Crane Point Hammock: A Visitors Guide

Crane Point Hammock is a 63-acre preserve and historic site in the Middle Keys, located at mile marker 53.5 on the bayside of U.S. 1 (Overseas Highway). It was donated to The Nature Conservancy by Barron Collier Company in perpetuity to be used as a nature center for local and visiting communities.

Just minutes away from your Marathon, FL vacation rental home, you and your family will love a day spent in nature at Crane Point Hammock.

The state park contains five natural habitats:

  • Tropical hardwood hammock
  • Mangrove forest
  • Upland pine habitat with salt marsh
  • Estuarine tidal creek
  • Beautiful beaches along the bayfront

Visitors can explore these habitats through hiking trails and boardwalks. Also featured are picnic pavilions and two observation towers that offer magnificent views of Biscayne Bay and surrounding areas.

For dog owners, you’ll be pleased to know that Crane Point Hammock is pet friendly! Make sure your dog is always on a leash.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the best things to do in Crane Point Hammock and some other important things to note before you visit.

Top Things To Do In Crane Point Hammock

Get a Fish Pedicure

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Looking for a unique spa experience? Consider getting a fish pedicure at the Crane Point Hammock in Marathon, Florida!

A fish pedicure involves soaking your feet in a warm tub of water while tiny red garra fish nibble away at any dead skin and calluses. Fish pedicures are known to be a natural treatment that can help soften and moisturize the skin on your feet.

While this may sound like it involves some underwater acrobatics, Crane Point Hammock makes getting a fish pedicure easy!

At Crane Point Hammock, you’ll find several large tubs filled with water and lots of tiny red garra fish. All you need to do is sit back and relax while the fish nibble away at your dead skin.

And don't worry, these little fish are completely harmless - they only eat the dead skin and calluses on your feet! You'll leave the spa feeling silky smooth and ready for sandal season.

Visit the Marathon Wild Bird Center

Photo Credit: Adam Fagen via Flickr CC2.0 

If you're looking for a great way to get outside and learn about some of the amazing birds that live in Florida, check out the Marathon Wild Bird Center! This beautiful natural space is home to a stunning bird sanctuary featuring hundreds of bird species from all over the state.

At the center, you'll find tons of educational programs designed to help you learn more about these incredible creatures. Take part in one of their guided tours or sign up for a class on bird-watching skills and identification techniques.

Discover the Crane Point Museum of Natural History

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Discover the Crane Point Museum of Natural History, a truly unique attraction in Marathon. The museum is home to an incredible collection of local history artifacts and wildlife exhibits.

Spread out over 2 buildings, the museum's galleries tell the story of Florida Keys history from native inhabitants to modern day. You'll get to explore interactive exhibits that give you insight into Native American life and culture, see amazing fossils including a 13-foot gator jaw and discover the region's marine ecosystem with displays featuring live sharks and sea turtles.

Don’t forget to bring the kids to the touch tanks, where they can get up-close-and-personal with local critters.

In addition to its fascinating permanent collections, the Crane Point Museum and Nature Center also hosts frequent temporary exhibits throughout the year.

Explore the Many Nature Trails

Photo Credit: JGA

Nature trails are one of the most popular activities at Crane Point Hammock. The natural beauty and wildlife that can be seen while exploring these trails make them a must-see when visiting this incredible place.

There are four main nature trails that cover different areas of Crane Point Hammock:

  • Old Road Trail
  • Turtle Pond Trail
  • Mangrove Overlook Trail
  • Shark Valley Loop Trail

Each of these trails is unique in its own way and offers visitors an opportunity to explore a different part of Crane Point's diverse ecosystem.

The Old Road Trail is a paved trail that runs along the back side of the property. This trail is about 2 miles long, and is a great way for visitors to explore the park on foot or by bicycle.

The Turtle Pond Trail takes you through some of Crane Point Hammock's most unique natural habitats: grassy marshes, mangrove forests, and mud flats.

The Mangrove Overlook Trail is a scenic boardwalk that features views over one of Crane Point Hammock's saltwater ponds. If you're lucky, you might see birds or other wildlife from this vantage point!

Finally, the Shark Valley Loop Trail runs along the shoreline and passes by some of the park's historical buildings.

Stop at the Bahamian-Style Adderley House

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Adderley House overlooks Crane Cove and is named for Captain George Adderley who built it in 1856 as his home when he came to the Keys from the Bahamas. Over the years, the house fell into disrepair until it was finally purchased by Monroe County as part of Crab Creek Park (now known as Crane Point Hammock) in 1971.

The house is constructed out of a material called Tabby, a mixture of conch and other natural, locally-sourced materials.

Today, visitors can see this historic house along with several other buildings that were used by generations of residents over the years. Visitors will also find beautiful views of the unspoiled environment, including mangrove forests directly behind the property and water views all around.

Grab Some Souvenirs at the Gift Shop

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At Crane Point Hammock’s gift shop, you’ll find all sorts of unique gifts that capture the spirit of the Florida Keys. Whether you want to bring something back for yourself or as a gift for friends and family, this shop has plenty of options to choose from. They have everything from t-shirts and hats, to postcards and keychains.

They also offer an amazing selection of unique and handmade souvenirs. Whether you're looking for home decor items like coral sculptures or hurricane lamps, or something more practical like locally made soaps and candles, you'll find just what you need at the gift shop at Crane Point Hammock.

And if you need any recommendations, just ask one of the friendly staff members, who are happy to help you find the perfect souvenir.

What Types of Animals Can You See at Crane Point Hammock?

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The famous Key deer can often be seen at Crane Point. Other wildlife found at the preserve includes alligator, bottlenose dolphin, sea turtles, bald eagle, osprey, raccoon and wood rat.

Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars to spot some of these animals in their natural surroundings.

Along with amazing nature adventures, Crane Point offers many educational programs and guided tours for students and adults throughout the year. Enjoy one or two trolley tours through the grounds and see what kinds of animals you can spot!

Best Time To Visit Crane Point Hammock

Photo Credit: Andriy Blokhin

Just like deciding when to visit Marathon, Crane Point Hammock is an ideal place to visit year round since it offers visitors tropical birds and plants along with scenic views from every angle. However, certain times of the year are better suited than others depending on what you're looking to do while visiting--for instance:

If you're looking for a fun, relaxing experience with family and friends, consider visiting during fall or spring: These seasons offer mild temperatures that won't be too hot and keep away the rain.

Plus, this is the time of year that you're likely to spot some migratory birds in action.

If you're looking for a peaceful nature hike, the hammock is best visited during winter or summer: During these seasons, it's typically dry and sunny so there are fewer bugs to deal with as well. You can also take advantage of Crane Point Hammock's tree canopy which will keep you cool even on the warmest days.

No matter when you visit, be sure to check out Crane Point Hammock's various trails long before heading out since they're each open at different times depending on weather conditions--and make sure not to forget your camera!

Summing Up

Crane Point Hammock is a great place to visit if you're looking for a unique experience in the Florida Keys. There's always something to do, whether it's exploring the nature trails or checking out the Museum of Natural History. You're sure to see some interesting animals while you're there, too!

If you haven't been to Crane Point Hammock, add it to your list of places to visit. And if you have been, this might just be the perfect reminder to visit again!