Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, The Lower Keys & Key West
Lower Keys Attractions
Key Deer - slow down. Once you enter Big Pine Key at M.M. 36.5, you are in Key Deer territory. The speed limit is 45mph during the daytime and 35mph at night. Local police go to great lengths to enforce this. And by going the speed limit, you just might get a glimpse of these endangered Key Deer.
National Key Deer and Great White Heron Wildlife Refuge
Big Pine Key, Florida Keys
This refuge is home to a few hundred Key Deer, a miniature deer that is a subspecies of the Virginia White Tail Deer found on the mainland. Watson's Hammock is a popular nature preserve within National Key Deer Refuge and harbors a variety of species. You will also find the largest body of fresh water in the Keys, known as the "Blue Hole". It attracts many freshwater species including alligators, turtles, wading birds and fish.
The Great White Heron Refuge was established in 1938 and offers protection to many rare and endangered species. Many migratory birds nest here in winter.
Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary
This coral reef is about five miles offshore and can be accessed by commercial or private boats. Named for the H.M.S. Looe, a British frigate that ran aground in 1744, the reef boasts a huge variety of corals and fish. This is one of the more shallow reefs and offers a great experience for both divers and snorkelers.
Bahia Honda State Park
This state park contains three camping areas and can accommodate tents to big rigs. It also offers cabins, marinas, picnic areas, boat and kayaks rentals. Bahia Honda is home to one of the most beautiful natural beaches in the Keys. The water beneath the old bridge attracts tarpon and other large gamefish. The Flagler Bridge off the southern peninsula (with the train trestle) is now a historic site. Fee to visit and/or camp. Reservations to camp are needed most times 6 months in advance.
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