When you hear of the Florida Keys, you might not realize that it comprises 126 miles and 1,700 small islands from Key Largo to Key West. Where you go largely depends on what kind of experience you want in the Florida Keys. Here are just a few places you can go and why you should consider them.
Image via Flickr by gabepopa
Key West is the island furthest out from Florida’s mainland. If you’re hoping to get away from it all, this is just the place. It’s also a fantastic option for those looking for a luxury vacation, as it has everything from private beaches only accessible by seaplane to one-bedroom villas and snorkeling along the only living coral reef in the mainland United States.
Just like the rest of the Keys, it’s a tropical area, so you’ll find that the temperature stays between 70 and 90 degrees. This makes it ideal for relaxing on the beach. While you’re here, visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and Southernmost Point, which is the southernmost point of the United States.
If you want to be out in nature, Bahia Honda is the perfect spot because of the state park you’ll find here. The park has one of the best beaches in the Keys, but don’t just head straight out from the parking lot to the most obvious beach location. Instead, take the time to walk about 15 minutes to the left of the parking lot where you’ll find pristine waters and palm trees and fewer souls to share the beach with.
Totaling 500 acres, there’s plenty here to enjoy. You can fish from the shore, enjoy birdwatching, and head to the Sand and Sea Nature Center, where you can learn more about local flora and fauna. You could also take a snorkeling tour from the Looe Key National Sanctuary.
Known as the fishing capital of the world, Islamorada is a great location to go fishing and on dolphin excursions. Many places in the area offer the chance to swim and interact in the water with dolphins, including being pulled to shore while hanging onto one’s dorsal fin. It’s a wonderful city for families to get away, with live bands, amazing seafood, and plenty of things to do in the water. Book your Islamorada hotel through HotelPlanner early to get the best deals.
Big Pine Key
Found in the Lower Keys, this area is known for being a bit quieter and full of family-owned resorts, quaint bed-and-breakfasts, and eclectic restaurants. It’s the perfect location for going on dive excursions, such as the wreck of Adolphus Busch, Sr. You’ll also find Key deer here, which is a species of white-tailed deer that only lives in the Florida Keys. These are the smallest North American deer, and they can swim between the islands. Head to the National Key Deer Refuge to learn more about them and why they’re endangered.
The Florida Keys are an amazing escape for anyone no matter what type of beach vacation you’re looking for. Between the sun, warm temperatures, and various activities, you’re in for a vacation that you won’t forget.