Chances are when you hear about The Keys the first thing you think about is probably the shimmering coastal beaches, but there is so much more to the Sunshine State. Our stunning nature views often hide abandoned places to explore in Florida, and this State Park has a couple of notable spots worth wandering.
As you head south to Key Largo, Dagny Johnson Hammock Botanical State Park sits along the east coast — boasting stunning jungle-like views and coastal sightlines; but if you venture to the right spots, you can find some cool abandoned buildings to explore.
In order to explore some of these locations, you'll have to acquire a back trails permit from the ranger station at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park — the first underwater state park that has an eerily beautiful "Jesus of the Abyss" statue sunken into the ocean's depths. You may want to book an affordable Airbnb nearby to explore it all too, like this unique solar-powered boathouse cabin nearby that is glamp-worthy.
Once you have that permit, that's when the real fun begins.
The permit grants access to an additional 6 miles of nature trails. Not too far off of the main pathways, a few awesome places hide waiting for you to explore them; most will easily find the abandoned barn with a tree growing through the center. It's been tagged as "fort 420", according to some visitors.
It's kind of beautiful to see nature reclaiming the land where development once stood. A couple of the more striking locations to visit are the 2 abandoned Nike Missile Testing Sites; inside the large & somewhat creepy cement block buildings, you'll often find destruction, debris, graffiti, and remnants of civilization that were left behind.
One of the coolest spots to stop is the overlook — it gives you stunning panoramic views of the park with graffiti tags that add to its abandoned charm.
The park was originally slated to become a condominium complex; the plans were later abandoned due to Dagny Johnson being home to one of the largest tracts of West Indian tropical hardwood hammocks in the U.S. according to their website.
Be sure to mind your urban exploration manners by not taking any souvenirs, abiding by any no-trespassing signs, and leaving nothing but footprints.
Aside from your abandoned Florida explorations, you'll also want to take some time to soak up the beautiful views of canopied trails and river runs at this state park.
An overview of Dagny Johnson & a park map can be found below. If you're looking for more abandoned places to explore, check out you can explore this creepy abandoned fort at night, or this hidden graffiti-covered bridge in north Florida — a trippy road tripper's dream that they call "The Bridge to Nowhere".
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
Price: $2.50 per person, just make payment in the honor box.
Address: County Road 905, Mile Marker 106 Key Largo FL 33037.
The abandoned Nike Missile Site's homebase coordinates can be found here, while the abandoned HM-40 launch site can be found here.
Hours: Sunrise to sunset, 365 days a year.
Why You Need To Go: Wander through the jungles of Key Largo and hunt for abandoned buildings that are a part of forgotten Florida's past. From wooden structures to abandoned missile sites, there's so much to explore, bonus stunning nature views.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.