Big Pine and the Lower Keys lie just west of the seven-mile bridge in the Florida Keys and offer a unique array of paddling and wildlife viewing opportunities. Here are four ways to have the best SUP weekend ever in Big Pine!
Paddle Around No Name Key | Location: Mile Marker 30
Located just across the channel from Big Pine is the infamous No Name Key. While it may be small, No Name makes up for its lack of size with an abundance of marine wildlife. Guided paddling tours are a great way to learn about the island’s aquatic life, or you can chart your own paddling adventure with a number of easy access points.
Explore the National Key Deer Wildlife Refuge | Location: Mile Marker 29
You may not expect the Florida Keys to be an oasis for deer, but that’s just what you’ll find in Big Pine. The National Key Deer Wildlife Refuge is home to the smallest of the North American deer – an endangered species that only resides in the Florida Keys. These real-life Bambis aren’t shy and often approach people, just remember to not feed them and drive slow to preserve these adorable deer.
Eat at No Name Pub | Location: Unknown
If you enjoy dining at joints with lots of character, you’ll love the No Name Pub. Opened in 1931 as a general store, this classic honky tonk once hosted gambling nights and housed a brothel. Despite the pub’s rowdy past, today it has transformed into a community fixture that offers delicious pizza and homestyle fare.
Paddle Bahia Honda State Park and Railroad Bridge Ruins| Location: Mile Marker 36.8
This eclectic paddling opportunity begins from Bahia Honda State Park’s beautiful sandy beaches. After launching from the beach, it’s only a short paddle to reach the old railway bridge – an interesting piece of Florida Keys history.
Opened in 1912, it served as a railway until incurring damage in a 1935 hurricane. Following repairs, it was reopened as a roadway until being decommissioned in 1980. Nowadays, this engineering relic represents a bygone era in Keys’ history and a truly unique paddling location.
The article was originally published on Standup Paddling
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