Cudjoe Key is one of the Florida Keys, an island chain stretching in an arc from the tip of Florida. Located in the part of the chain known as the "Lower Keys," the island is situated in Monroe County and boasts a community of the same name. Fewer than 2,000 people live in the town, which makes it a popular getaway spot, with Cudjoe Key vacation homes offering access to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and lovely white sand beaches.
The origin of the island's name is not known for certain, but the writer John Viele, who lives on Summerland Key has speculated that since Cudjoe is a common name in West Africa, the island's name probably drives from the name of a fugitive slave or freedman who once lived there.
The Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge
Cudjoe Key is one of several islands in the Florida Keys to offer boat access to the Great Heron National Wildlife Refuge. Part of the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge system, this area stretches from north of the Island of Marathon all the way to Key West and occupies over 130,000 acres, with only approximately 6,000 acres of its area comprised of land.
The refuge was first established in the 1930s to provide nesting grounds for great white herons and other migratory birds. Today, it is administered as part of the larger National Key Deer Refuge. Native habitats in the refuge include mangrove forests as well as tropical hardwood hammock and pine rockland ecosystems.