Long Key State Park is located on Long Key, one of the Florida Keys. It is about one hour from mainland Florida. Early Spanish charts show Long Key as Cayo Vibora, or Viper Key, due to the shape of the island. The name of Long Key was given this area when Henry Flagler’s railroad reached this land in the early 1900s. At the time, the bridge that reaches southwest to Conch Key was the longest yet constructed along the railroad. The upscale Long Key Fishing Camp became a mecca for the world’s great saltwater anglers, from presidents to the author Zane Grey, as well as the rich and famous. This glamorous era ended when the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 struck the Middle Keys with devastating winds estimated at over 200 miles per hour.
Long Key State Park officially opened in 1969 and has grown to encompass nearly 1,000 acres of upland and submerged lands that are just waiting to be explored on your next RV vacation. This area contains the remains of ancient coral reefs that were formed 100,000 years ago when sea level was 20 to 30 feet higher. Today, it is a tranquil haven for bird watching, swimming, kayaking, and just relaxing on the beach. All campsites overlook the Atlantic Ocean, making it the perfect getaway for any RV camper.
RV Rentals in Long Key State Park
Transportation in Long Key State Park
Getting to Long Key State Park is easy, as is located right at mile marker 67.5, traveling south on the US1 Overseas Highway toward Key West. Long Key State Park is about one hour from mainland Florida and getting there is an adventure in itself. After leaving the mainland, you will experience the thrill of driving completely surrounded by the clear blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. Keep in mind though that hurricanes can cause damage, so check the forecast and road conditions before heading out in your camper. The local road that runs through the park makes it easy to get around in your camper or vehicle.
Parking options inside the park can be a bit sparse. You’ll find it more convenient to go ahead and set up your RV at your chosen campsite, then take your smaller, personal car out on your adventures throughout the park. This way, you’ll be more likely to find a parking spot. The main parking lot is located near the boardwalk.
Campgrounds and parking in Long Key State Park
Campsites in Long Key State Park
The Campground at Long Key State Park
Long Key State Park has 60 RV sites, and each one can accommodate RVs up to 32 feet in length. Each site is only 100 feet from the ocean, along 1200 feet of sandy beaches, making it the ideal beach camping location. Long Key State Park provides a full-service campground as well, covering all your needs so you don’t have to worry. Each site has a picnic table, ground grill, and electric and water hookups. Although each campsite has its own individual hookups, they are located between sites, so extension cords are highly recommended. Restrooms with hot showers and a dump station are conveniently located nearby. Reservations can be made from 1 day to 11 months in advance, but unfilled sites are available on a first-come first-served basis. With limited spaces though, making reservations are recommended. Long Key State Park is committed to providing accessible amenities to its visitors, which is why you’ll find that the restrooms and showers are accessible. You’ll have everything you could need when you camp here at Long Key State Park. You can even bring your pet to accompany you during your stay.
The Campground at Long Key State Park
The 60 RV campsites at the Campground at Long Key State Park are available for walk-in guests on a first-come, first-served basis, if space is available. While reservations are recommended, if you are taking a spontaneous RV trip to this state park, you just might be lucky enough to snag one of these beachfront spots. You'll have convenient access to electric and water hookups, restrooms, showers, and a dump station. You can cook up a meal on the grill and dine on the picnic table provided at the campsite. It'll be hard to find a better campsite in Florida, sleeping underneath the shade of palm trees and views of the ocean.
If you'd rather stay outside of the state park, there are a number of private campgrounds and RV parks to choose from in the area. These private accommodations are dotted all along the Florida Keys, so you'll still be close to all the outdoor excitement offered by Long Key State Park. You will also have the advantage of choosing which modern amenities you need like wireless internet or full hookups. Some of these private campgrounds will offer stunning views of the ocean and convenient access to beach recreation.
If your tastes lean toward a more rugged adventure, primitive sites are also available at Long Key State Campground. Here you can pitch your tent with an ocean side view of the Atlantic waves rolling in, ready to lull you to pleasant dreams every night. Bask in the sun and sea air while leaving footprints on the sandy beach at your front door. And, just to make your experience with nature is even better, you’ll find that each site has some great basic amenities that guarantee an enjoyable stay. Each site has a ground grill, picnic table, and water hookups. An extension cord is suggested as the hookups are shared with other campers. Restrooms are also conveniently located nearby.
Seasonal activities in Long Key State Park
Long Key State Park is a snorkeler's dream, providing a chance to experience the ancient coral reefs that formed 100,000 years ago that are still teeming with abundant colorful fish. The water in the park is generally shallow and covered in seagrass. Snorkeling is available only in designated areas.
Swimming is available in designated areas once your park your rig in the park. In general, the water is shallow and the currents and waves are gentle, making this a great place to frolic with the kids. Be prepared to wear wading shoes while on the beach or swimming in the ocean water, as the beaches can be a bit coarse.
Relaxing at the Beach
Long Key State Park is known as “your home in the Florida sun.” The park offers a glimpse of what the Florida Keys used to be like, and visitors come to Long Key State Park seeking fun and relaxation. This is a perfect location to bring a good book and lounge by the shore while being caressed by the cool ocean breeze. So get ready to hop out of the motorhome, slather on the sunscreen, and suntan in the warm Florida sun.
There are three trails located in Long Key State Park - two land-based nature trails and one canoe trail. The Golden Orb Trail, named after a native spider, is a leisurely one-hour walk that leads you through various plant communities. The Layton Trail is located on the bayside of the park and is a short 20-minute walk that takes you through short, interconnecting trails overlooking the Florida Bay. If you park your camper and head out on this trail, you'll be rewarded with beautiful ocean views.
The shallow, clear waters of Long Key provide an excellent opportunity for paddling and exploring the shoreline as you watch for the many species of birds who live here. The Long Key Lakes Canoe Trail provides RVers with the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely paddle through the park’s shallow water lagoon. If you’re lucky, you may see loggerhead and green sea turtles while you’re out on the water.
This park is full of all kinds of wildlife. Many people come here to go bird watching, but birds aren’t the only kinds of animals that you’ll get to see. Observe Horseshoe Crabs, Mullet, Snapper, and Starfish in the water. Check out Bonefish and Redfish in the shallow grass flats. Many kayakers have also seen Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles.
The park has minimal light pollution, making it an excellent place to lay back and gaze into the dark night sky. Observing every star you’ve ever wished upon and studying the many constellations can be a lot of fun. RV campers can also view the wonders of the universe with the Florida Keys Astronomy Club on Tuesday nights. More information can be obtained at the ranger station.
Geocaching is an outdoor game using downloaded GPS coordinates. It’s an inexpensive, interactive, and high-tech treasure hunt that serves as a great way to learn geography. You’ll use location coordinates to find caches which contain trinkets inside. Some are easy to find, while others are more difficult. The biggest reward is the thrill of the search and the discovery of a place you have never been.
The Florida Keys are known for sports fishing and in times past this area was a haven for many who came to fish these beautiful waters. Fishing in the Florida Keys is popular year-round. When you come during the off-season, you won't have to worry about the crowds, making it a perfect activity for your winter RV trip. Just make sure you have a fishing license and follow all regulations.
Long Key State Park is the perfect place for the birding enthusiast year-round. During the winter and spring, migratory birds are plentiful here. Wading birds, Roseate Spoonbills, Reddish Egrets, and raptors all can be seen in this lovely park, as well as many other species. Long Key is also listed in the Great Florida Birding Trail for the white-crowned pigeon. You just might spot one of these stunning birds if you bring your binoculars in your rig.