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www.LowerKeys CHAMBER .com VISIT DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK aboard the Yankee Free III Ferry Call for Reservations: 305.294.7009

Visitor & Community Guide Business Directory

As the least people-populated

section of the island chain, the

majority of the Lower Keys’

inhabitants have four legs, fins

or feathers. No visit would be

complete without encountering

some of the native wildlife.

The National Key Deer

Refuge covers nearly 9,200

acres on Big Pine Key and No

Name Key. Key Deer are a

diminutive, endangered species that stand only 26 to 32 inches

high at the shoulder and weigh a “whopping” 90 pounds.

Feeding or engaging them is illegal, because it makes them

far too comfortable around humans and automobiles.

Nature lovers will find a variety of activities within the

refuge. Blue Hole, an abandoned limestone quarry from railroad

days, is the largest body of freshwater in the Keys and home to

fish, turtles and alligators. An observation platform affords the

opportunity to view native wildlife up close.

Just north of Blue Hole are the 2/3-mile Jack C. Watson

Trail and the 800-foot handicapped-accessible Fred Mannillo

Wildlife Trail, the latter of which leads to an observation

platform overlooking freshwater wetland. Both trails are ideal

for spotting Key Deer.

The Great White Heron National Refuge encompasses a

174-square-mile area between Key West and Marathon. It is

also a mecca for birders, as there are more than 180 avian

species within.

More untamed natural beauty can be found at Bahia Honda State

Park. The beach here is said to be the most beautiful in the Keys

and because of its adjacent deep water channel, activities tend to

be centered on the water, including swimming and snorkeling.