Big Pine Key Off The Beaten Path

  • One of the trails
    One of the trails
    by grandmaR
  • Alligator in the Blue Hole
    Alligator in the Blue Hole
    by grandmaR
  • Blue Hole
    Blue Hole
    by grandmaR

Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Big Pine Key

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    Indigenous Deer

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 24, 2008

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    The National Key Deer Refuge is located 100 miles southwest of Miami and 30 miles northeast of Key West, FL along U.S.#1. I have never been to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife headquarters that administers the Refuge. That is on Big Pine Key in the Big Pine Key Plaza off Key Deer Boulevard. I don't know what it has to offer the visitor. But there ARE attractions for visitors in the Refuge.

    Central on Big Pine Key is an old quarry, filled with freshwater, and home to a diverse array of wildlife. It's called the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole has visitor facilities including an interpretive kiosk, staffed by volunteers, and an observation platform. It is a popular look-out spot for visitors to Big Pine Key.

    Just north of the Blue Hole are two interpretive nature trails: one penetrating the tropical hardwood hammock, the other a wheelchair accessible journey through pine rocklands to a freshwater wetland slough.

    All these trails are free but you get your information from the kiosks or signs because the headquarters is not at the Blue Hole or the other two trails.

    The Key Deer in the name of the refuge are the smallest of the 28 subspecies of Virginia white-tailed deer. They are found only in the lower Florida Keys - they were isolated by glaciers about 4,000 years ago. Bucks range from 28-32" at the shoulder and weigh an average of 80 lbs. Does stand 24-28" at the shoulder and weigh an average of 65 lbs.

    In 1957, the deer population was only 27 deer. Now they have rebounded and there about 800 deer, mostly on Big Pine.

    Currently, illegal roadside feeding contributes to road kills which account for 70 percent of the annual mortality.

    Bob and me reflected in the refuge map Blue Hole Alligator in the Blue Hole One of the trails Handicapped Trail information sign
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park

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    Fat Albert

    by grandmaR Written Mar 20, 2004

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    Look up and you can probably spot the radar blimp over Cudjoe Key affectionately known as Fat Albert. There are actually two of them, and they take turns guarding the Keys from 1400 feet up. Fat Albert can be seen from miles away in either direction.

    Fat Albert from the No Name Key bridge
    Related to:
    • School Holidays
    • Road Trip
    • Budget Travel

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Big Pine Key Off The Beaten Path

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