Florida Keys - Things to Do
Whether paddling or hiking, expect outstanding scenery and wildlife viewing.
Trails pass through habitats that are excellent places for mangrove cuckoos and wading birds. At the Sammy Creek Landing rest stop/picnic area on Lower Sugarloaf Key, restored native vegetation attracts numerous butterflies. Paddlers exploring nearby coastal habitats will find abundant bird life in marshes, mangroves and exposed mudflats. The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail showcases excellent wildlife viewing sites throughout the Florida Keys.
Bicycling and Hiking
To protect the area’s sensitive resources, few formal trails have been developed. However, a new, unmarked trail loop follows a closed county road through mangroves and rockland hammock habitats, both good for a variety of birds, as well as Key deer and Lower Keys marsh rabbit. From the Overseas Highway, turn onto Sugarloaf Boulevard at MM17 and travel two miles to the stop sign (intersection of Sugarloaf Blvd. and CR 939A). Vehicles may park on the right-of-way of CR 939A (approximately 400 feet southwest of the entrance gate). The trail starts beyond the yellow gate and is suitable for hiking and bicycling. To access a particularly scenic spot on the water with covered picnic tables and a paddling hand launch, turn right at the stop sign on Sugarloaf Blvd. and go 2.5 miles on CR 939A to Sammy Creek Landing, located on the left.
The roseate spoonbill feeds by sweeping its unusually-shaped bill through the water, moving its head from side to side. When prey touches the sensitive bill , the bird quickly grasps it.
The Florida Keys is a paradise for paddlers. Plan long or short excursions along the Florida Keys Overseas Paddling Trail, a part of the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. Boat launch sites are located along the trail. Paddlers can park along the road at Sammy Creek Landing and hand launch a kayak or canoe. This scenic rest stop for non-motorized boats is located off of CR 939A on Lower Sugarloaf Key, about 4.5 miles from the Overseas Highway. Enjoy covered picnic tables and great views.
American Shoal Light
While birding or checking out the awesome views at Sammy Creek Landing, look south-southeast to see the American Shoal Light. First lit on July 15, 1880, American Shoal Light was the last of the hurricane-resistant lighthouses built that were built to mark the dangerous Florida Reef.