The secret’s out!
Marathon’s Curry Hammock State Park surfed to an astounding third place finish in the “America’s Favorite Park” 2012 contest, garnering more than 8.2 million votes in the six-week online challenge that involved more than 16,000 national, state and local parks.
The Park is a nature-lover’s paradise, a quiet, peaceful cluster of islands nestled in the Middle Florida Keys. You can swim in the shallow waters of its 1,200-foot, sandy beach, snuggled up next to the Atlantic, sunbathe, or just indulge in some soul-soothing downtime. And if you’re the adventurous type, you can kiteboard and windsurf there.
But that’s just the tip of the sandbar.
The Park offers bicycling, camping, snorkeling, wildlife viewing, and hiking along a 1.5-mile nature trail that curves through the hardwood hammock. It also offers outstanding canoeing and kayaking. The waters are shallow and usually calm, and the currents are gentle. You can explore the creek, twisted with mangroves, as well as miles of shoreline on both the Atlantic and bay sides of the park. Kayak rentals are available at the park.
Hooking into some underwater fun is yet another option, since fishing is allowed within the park. The flats often hold permit and bonefish, and the channel alongside the park has produced sizeable sharks, snapper, snook, and more.
Park amenities include picnic facilities, pavilions, a playground, showers and restrooms.
Insider’s Tip: The Park is headquarters of the annual Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival, Sept. 25-30, 2012.