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Monroe County

Monroe at a Glance

Coastal Cities

Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine, Key West

Popular Spot

Key West

Sandy Beaches

26 miles

Public Accesses

47

Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail

10 sites

State Parks & Lands

Acres

Bahia Honda State Park

491

Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve (Miami-Dade)

67,000

Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve

5,400

Curry Hammock State Park

1,113

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

2,482

Florida Keys Wildlife Environmental Area

3,089

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

56

Indian Key Historic State Park

110

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

63,846

Lignumvitae Key Aquatic Preserve

8,500

Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park

10,818

Long Key State Park

984

San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park

644

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

32

Federal Lands

Acres

Big Cypress National Preserve (Collier, Miami-Dade)

720,561

Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge

6,703

Dry Tortugas National Park

64,701

Everglades National Park (Collier, Miami-Dade)

1,509,128

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

2,457,888

Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge

117,723

Key West National Wildlife Refuge

208,308

National Key Deer Refuge

84,845

Naval Air Station Key West

6,249

Bays & Inlets

Florida Bay, Whitewater Bay

Rivers & Paddling Trails

Bear Lake Trail, Biscayne Bay Blue Way, Broad River, Everglades “River of Grass,” Florida Keys Paddling Trail, Hells Bay Trail, Joe River, Nine Mile Canoe Trail, North River, Shark River, Snake Sight Trail, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail

Monroe County is Florida’s southernmost county encompassing a diverse range of ecosystems from the mainland down through the Keys.

On the mainland, Monroe is predominantly Everglades National Park, which champions designations as an International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and a World Heritage Site. Its mosaic of habitats is home to bobcats, alligators, and the Florida panther. Canoeing, kayaking, boating, fishing, camping, and hiking can all be enjoyed in the park.

The Florida Keys are a coral cay archipelago of over 40 main keys connected by the Overseas Highway and enveloped by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which protects 2,900 nautical square miles of the Keys’ turquoise water, mangroves, coral reef, and over 6,000 species of marine life.

The first and longest key is Key Largo. The island boasts John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first underwater state park in the country. It is acclaimed for its glass bottom boat tours and snorkeling and diving opportunities that allow visitors to observe colorful corals and rich marine life.

A second underwater park, San Pedro State Park, is enjoyed by snorkelers and divers for its submerged shipwreck from 1733 and replica cannons. History enthusiasts will also enjoy exploring the ruins of an early 1800s island town whose residents made their living by salvaging cargo from shipwrecks at the Indian Key Historic State Park. Nearby, Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park showcases a habitat of tropical hardwood hammock, seagrass, and mangrove where paddlers may encounter manatees, sea turtles, and starfish.

The heart of the Middle Keys is Marathon, a 10-mile-long island community known for its fishing heritage and annual seafood festivals. Anglers from near and far come to the islands to pursue billfish, tuna, and tarpon. Sixty-four acres of hiking and birding opportunities in Marathon can be found at Crane Point Hammock Museum and Nature Trails.

Past Marathon and across the Seven Mile Bridge marks the Lower Keys. Popular state park, Bahia Honda, is renowned for its palm-lined sandy beaches and clear waters, a paradise for snorkelers and kayakers. At night, the park is the darkest location in the Keys for stargazing.

Florida’s southernmost point is the subtropical island city of Key West, famed for aquatic sports, sunset celebrations, and lively nightlife. Local shops, cafes, and art galleries line the streets and historic districts showcase the island’s unique conch style architecture. Visitors also enjoy cultural exhibitions from the Hemmingway Home and Museum, to theatre and live music.

At the furthest end of the Keys across 70 miles of open sea is the Dry Tortugas National Park, composed of 7 keys and named for its large population of sea turtles that bury their eggs on the park’s beaches each summer.

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Last Modified:
April 14, 2022 - 11:27am

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