Florida Keys Travel Tips
The Keys are an archipelago, or an island chain, which contains Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Keys and the iconic Key West. Beginning 15 miles south of Miami, they cultivate an ideal tropical climate that more closely resembles the Caribbean than the rest of Florida. On these stunning islands, you can do everything a getaway under the sun entails: scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, sightseeing, or just simply relaxing and digging your toes into the sand.
Here’s a breakdown of each island and what they have to offer:
Crowned the “Diving Capital of the World” because of unbelievable coral reefs and underwater attractions, Key Largo is a must-see. It is the northernmost and largest island of the Florida Keys, and a prime destination for vacationers who love water sports. Snorkel and scuba-dive at Spiegel Grove, a U.S. Navy ship that was purposely sunk to develop thriving new coral. Dive to the ocean floor to find stunning formations in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, America’s first underwater preserve. If you want a little upper body workout, take a kayak through the Mangrove forests or swim with dolphins, if you can stand your kids raving about it the whole ride home. For the fishermen, be sure to rent a charter boat and set sail to reel in some bonefish. It truly is renowned spot for fly fishing, as it is overflowing with gamefish.
Named after the pretty purple flowers which cover the land (morada means purple in Spanish), the island is a haven for big game reels. It has spectacular sports fishing, so expect a fight with fish like mahi-mahi, sailfish and tuna fish. Daytime fishing is perfect for swordfish. If you want the sweet taste of victory after a long day, you can even bring your fish to the local restaurant to have it cooked to your liking. Bring the kids to the Islamorada Founders Park, which is a 40-acre area complete with an Olympic-sized pool, basketball and tennis courts and exercise centers. Paddle boarding and windsurfing are also two popular activities you won’t want to miss!
For a family-oriented destination, come enjoy white sandy beaches, snorkeling and kid-friendly resorts at Marathon. After traversing the famous Seven Mile Bridge, one of the longest segmental bridges on the planet, you can tee off on its 18-hole golf course and take in unparalleled vistas. At Crane Point, the kids will love the wild bird center where they can get up close and personal with a variety of creatures that rule the sky. Explore other educational centers and meander through a tropical hardwood grove that is one of the Key’s most important archaeological sites. Food buffs will have no trouble finding seafood delicacies, including mouth-watering snapper.
Big Pine and the Lower Keys
Big Pine and the Lower Keys are the quieter and more laid-back islands of the Keys. In between the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, they offer an unbeatable spot for taking a the edge off of a busy work life. Kayak in waters exploding with marine life or go nature watching at the blue hole, which is a freshwater pocket full of alligators, key deer, turtles and birds. The Lower Keys provide a backwater region where you can find quaint restaurants and food that’ll make you never want to leave.
Located closer to Cuba than Miami, Key West is the southernmost city in the continental U.S. It is famous for hosting legendary American author Ernest Hemingway, whose 1930s home still rings a bell as a tourist must-see. The watersports, fishing and golfing are no less captivating. There is a champion golf course located in Key West designed by Ree Jones. At night, explore the sidewalk cafes, bars and world-class restaurants. Key West is known for its inclusive personality, embracing "One Human Family" as the island’s motto. It is rich with Spanish estates, African culture and a hip Gay and Lesbian community. Come enjoy yourself with a slice of Key West’s heaven on earth.
Each island has a refreshingly unique feel to it, and regardless if you’re traveling with family or on a honeymoon, you’ll be able to find the perfect island for you. Fun under the sun, sandy beaches, a score of attractions - what more could you ask for? Visit the Florida Keys today to soak in this magnificent tropical getaway.