Stretching 126 miles south towards Cuba, the stunning Florida Keys is a perfect escape for couples and families. Highlights along the way include Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and the stunning Key West.
There is so much to do, from snorkeling, diving or fishing in the warm turquoise waters. Sample some amazing food and watch breath-taking sunsets. Check out our top 10 things to do while visiting the Florida Keys.
The 120-mile Florida Keys island chain is home to the continental United States only living-coral barrier reef. This backbone of marine life runs the length of the Keys about five miles offshore. Witness beautiful coral-encrusted shipwrecks and natural coral formations. There are shallow reefs for snorkelers, and a range of deeper reefs for experienced divers.
The Florida Keys is a fisherman’s dream, and it means an impressive or at least edible catch is possible virtually any time of year. Florida Bay, edged by the “inner” curve of the Keys and the Florida mainland, is referred to locally as the back country and is home to some of the most sought-after game fish among recreational fishermen. Off the Keys’ “outer” curve and nearby Gulf Stream lies the Atlantic Ocean. In these deep-sea areas are some of the greatest sport fish in the world which is perfect for an expert fisherman.
As fishing is hugely popular in the Keys so that means fresh fish your enjoying for dinner was probably caught that morning. Among the favorites are Key West pink shrimp, a delicacy generally considered sweeter than other shellfish. Whether sautéed, battered or fried, Key West pinks rank among the most popular of the Keys’ “natural resources”. Most restaurants will have fresh fish but DJ’s Clam Shack on Duval Street is renowned for lobster rolls!
The world famous author Ernest Hemingway once lived and wrote some of his most famous work in Florida Keys for more than ten years. Calling Key West his home, he found solace and great challenge in the turquoise waters that surround this tiny island. Step back in time and visit the rooms and gardens that inspired some of the moments of this Nobel Prize winner’s writing career.
Every night dozens of people gather at Key West to watch as the glowing pink and red sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico horizon. Visitors from all over the world come to Mallory Park every evening to see magicians, local musicians, artists, and food vendors come together creating an incredible cultural experience and an unforgettable night.
Dry Tortugas National Park preserves Fort Jefferson and the seven Dry Tortugas islands. It is the most western and most isolated of the Florida Keys. The archipelago’s coral reefs are the least disturbed within the Florida Keys. The park is known for its sea life, tropical bird breeding grounds, colorful coral reefs, and legends of shipwrecks and sunken treasures. The park’s centerpiece is Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress. You can visit the park by ferry or seaplane, there are plenty of activities to try while there such as snorkeling, picnicking, bird watching, camping, scuba diving, saltwater fishing and kayaking.
Perhaps one of the most popular destinations on the island of Key West, Duval Street is the main area of downtown, running north and south from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Although it is not much more than a mile in length – this is where the heartbeat of the city comes to life in a diverse array of restaurants, shops, world famous pubs and attractions. Rent out a bike while there and cruise down Duval and explore the entire stretch from end to end. Start at the Southernmost Point and then ride up the strip all the way to Mallory Square on the north end. You’ll find plenty of places to stop along the way.
This is undoubtedly the nicest beach in the Keys, and arguably in all of Florida. The park actually has two separate beach areas, one large stretch facing the open ocean, and another smaller beach area which looks across to the old railroad bridge. Views are impressive from either side. There is a campground area, as well as picnic sites for you to enjoy.
It is the USA’s first undersea park and a must visit and while in Key Largo. The park has a small swimming area with a shell covered beach, but many people come here to snorkel or dive. There are picnic areas and an information centre with displays on the habitats and marine life. A variety of tours are available including glass bottom boat tours for a close up look at the world beneath the ocean surface.
Key West is home to the United States’ most southern piece of land. A striped marker, one of the most photographed sites in the city, stands at the location on the seafront. A perfect spot to get the ultimate Instagram selfie!
Florida Keys has so much to offer each of the islands offers a unique vibe and experience for those visit. Packages to the Florida Keys start from €899pp based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. For more information on the Florida Keys and all that they offer, call our travel experts on 01-8173562 or visit our Florida Keys destination page.
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