Big Pine Key is a bit of a natural refuge from some of the more tourist oriented and highly populated parts of the lower keys. One of my favorite things to do on Big Pine is to explore the back roads on my trusty scooter.
The back roads of Big Pine stretch out most extensively on the north side of the overseas hwy. Unique to Big Pine are abundant fresh water marshes and pools. You can visit the most accessible fresh water pool at the Blue Hole which is around two miles north of U.S. 1 on Key Deer Boulevard. Just past the Blue Hole you can park and check out nature trails in that area. There are wonderful back road trails for rides – on a bicycle or a scooter – throughout the island on both sides of the highway as well. You can travel the entire island from east to west on the back roads on the north side, and there are a great many to choose from. On my meanderings I have had the good fortune to see every type of animal that lives here, and some that have really surprised me. I’ve seen Key Deer, turtles, rabbits, raccoons, alligators, owls, pelicans, ibis, egrets, herons, hawks, iguanas, porpoises, sharks, dogs, cats, rats, horses, manatees, Madagascar day lizards, Bahamian curly toe lizards and a pig! That’s without mentioning the lovely different types of both indigenous and introduced trees and foliage throughout the island.
Having traveled this great country extensively and often, I often marvel at how I can conjure up other regions of the US on this island while traveling the back roads. I’ve been reminded of Louisiana, New England, the Midwest, California, and Hawaii and have even seen houses in the woods that bring Alaska to mind. There are various residential subdivisions scattered throughout Big Pine – however much of the land is actually preserved as part of the 84,000 acre refuge that is the Key Deer refuge. Many of the people who live here as well as visitors are not aware of the actual size of Big Pine. Our island is 8 miles long and 2 miles wide, with around 6,000 acres, and second only in size in the chain of Keys to Key Largo. In this refuge are freshwater wetlands, pine rock land forests, imperiled tropical hardwood hammocks with mangroves dotting the periphery, as well as offshore islands. Within this precious habitat is home to up to 22 endangered or threatened species. Most people are aware of the petite Key Deer, one of the county’s must unusual creatures, and there are many more, including the unique Lower Keys marsh rabbit and many migratory birds for which this is their nesting grounds. You can find small salt ponds on both sides of the island which often hold wading birds, including roseate spoonbills and a variety of herons and egrets.
I also feel like I can time travel on these back road journeys. I can smell the gardenia bush in my Grandmother’s Miami back yard, I can see my dad’s artwork in the pines, I can smell my mother’s sea grape jam, I can see the fireflies in my aunt and uncles old wooded acreage in Georgia, I can travel the hills and vineyards near my friends’ property in California, I can see my cousin’s horse ranch in Nevada, I can see Stiltsville on the horizon and I can explore the islands of the Bahamas. But it’s all right here, in Big Pine Key…
There is always more information to gather about the Big Pine area and subdivisions to help familiarize you with the area. Along with the KeyIsle real estate options you can make wise, informed decisions on all of your real estate needs. Contact your KeyIsle professional for all of your Keys interests, questions, and ideas!