Have you ever been to Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park? No? Well, then you are in for a real treat! And if you have been to Windley Key State Park, we’d love to encourage you to visit again, so follow along to get some new trips for another visit!
Windley Key State Park was formed of Key Largo Limestone years ago. This fossilized coral was then sold to the Florida East Coast Railroad, which then used the stone to build Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad in the early 1900s! It is truly one of the more unique Florida Keys State Parks!
Today you can walk along the 8-foot high quarry walls to see sections of ancient coral and learn about the historical operation that took place here. In the 1960s, it was this quarry that produced the iconic decorate stone, Keystone.
Visitors love the natural beauty of this island. So whether you eat at a picnic table, take one of the five self-guided tours, or stop by the visitor center, you are bound to enjoy this unique Florida location. So please, make plans to stop by Windley Key State Park! We promise you won’t regret it. Read on for more tips and tricks for your visit!
Where is Windley Key Fossil Geological State Park Located?
Windley Key State park is a historic site. Visiting provides a beautiful exposure to the geological area that created Key Largo Limestone. But in order to see these fossil corals and other ancient marine life that is preserved in the rocks at this park, you need to know where to go!
Windley Key State Park is located at 84900 Overseas Highway in Islamorada, FL. If you are following a GPS, make sure to put in the zip code 33036! In all honestly, it is pretty easy to get to.
However, the Overseas Highway stretches for a long time, so if you get a bit lost by the surrounding areas of water and cute little stops, know that Windley Key State Park is located in between the Theatre of the Sea and Rain Barrel Village. Make sure to pass Plantation Key, and your Windley Key State Park will be on the right!
How much does it cost to visit Windley Key State Park?
Aside from loving how easy it is to get to Windley Key State Park, we also love how cheap it is to get in! It is only $2.50 a person to witness this historic location. Can you talk about a steal?
This $2.50 a person is a perfect way to spend a full day, or even just a few hours. It is an inexpensive stop if you are already in the area, but make sure you consider where you are at and where you are going, as it can take a while to get to Windley Key State Park depending on where you are coming from!
And if you decide to do a tour here, the tour fee is $2 a person, or $2.50 a person for a ranger-guided tour. Children under six are free!
How late is Windley Key State Park open?
Windley Key State Park is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m, Thursday through Monday. It is important to note that Windley Key Fossil Geological State Park is CLOSED on Tuesdays and Wednedsays. This means, don’t show up then! They won’t be open! So make sure to plan in accordance.
For your convience, the visitor center is typically open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday as well. They are also typically closed Tuesday and Wednesday. HOWEVER, the Visitor Center is currently closed according to Windley Key State Park’s website, so make sure to actively check when they will be open again.
Lastly, it is important to note that ranger-led tours are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Friday through Sunday. But if you don’t want to do a ranger-led tour, or you can’t make it at one of those times or on one of those days, you can always do one of the five self-guided tours too!
Map of Windley Key
We love knowing where we are going, and what to expect! So here is a map of Windley Key State Park to help guide you on your visit:
Best Things to do in Windley Key State Park
There are TONS of things to do at Windley Key State Park. But we want to make sure to highlight some of the best things! Because Windley Key State Park is only open for certain hours on certain days, make sure to plan accordingly with what you can do and when!
First, the gorgeous geological history of Windley Key State Park makes it the perfect place to go hiking. This park as approximately 1.5 miles of trails. These trails wind through a tropical hardwood hammock. And throughout the trails, visitors are able to observe over 40 species of native trees and plants. By using a guidebook and numbered trail stops, you can learn so much! This is also where you can get your ranger-guided tours of Windley Key State Park!
As an aside, if you decide to do a self or ranger-guided hammock tour of Windley Key State Park, yous should have the ability to traverse mulched trail territory, tolerate warm and buggy conditions, ass wella as withstand exposure to the outdoors for at least 90 minutes. So plan and pack appropriately– water, sunscreen and proper shoes are definitely needed at Windley Key State Park! Oh and one more thing! These guided tours are only available December through April!
Enjoy the Outdoors!
Another great thing thing to do at Windley Key State Park includes simply enjoying the outdoors: Windley Key State Park as TONS of picnic tables scattered throughout the park. You can sit and relax or eat here, but do know that shade is limited! Or if you don’t want to sit and want to stay active, many visitors love walking and running these trails!
Look for Wildlife and the Visitor Center!
Lots of visitors of Windley Key State Park also love going for wildlife viewing or bird watching here. You will see lots of wildlife in this wild area, which we will talk about more in a second! But lastly, other visitors love to stop y the Alison Fahrer Environmental Education Center here too. This Educational Visitor Center of Windley Key State Park offers display son Flagler’s railroad, tropical hardwood hammocks, they Key’s geology and more. It is interactive and fun!
This historic site is also often used for meetings and retreats, and Windley Key State Park is very interpretive while also offering a variety of Accessible Amenities. We love the fact that they offer track chairs for exploring trails! That way everyone can enjoy Windley Key State Park!
Wildlife at Windley Key State Park
Windley Key State Park is most famous for its birds. The park is home to a multitude of resident and wintering birds, as many birds stop for a rest of feed before crossing the Gulf of Mexico! As you stroll through the trails of this hammock lush, you’ll be able to hear this wildlife. Windley Key State Park comes alive with the wildlife songs.
You’ll find warblers, vireos, and thrushes here, as well as white-crowned pigeons. Black whiskered vieros can even sometimes be spotted in the high canopy and vegetation! And aside from this, the 8-foot walls of fossilized coral and dense hammock provide a great outlook. Windley Key State park is perfect os search the skies for soaring hawks. And during migration, check out the buteos, accipiters and falcons too!
And there you have it folks! Some tips and tricks for visiting one of Florida’s most unique and iconic parks. Windley Key State Park is one you don’t want to miss: the coral walls are geographically cool to see in person, and the outdoor activities and history make it one of the best stops to stop in the Keys! So visit Windley Key Fossil Reef Geographical State Park soon. It’s waiting for you!