Discover the top Florida Keys rental destinations

It's possible to escape the hustle and bustle of the Rat Race without even leaving US shores, you know. And we're not even talking the far-flung Aloha State, either. We're talking the tropical paradises of the Florida Keys, just a whisker south of Miami International Airport. There are all sorts of amazing Florida Keys rental destinations, where white-sand beaches spill into multi-colored coral reefs, sailing yachts bob in the marinas, and rum punches are the reward after long days of scuba diving. Tempted yet?

Key West – the tried-and-tested choice

The buzzing, bustling hub of Keys vacation rentals, Key West is often the first place that sun seekers aim for as they hop off the southern tip of the Sunshine State. And why not? It's got rambunctious Duval Street and its heady mix of rum bars and Cubano cantinas. It's got the traditional streets of Bahama Village, where you'll encounter coconut sellers and stay in Caribbean cottages. And it's laced with history – just check out the beaches around Fort Zachary Taylor.

Family-friendly Duck Key rentals

Duck vacation rentals are a long-time favorite of family vacationers in the Florida Keys. They are surrounded by blue-green waters that lap softly against sand bars that are protected by coral reefs. They have access to excellent water sports outfitters, offering everything from paddle boarding to sea kayaking. And the laid-back isle has a dolphin sanctuary where you can meet, mingle, and learn all about the bottlenose.

Cudjoe Key rentals that are right on the water

Little canals and waterways pierce all through Cudjoe Key, which sits anchored on breezy Cudjoe Bay just east of Sugarloaf Key. The upshot? This is a doozy for sailors and seafarers. Loads of the vacay rentals have their own boat moorings or private marinas, while access to the marine haven of the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge is to the north – go there to see rare sea turtles and dolphin pods.

Big Pine Key vacation rentals – for nature and beaches

Easy-going vibes dominate on this stepping stone down Highway 1. Stop here to find blinding white beaches in the nearby Bahia Honda State Park, where stooping palms bristle against the trade winds, and wading birds are the only other creatures leaving footprints in the sand. Closer to most of the coveted Big Pine Key vacation rentals, you can also visit the Key Deer conservation sanctuary, where one of the rarer inhabitants of these islands makes its home.

Reefs and dive spots galore in Islamorada

The long, finger-like Key of Islamorada is now considered one of the world's greatest diving and sports fishing hubs. It's a place where evening seafood BBQs are all about sharing tales of the brain sponges and parrotfish you've encountered in the reefs. And the days are all about diving said reefs – swimming with dolphins is a real possibility in these parts. The vacay homes also tend to be a little luxurious, with porches meeting the beaches and yacht clubs right next door.

Key Colony Beach vacation rentals for laid-back living

Shh – the locals of Key Colony Beach aren't so hot about people revealing just how lovely their little corner of the archipelago is. It's right in the middle of the chain, with cozy homes that have their own boat jetties and condos with views over the pearly blue waters. You might need to put the wristwatch in slow mo for life down here, though – it's all about community fish fries and lazy fishing days.