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“A gem of a state park if you time your visit right”

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
Ranked #12 of 59 things to do in Islamorada
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Nature trails and fossilized coral reefs are the highlights of this park.
Oceanside, California
Level Contributor
28 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“A gem of a state park if you time your visit right”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2012

The weather turned a tad cool for water sports on a Sunday, so we set out driving south from Key Largo to see what we might find. My husband spotted the brown sign of Windley Key Fossil Reef around Milemarker 85 and we turned in to see what it might hold. The parking lot held a number of cars, so we figured something might be afoot. We stopped in at the Visitor Center, which had a helpful display of the geology of the Keys. We asked about the fee--no fee if all you want to do is look around the Ed Center; $2/person if you want to wander the grounds. $2?!? What a deal.

The ranger suggested that we take one of the tour books and walk on the paths (probably 5 or so to choose from). The book had information about the many numbered signpost. We headed out, picked a trail near the Visitor Center, and had a great time. The tour book had lots of fun information about trees, the several quarries, and the local history of the train down the Keys. The trails were clearly marked and well interconnected. None were long or strenuous; we spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around and learning about all sorts of unusual things. A very atypical Keys experience!

The major caveat is that, if we had happened there when the Visitor Center wasn't open, I assume you wouldn't have access to the marvelous tour book. Without that, you'd just be walking the footpaths without getting the full understanding. It's a nice area, but I don't think we'd have had as good a time without the extra knowledge. The Web site says that the Visitor Center is open 9 - 5 Fri. - Sun. So if you're heading there, try to time your visit to match those hours.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank ztsipapu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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212 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Key Largo, Florida
Level Contributor
115 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Keys state parks; little treasures”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 11, 2012

A lovely stop en route through the Keys, including wooded walks, a nature center and displays and education on the fossils embedded in the coral rock taken from this site.

If you need animatronics and cafeterias, skip this. But if you want to get off the beaten path and discover a bit more about the locale, this is a quick and fun stop.

Do not miss the wonderful variety of state parks in the Keys - they are little treasures!

Visited March 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank Diver4comm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
78 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“Cool fossils embedded in limestone”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2012

We enjoyed this area much more than we thought we would. Plan to spend a couple of hours here wandering around.

As of January 2012 the cost to hike the trails and see the fossils is a mere $2 per person. We spent about 2 1/2 hours wandering the trails and then looking at all the neat coral that’s fossilized in the limestone. Lots of old equipment left to show how the limestone was quarried.

The only bummer was the “map” they give you to wander the trails. We found it very confusing to use but still managed to find our way around and eventually back to the visitor center.

The only caution we offer is to beware the Poisonwood Tree. It’s a mean looking thing - light blotchy gray bark with noticeable black splotches all over it. Don’t touch it. Just don’t. Other than that this was a fun and good stop.

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank lovestotravelohyeah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rome ga
Level Contributor
79 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Another State Park showing how the ancient Coral formations were cutout and blocked for building purposes.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2012

A great day visit to enjoy the nature and natural flora and fauna of the Keys. Spend several hours hiking and looking at the history of this Quarry and state park.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
Thank wildturkey52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
85 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 140 helpful votes
“small but charming”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2012

No beach views but interesting look at how Florida Keys infrastructure developed.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank diplogirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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