Ultimate Guide to Florida Keys State Parks

Florida Keys drone shot

The ultimate guide to a Florida Keys State Park road trip. The Keys are gorgeous tropical islands dotting the stretch of 120 miles out to the southern tip of the U.S. state of Florida. The Keys are located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. They’re known for their abundant water activities! The Florida Keys are dotted with state parks on the drive to Key West. the perfect spot for exploring Florida’s State Parks! Enjoy the Florida Keys beach hopping, boating, snorkeling, or scuba diving.

Florida Keys Weekend Getaway

Logan and I took a weekend getaway through the Florida Keys in a Camaro convertible. We started our drive in Key Largo, then made the 2-hour drive south to the southernmost point of the continental U.S. Key West.

Pro Tip: if you are driving a convertible (which I highly suggest) make sure you wear sunscreen!

Each U.S. state is very different from one another. They each have their own culture, traditions, and diversity. To experience the Florida Keys as a local would, we stopped at several State Parks on our way down to Key West. Enjoying the incredible views as we drove with the top down, and the sun on our faces.

Visiting the Florida Keys State Parks

Daily passes for entry into the state parks vary depending on the number of vehicle occupants; prices range from $4.00-$10.00 USD

Here is a breakdown of the ultimate guide to Florida Keys state parks:

  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
  • Long Key State Park
  • Curry Hammock State Park
  • Bahia Honda State Park
  • Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
  • Key West

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park encompasses around 70 nautical square miles. Famed as the first undersea park in the U.S. scuba divers and snorkelers will have a unique experience underwater in the coral reefs and with marine life. While the mangrove swamps and tropical hammocks in the park’s upland areas offer hikers unforgettable trails. Although it’s the coral reefs and their associated marine life that bring most visitors to the park. Many enjoy the view of the reef from a glass-bottom boat tour, giving you a view without having to be in the water.

Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are some of the park’s popular water activities; fishing is permitted in designated areas only. Enjoy walking on short trails, picnicking, or swimming at the beach. But before you explore this beautiful park, be sure to catch the nature shows and see The Visitor Center’s 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium. Full-facility and Youth/Group campsites are available. Wheelchairs are available without cost.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Long Key State Park

Long Key State Park is cool because there are hike-in, tent-only campsites that are right on the ocean! So if you’re looking for a place to stay the night, here ya go! Oceanfront views on the beach. Each site comes with a picnic table, grill, and hammock stand. *GASP* did someone say hammock?! For $5.50 USD/night, I’ll take it! Despite the no electric or water hookups. But that’s not a huge deal because there are restrooms with outdoor showers/water available to campers only. The best part is…the campground is pet-friendly!

camping *pet friendly



Download Long Key State Park Map

Long Key State Park

recommended stay

Lime Tree Bay Resort

Curry Hammock State Park

Curry Hammock State Park

access Overseas Heritage Trail from Curry Hammock.
The 90-mile paved path from Key Largo to Key West.

hike through a tropical hardwood hammock forest 

Go Swimming!

Ultimate Guide to Florida Keys State Parks

Stay at Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel & Resort

Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park was simply stunning. The brilliant blues of the water, sandy beaches, and easy access from the highway make it super convenient to visit, it’s no surprise it’s packed all year round. If you want a good beach day – this is your park.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

The Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, also known simply as Fort Taylor, is a Florida State Park and National Historic Landmark centered on a Civil War-era fort located near the southern tip of Key West, Florida. This historic fort has the largest collection of Civil War armaments in the world. Bonus: It’s located along a beach that’s popular for sunset views.

Southernmost Point of the US

Key West

We ended up in Key West, where we spent two days exploring the town. Our original plans were to take a seaplane out to Dry Tortugas National Park for the day. Unfortunately, our flight was canceled the morning we were scheduled to depart. With no Ferry Boat tickets available and no way to reach the island, we were unable to visit this time. After two days in the keys, we made the journey north back to the mainland. We spent our last day exploring the Everglades!

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    1. The colour of the water is insane! I had no idea there were so many State parks in this part of Florida. I can totally see why you loved it though! wowza!!

      1. I just googled Dry Tortugas – woooah that looks beautiful too! It’s all good, you can keep going back. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Sold on the Florida keys & Everglades! Lived in CA my whole life & havenโ€™t made it there but Iโ€™m looking at it from life in Europe now thinking I need some clear, blue waters ASAP!

    3. We love a good trip and we are doing one to the Keys next year. This is really timely and helpful. Thanks for the great tips and love your pictures

    4. The Keys are a great location for a weekend getaway. I love Key West and Key Largo, but there are other locations in between that also are quite enjoyable.

    5. I’ve only been once, and that was when a dear friend got married in a really cool scuba wedding! I’ve been wanting to go back and check out all the Keys has to offer!

    6. It’s absolutely gorgeous there! I would love to visit for a vacation. I haven’t been to the beach in so long.

    7. We were just there not too long ago. Love that it’s not too far from our home and we can enjoy time there with family and friends.

    8. What a lovely nature trip! I like outings like these where the kids can go out and run and soak in the sun. ๐Ÿ™‚ I miss Florida…

    9. We are hoping to get that way next summer. Florida Keys looks like the most chill place to just relax and let life’s stresses just melt away.

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