Walk along white-sand beaches among abundant bird and sea life.


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Bush Key is the small island adjacent to Garden Key, though they are sometimes joined by a sandbar.

As critical bird habitat, Bush Key is only open to the public from October 15 to January 15.

The rest of the year, it’s closed for nesting.

Two kinds of seabirds not normally found in the US, the sooty tern and the brown noddy, make this island one of their northernmost nesting sites.

When the key is open to hiking, you’ll find an assortment of other birds that pause here during their migrations.

You may also spot marine life like sea turtles or nurse sharks swimming in the shallows nearby. The nature of the key is ever-changing with the years.

The island is essentially just a vegetated sandbar, so it undergoes cycles of building and erosion.

Depending on its current condition and on the tides, you may have to wade through shallow water to get to the key or to complete your walk around it.

Be mindful of depth and currents.

You can usually walk to Bush Key from Garden Key, or you can paddle there and land anywhere on the beach.

It’s important to remain on the trail or on the beaches so as not to trample any of the island’s fragile vegetation.

Be sure to look attentively up, down, and around to see all the wildlife you can. Source: https://www.nps.gov/drto/planyourvisit/bush-key.htm