Situated in the Lower Keys, Big Pine Key offers both magisterial aquatic and terrestrial life in abundance, but in quieter, more reserved settings.
AT A GLANCE
For those looking for a more personal, intimate connection with nature, as well as the chance to see some wildlife specific to the Lower Keys, Big Pine is the place to be.
WHAT TO SEE
Being an archipelago, the Florida Keys has many things to do (and see) in its beautiful blue waters. Big Pine Key is no exception to this rule; however it does provide the opportunity for travellers to stay on firm ground without sacrificing any desire to glimpse nature in all of its glory. The National Key Deer Refuge is where the majority of Key Deer can be found. This species of deer is almost entirely unique to the Florida Keys, and their significantly smaller size makes for an amazing contrast to the deer you might normally see.
With hundreds of acres of land to explore, the refuge offers a lot more than just deer spotting. Hike amongst the hammock trees or mangrove forests, or head to the fresh water at Blue Hole for the chance to see a variety of birds, turtles, and even an Alligator or two.
Of course there is yet more amazing diving and snorkelling opportunities on offer, (with excursions to the Adolphus Busch Snr. Wreck being a particular highlight), but due to Big Pine Key’s more reserved atmosphere, you might want to look up, instead of under the waves. The lack of artificial light means that star gazing (for both experienced astronomers or simply for wide-eyed travellers and honeymooners) will surely give you a view to remember.
WHY WE LIKE IT
A taste of outback, country life on an island paradise is certainly a distinctive and inimitable experience. The hiking, biking, and opportunities for exploration in the key deer refuge are things that set Big Pine Key apart from the other Keys, and the unique Key Deer are a joy to behold.