at Curry Hammock opened for camping November 1, 2004, just a week after Hurricane 
Wilma devastated the Keys. Even the powerful winds of the storm could not diminish the beauty of the new 
campground's location.


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