If you plan to use the Little Crawl Key anchorage and visit Curry Hammock State Park, there are a few things you need to know. When landing in the dinghy, please don't tie off to the mangroves. It damages the plants which are protected. If the dinghy has no motor and can be pulled up on the small access beach off the anchorage basin, it's not a problem. If the dinghy has the motor on, the Park requires that you drop an anchor to keep it just off the beach and wade to shore. There are fees to use the facilities that amount to $2.50 per person per day (payable at the park entrance a short walk from where you land your dinghy). The Park entry fee is free for life for disabled veterans. This gives you access to the beach, restrooms, picnic pavilions with charcoal BBQs and several faucets where water jugs can be filled. You can also walk around the park and rent a kayak if you're so inclined. But there's more.
The park also offers shower facilities but they are expensive at $8.50 per day. The rangers told us they may be rethinking that charge. The restrooms and showers are very clean, and some of the restrooms recycle the waste with composting units. The campsites are great if you have friends or relatives coming down in an RV or travel trailer. The well manicured campsites are $43.00 per day, cheap by Keys standards. They are also 1/2 price for Florida seniors. The campsites fill quickly in season so reservations are a must.
Pets are welcome in the park on a leash but are not allowed on the beach, even if carried. This is a Monroe County health regulation and is also to protect local wildlife. Keep in mind that the entire Keys are a protected Marine Sanctuary, both on land and sea. The part about carrying pets on the beach might open a question about bringing them ashore in the dinghy. There is another beach farther away that can be reached by dinghy that pets can roam. This is Coco Plum Beach and is a fairly long dinghy ride to the west. Taxi service can be arranged to pick you up at the Park entrance, bring you into Marathon, then return. We found the Park to be very enjoyable and the Park Service employees to be very friendly and helpful. It has made this anchorage move to our favorites list.
Susan and I are both long time sailors with tens of thousands of miles under our keels spanning the US east and west coast, Bahamas, Caribbean, Central Atlantic, and US Gulf Coast. We have been freelance writers for major boating publications, including Bluewater Sailing, Soundings Magazine, Sail Magazine, Southern Boating, Lats and Atts, MarinaLife Magazine, Nor' Easter, Good Old Boat, Living Aboard Magazine and a host of internet sites. We have spent over 17 years living aboard and cruising our Mariner 40 ketch, Sea Trek. In the not to distant past, we sold her and after much soul searching decided a change in lifestyle and scenery was in order so the search was on for a new boat. We knew a trawler was in our future and after doing a lot of research and looking at a lot of boats we found a very well cared for 1980 Marine Trader 34. We have named her Beach House for Susan's love of the beach and the hopes that the view from our new house will always be pleasant. Our plans are to continue our lifestyle and to change our cruising grounds a bit and visit those inland lakes and rivers we never could with our sailboat.