Of all the State Parks on the Keys, we have to say that we liked Curry Hammock the best. While it does not offer the snorkeling that John Pennekamp and Bahia Honda offer, it is equally as beautiful and not nearly as busy. The campground is quieter and farther from the main road than the campground at Long Key State Park. Each campsite has 20/30/50 amp electric service, a grill, water and picnic table. They are all gravel and can accommodate even the largest RV’s. Some have a sand pad for tenting. There is a dump station available. Pets are welcome, but not on the beach or in the water. (Nearby are 2 pet beaches, Coco Plum and Sombrero. Sombrero Beach is also a really good swimming beach for people.)
The 28-site campground and 4-pavilion day use area with a playground and canoe, kayak or paddleboard launch are just small enough to keep Curry Hammock quiet but big enough to be interesting. There is a 1.5 mile hiking trail through the tropical hardwood hammock. Here, among many other things, we learned about poinsonwood, a tree that has the same chemical as poison ivy, only 10x as much. The leaves don’t have to be broken or bruised for it to ooze the stuff either – it just drips off the leaves! Yikes! Watch out for that one!
There is also a kayak “trail” around the island, through a mangrove tunnel. Kayak and paddle board rentals are offered at the park office.
The sandbar about a half-mile off the beach is a magical and lovely place to relax in the crystal clear water. Here we saw Atlantic guitarfish, pin cushion starfish, sea urchins, conchs, and spotted eagle rays.
Kiteboarders love Curry Hammock when the wind picks up.
There is ample opportunity for biking or running on the Overseas Heritage Trail, 70 miles of paved trail segments from Key Largo to Key West. The nearby town of Marathon can meet all of your shopping and dining needs. We loved happy hour specials and fish tacos at Sparky’s and the french fries at Burdines are to die for! Burdines also offers live music on Fridays.
The Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival is at Curry Hammock in September. We found burrowing owls nesting in a nearby community, saw Antilles nighthawks at the Marathon Airport, and Curry Hammock is buzzing with white crowned pigeons, cute little common ground doves and gray kingbirds.
The beaches are not raked so you will find a ribbon of drying sea grasses washed up, lining the shore. Among these are turtle grass, manatee grass and Sargasso seaweed. This provides a wonderful natural feeding ground for birds and crabs. Both red and striped hermit crabs are everywhere. The sand just off the beach is soft and peanut buttery and the water is calm and shallow. Most people don’t like to swim among the shallow sea grass meadows. The best swimming in the park is actually just off the kayak launch.
In the summer months you may find multiple turtle nests on the beach. One green turtle made her nest at Curry Hammock during our stay. While we didn’t get to see her, her tracks and nest site were obvious.
The park rangers offer free, weekly, guided ranger walks and charge minimal fees for guided kayak tours. At the time of our visit, the staff at Curry Hammock were friendly and easy going. Make your campground reservations early through Reserve America because it is nearly always full. You won’t be disappointed!