Curry Hammock State Park

Marathon, Monroe County

short-billed dowitchers
56200 Overseas Highway


The quick and dirty line would be to say that Curry Hammock State Park is for the birds. Or at least for bird watchers. The place, after all, holds the record for most peregrine falcons seen in a day, a mere 1,506. Other raptors are seen in large numbers, including bald eagles, which explains why it's the site of the Florida Keys Hawkwatch each fall. That's just the beginning of the list of birds that may be spotted in Curry Hammock.

But Curry Hammock is more than just birds. Walk along bayside and oceanfront beaches, through a tropical hardwood hammock, through mangrove forests and even a large meadow filled with wildflowers, the likes of which we've rarely seen in Florida. There is a 1.5-mile nature trail, considered a moderately difficult walk because of the uneven surface, but the trailhead itself is situated about a mile south of the main entrance to the park. The shallow waters surrounding the park afford opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding (rentals available), snorkeling, swimming and fishing. Curry Hammock also has 28 camping sites, reservations required.

History: The park is named after Lamar Louise Curry, a history teacher in Miami-Dade County Schools (whose students include former Florida Governor Bob Graham). She inherited the holdings of her father, Alfred Bates Curry, who was a major landowner in the Middle and Upper Keys. In 1991, she sold 1,112.5 acres to the state for what is now the state park.

The heart of Curry Hammock State Park sits on Little Crawl Key, separated by a cove from Crawl Key. The name Crawl, derives from the Dutch word, kraal, meaning pen. At one time, there were holding pens were built on the island to keep sea turtles before they were slaughtered for food.

What You'll See: Birds, of course. The shoreline near the camping area was one of the most abundant we've seen anywhere, any time, in terms of sheer numbers and variety. There are mangrove forests and rare rockland hammocks.

Amenities: Curry Hammock has 28 camp sites with electric and water service. One site is ADA compliant The park offers kayak, paddleboard and bicycle rentals and picnic areas.

Nearby: Crane Point Musem and Nature Center is a few miles down the road on Marathon. Long Key State Park is 11 miles away in Layton. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is 46 miles away on Key Largo.

Of Note: Curry Hammock State Park is open 8 a.m. to sunset every day of the year. There is an entrance fee. Check the website, link above, for details.

Links: The Institute for Regional Conservation's plant inventory for Curry Hammock State Park is here. The Great Florida Birding Trail's take on Curry Hammock State Prk is here.

Virtual Tour

Cover Photo: A pair of short-billed dowitchers foraging in the shallows along the shoreline. The male is in the foreground, the more colorful of the two. The bird in front is a ruddy turnstone.

Getting There ...
The entrance to Curry Hammock State Park is located at mile marker 56.2 on Little Crawl Key along the Overseas Highway. Little Crawl Key is just north of Marathon.

Photo Gallery for Curry Hammock State Park

Click on the photograph to see an enlarged image. Click on the name to read more about the species.

Published by Wild South Florida, PO Box 7241, Delray Beach, FL 33482.
Photographs by David Sedore. Photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without permission.