This State Park Is One Of The Top Ranked Camping Destinations In Florida

For a unique camping experience, ditch the winter gear and head south to the Sunshine State. Long Key State Park is one of the top-ranked camping destinations in Florida, offering an authentic, family-friendly adventure in the Florida Keys. Though, on average, it's only a two-hour drive from the busy city of Miami, Long Key State Park transports you to subtropical solitude. The park is situated in Layton on Long Key, right off of Florida's famous Overseas Highway road trip route that winds down through the Florida Keys. 

Over 1,000 acres of the park's land protect a wide array of coastal habitats that include a mangrove swamp, mudflats, and coastal berms. Not to mention, several serene beaches overlook the Atlantic Ocean that provide incredible views. Long Key State Park is worth a day trip at the very least, but packing your tent and making your way to the park's campground for an overnight stay will elevate your visit.

Setting up camp

Unlike other destinations in Florida that have RV parking, there are only hike-in, tent-only campsites in Long Key State Park. Amenities available to campers include restrooms with outdoor showers, refillable water bottle stations, and waterside pavilions. What's more, each campsite consists of a picnic area, grill, and hammock stand. While pups aren't allowed on the park's beaches, your furry friend can join you at the campground. You can reserve a campsite online and expect to pay $22.50 per night. In addition, for parties of two or more people, there is an entrance fee of $5 plus $0.50 per person. 

All-in-all, the camping at Long Key is comfortable and affordable. Before packing your camping supplies and heading to Long Key, check for campground closures on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection website. Hurricanes and other subtropical weather conditions regularly impact the Florida Keys and have caused damage to Long Key State Park's campsites in the past.

Activities in the state park

After setting up camp, it's time to explore all the excursions at Long Key State Park. Beach dwellers can enjoy sunbathing, walking along the sandy shore, and swimming in the calm waves off the coast. For more aquatic adventures, bring along snorkeling gear to catch a glimpse of the fish and marine creatures submerged under the salty waters. Moreover, there are several kayak launch sites within the park. Travelers can rent kayaks directly from the ranger station, which costs $17.50 for a single and $21.50 for a double. Pier 68 is another local business that offers kayak rentals in Long Key.

Two main trails weave through the wild oceanic landscapes of the park for nature lovers to stroll. The Golden Orb Trail, named after a native spider, is just over a mile long and takes an average of one hour to complete. The well-traveled loop passes through a rockland hammock and mangrove forest before crossing a coastal berm and leading to an untouched beachfront with spectacular seascapes. 

The Layton Trail is a simple 15 to 20-minute walk that leads to an unhampered overlook of the Florida Bay. These paths allow for prime birdwatching and wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as peaceful places to watch the famous Keys' sunset. The minimal light pollution has made stargazing a popular activity once the sun goes down. Become captivated by the natural beauty of the Florida Keys by camping at Long Key State Park.