Early Spanish charts show Long Key as Cayo Vivora, meaning Viper Key. The name of Long Key was cemented when Henry Flagler's railroad reached this area in the early 1900s, as the bridge that reaches southwest to Conch Key was the longest yet constructed along the railroad right-of-way. By 1912, the Keys were easily traversed by rail, allowing passengers to travel to Key West. The upscale Long Key Fishing Camp became a mecca for the world's great saltwater anglers and the rich and famous. This glamorous era came to an end when the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 struck the Middle Keys with devastating force. Long Key State Park officially opened in 1969.
As contractors completed the removal of Australian pines (an invasive exotic) in April 2008, park rangers paused to snap a quick photo of the 'new' campsites. Throughout the following year, more than 500 native trees, shrubs and grasses were planted to restore the park to more natural conditions.
Long Key State Park offers a wealth of natural resources that park rangers interpret for visitors. From guided walks along the Golden Orb Trail to tidal flats exploration and self-guided canoe tours, park visitors are able to experience nature at its best. Park rangers are always available to answer questions or to help identify birds, plants and sea life.
These wheels came from a miniature railroad located on the lower end of Long Key. The train, which ran from 1907 to 1935, was used to carry guests from the docks on the bayside through a small tunnel to an exclusive Lower Keys fishing camp on the oceanside.
The flats surrounding Long Key are renowned for their abundance of bonefish, tarpon and permit. Campers from around the world take advantage of the park's proximity to the flats to match their angling skills against these gamefish. Snapper and grouper are also plentiful in nearby deeper waters.
Although the invasive Australian pines that historically shaded the campsites are no longer present, campers still throng to Long Key State Park to enjoy the ocean breezes offering respite from the day's heat. All of Long Key's campsites are oceanfront and offer easy access to the Atlantic's cooling waters.