Florida Keys Travel Guide and Vacation Rental Accommodations
The Florida Keys is a region that includes a chain of islands off the southern coast of Florida. The region is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life. Visitors to the Florida Keys can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities such as snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, and diving.
The Florida Keys region is a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts, beach lovers, and anyone looking for tropical paradise. With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life, and numerous attractions, there's something for everyone in this beautiful region.
Whether you're interested in exploring coral reefs, kayaking through mangrove tunnels, or just relaxing on a stunning beach with a drink in hand – the Florida Keys has it all!
The Florida Keys are divided into five main areas: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key & the Lower Keys, and Key West. Each area has its own unique charm and attractions.
Key Largo is the northernmost island in the Florida Keys and is located just south of Miami. It is often referred to as the "Diving Capital of the World" due to its numerous shipwrecks and coral reefs that attract divers from all over the world.
One popular attraction in Key Largo is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The park offers visitors an opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world through snorkeling or scuba diving. There are also glass-bottom boat tours for those who prefer to stay dry.
Another must-visit attraction in Key Largo is the African Queen Canal Cruise. This 90-minute cruise takes visitors on a journey through the canals where parts of the movie "The African Queen" were filmed. The boat used in the movie is also on display at the marina.
Islamorada is located between Key Largo and Marathon and consists of six small islands. The area is known for its excellent sportfishing opportunities with abundant species like tarpon, bonefish, sailfish and more.
One popular attraction in Islamorada is Theater of the Sea. Visitors can watch sea lion shows or swim with dolphins or sharks here. Another popular activity in Islamorada is exploring Indian Key State Historic Site – an uninhabited island that was once home to a thriving community during the 1800s.
Marathon is located in the middle of the Florida Keys and is known for its natural beauty, including Sombrero Beach and Curry Hammock State Park. Marathon also has a large number of restaurants, bars, and shops. Visitors can enjoy a pleasant evening out trying some of the local seafood or listening to live music while watching the sunset.
One of the most popular attractions in Marathon is The Turtle Hospital. Visitors can take a guided tour of the hospital and learn about the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles. Another must-visit attraction is Crane Point Hammock Museum & Nature Trail – an eco-tourism site with hiking trails through mangroves and tropical hardwood forest.
Big Pine Key & The Lower Keys
The Lower Keys are located south of Marathon and include Big Pine Key, Cudjoe Key, Sugarloaf Key, Summerland Key, and Little Torch Key. This area is known for its unspoiled natural beauty with wildlife reserves such as National Key Deer Refuge and Bahia Honda State Park.
One popular activity in this area is kayaking through the mangrove tunnels at Big Pine Kayak Adventures. The clear waters provide visitors with an opportunity to see numerous species like manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, and more.
Visitors should also check out No Name Pub – a historic bar that has been serving locals since 1931. It's built on stilts over water in Big Pine where visitors can enjoy delicious pizzas while observing wildlife around them.
Key West is the southernmost island in the Florida Keys chain and is home to many famous landmarks like Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, Southernmost Point Marker & Mallory Square Sunset Celebration among others.
Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum was once home to one of America's greatest writers who lived here from 1931 until his death in 1961. Visitors can take guided tours of the house, gardens and learn about Hemingway's time in Key West.
Southernmost Point Marker is a concrete buoy that marks the southernmost point of the continental United States. Visitors often take pictures here with this famous landmark in the background.
Mallory Square Sunset Celebration is a nightly event at Mallory Square. Visitors can enjoy live music, street performers, and food vendors while watching a beautiful sunset over the water.
Another popular activity in Key West is visiting the Dry Tortugas National Park. This remote island park can only be reached by ferry or seaplane from Key West but offers visitors an opportunity to explore one of America's most unique national parks. The park includes historic Fort Jefferson which was used during the Civil War as a military prison.
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10 Things To Do in The Florida Keys
The Florida Keys region offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors. Here are some top things to do in the area:
1. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
The Florida Keys is home to the only living coral reef in the continental United States, making it one of the best places in the world for snorkeling and diving. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located in Key Largo, is a popular spot for exploring the reef.
With its abundant marine life, the Florida Keys is known as one of the top fishing destinations in the world. Visitors can enjoy deep-sea fishing, flats fishing, and more.
The Florida Keys has many beautiful beaches to choose from. Some popular options include Sombrero Beach in Marathon and Higgs Beach in Key West.
4. Wildlife Viewing
The region is home to a diverse range of wildlife species including sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, and birds like ospreys and pelicans.
5. Kayaking and Paddleboarding
Visitors can explore the mangrove forests and shallow waters by kayaking or paddleboarding. Big Pine Kayak Adventures offers guided tours through mangrove tunnels.
6. Historic Sites
The Florida Keys has a rich history that visitors can explore at sites like Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum or Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.
7. Sunset Celebration
Each night at Mallory Square in Key West, there's a sunset celebration featuring live music, street performers, and food vendors.
8. Eco Tours
Visitors can take eco-tours to learn about local ecosystems such as National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key or Dry Tortugas National Park.
9. Water Sports
In addition to snorkeling and diving, visitors can enjoy water sports like parasailing, jet skiing or windsurfing.
Key West is famous for its vibrant nightlife with a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from.
These are just a few of the many activities and attractions that the Florida Keys region has to offer. Whether you're looking for adventure or relaxation, there's something for everyone in this beautiful area.
When To Visit
The best time to visit the Florida Keys is from December to May. The weather during this time is warm and dry with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit. This is also the peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices.
If you're looking for a more affordable trip with fewer tourists, consider visiting during the summer months (June to August) or fall (September to November). However, be aware that hurricane season runs from June to November and can affect travel plans.
Overall, the Florida Keys can be enjoyed year-round, but it's important to plan accordingly based on your preferences and budget.
10 Places To Eat
The Florida Keys region offers a variety of dining options, from seafood shacks to fine dining restaurants. Here are some top places to eat in the area:
1. Blue Heaven (Key West)
This restaurant is known for its Caribbean-inspired cuisine and relaxed atmosphere. The outdoor seating area is surrounded by lush gardens and roosters roam free.
2. Fish House (Key Largo)
This waterfront restaurant serves fresh seafood with a view overlooking the marina.
3. Lazy Days Restaurant (Islamorada)
Located on the beach, this restaurant serves fresh seafood and has a laid-back vibe.
4. Square Grouper Bar & Grill (Cudjoe Key)
This casual waterfront spot serves up fresh seafood and live music in the evenings.
5. Morada Bay Beach Cafe (Islamorada)
This beachfront cafe offers Caribbean-inspired cuisine with ocean views and live music on weekends.
6. El Siboney Restaurant (Key West)
This Cuban restaurant has been serving authentic dishes for over 30 years and is popular with locals.
7. Mrs. Mac's Kitchen (Key Largo)
This family-owned restaurant has been serving homestyle cooking since 1976 and is known for its award-winning key lime pie.
8. Louie's Backyard (Key West)
This upscale restaurant offers stunning ocean views and an eclectic menu featuring dishes like lobster tail tempura and grilled lamb chops.
9. Hogfish Bar & Grill (Stock Island)
Located on the water, this casual spot is famous for its hogfish sandwich, a local specialty.
10. Islamorada Fish Company (Islamorada)
This waterfront restaurant specializes in seafood dishes like crab cakes, lobster bisque, and fish tacos while diners enjoy views of the marina.
These are just a few of the many great dining options available in the Florida Keys region - there's something for every taste bud!
Map of the Florida Keys
Additional Floirda Keys Articles
Marathon Florida Keys Travel Guide
by Find Rentals
Key Largo Florida Travel Guide
by Jamel Richardson
Key West Florida Travel Guide
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