The pirate Black Caesar, or Henri Caesar, is said to have buried between $2 million and $6 million in treasure across several islands in the area.
Welcome to the land of some of the most stunning state parks in the country. Although you won't find mountains to climb, you can explore all the underwater wonders found in the Keys.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo
The first undersea park in the United States, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and the adjacent Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, cover approximately 178 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove swamps. Bring your scuba gear, snorkel stuff, kayak, or paddle board, hike the Mangrove Nature Trail, or take a ride in a glass-bottom boat!
Their glass-bottom tours are accessible to those in wheelchairs, however, the vessel does not have oversized marine heads (restrooms). John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park also has a wheelchair-friendly snorkeling vessel, Encounter, which features wheelchair tie-downs as well as an oversized marine head.
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, Key Largo
Home to 84 protected species of plants and animals, including wild cotton, mahogany mistletoe, and the American crocodile, Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park offers six miles of nature trails perfect for birdwatchers and photographers.
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, Islamorada
Step back in time and discover the former quarry! Formed of Key Largo limestone, or fossilized coral, this land was sold to the Florida East Coast Railroad, which used the stone to build Henry Flagler's Overseas Railroad in the early 1900s. Today, visitors can walk along 80-foot-high quarry walls to see cross-sections of the ancient coral and learn about the quarry and its operation. Visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of this island while strolling five short self-guided trails. Picnic tables are available.
Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, Islamorada
Accessible only by boat or kayak, Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park offers camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and much more! Filled with flora, fauna, birds, and wildlife, the tropical hardwood hammock that thrives on this island was once common on the highest elevations in the Upper Keys.
Long Key State Park, Layton
A tranquil haven for bird-watching, swimming, kayaking or relaxing on the shoreline, Long Key State Park offers trails and lagoons that provide a close-up look at the variety of natural plant and animal communities in the Keys. Kayaking, hiking, birding, picnicking, flats fishing, and snorkeling are just the start of your adventures!
Curry Hammock State Park, Marathon
The largest undeveloped parcel of land between Key Largo and Big Pine Key, Curry Hammock provides vital habitat for many local and migrating species and hosts record numbers of peregrine falcons every fall. On calm days, paddlers come and go finding their own quiet slice of paradise, and on windy, wild days, the park bubbles with the activity and excitement of kiteboarders.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, Key West
A true one-of-a-kind experience, visiting Fort Taylor not only provides a magnificent natural setting to bird-watch or swim but also to immerse yourself in history. The southernmost state park in the continental United States, Fort Taylor houses the largest cache of Civil War armament in the world. History buffs will be amazed wandering through the corridors past cannon and gun ports. Sun and sand lovers can relax and bask on Key West's favorite beach.
Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key
Immensely popular, Bahia Honda State Park's sandy beaches, gin-clear waters, and magnificent sunsets make for a relaxing day. Rent a kayak or snorkeling gear and take a trip to the reef for amazing snorkeling. Bahia Honda has two beaches — Loggerhead Beach on the Atlantic side and Calusa Beach on the bay. The Buttonwood campground, the Bayside tent sites, and six cabins are available for reservations.