Bella Vida by Letty

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

 Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

This is the first post of a new Florida travel series titled: Exploring the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are a series of connected islands on Florida’s southern tip.  Some are smaller than others and there is only a two lane road taking visitors in and out of the keys.  Today’s trip is at the very top of the keys.  A wonderful trip if you don’t feel like driving all the way down to Key West.  This road trip stop is in Key Largo, Florida.

Instead of taking US1 straight down into the Keys we made a left onto Card Sound Road.  This is a small scenic two lane road that cuts through Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park.  There are miles and miles of preserved West Indian tropical hardwood hammock.  You will see small boats on waterways and people fishing off short tiny bridges.  Somewhere along the road you will pass Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  Yes, there are gators everywhere so be aware.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

Once you reach the park there are a few parking spaces at the front.  There is a cemented trail as well as many other trails throughout the park.  There were families riding bikes around the looping trail on the day I visited.  A great way to exercise while having fun.

The park has over six miles of nature trails which is perfect for birdwatchers and photographers.  There are many shaded areas to walk and rest.  There is also a very cute picnic area with tables.  A great spot to fuel up which can even be a lovely backdrop to have a romantic meal.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

This was the first place I ever participated in Geo Caching thanks to the friendly park ranger who explained what it was.  Geocaching is a real world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS enabled devices or an app you can download to your phone. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.  When you find the treasure, you sign the log.  Make sure to include whatever you’ve taken and what you have left behind.  Then share with others.  It was a lot of fun to hunt for treasure.

This park is a great way to observe the wildlife.  During April and October migratory birds are funneled into the Keys by the landform. Some tropical species residents you might see are: the white-crowned pigeon, the mangrove cuckoo and black-whiskered vireo. Tropical vagrants such as the thick-billed vireo and La Sagra’s flycatcher are frequently reported in the park.
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
Butterfly-watching has rapidly grown in popularity since the mid-1990s; the park features an incredible diversity of species, including the Schaus’ swallowtail, silver-banded hairstreak, and both hammock and mangrove skippers. Rare tree snails feed on the lichens and bark of the tropical trees, and can be easily observed by park visitors.

Have you been Geocaching before?  Have you visited Key Largo?  Do you have a tip for me?

Let me know in the comments.

DJKL Mohawk Bird

This handsome guy has a mohawk.

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