The Florida Keys is where people have come to escape since time immemorial – amidst the hundreds of mangrove and sandbar islands lie unique pleasures and an eccentric cast of local misfits that help set the Keys apart from both the mainland and the mainstream. Stretching out south from Florida this is where America ends - but it does so with a sense of fun, adventure and mischief. The keys are all bang and no whimper! Here life really is a beach, but the party doesn’t stop at the surface – it’s just as thrilling scuba diving under the waters as it is gazing at the sun lazily setting on them.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in the Florida Keys
Key West – The southernmost city in the continental United States offers scuba diving, Hemmingway’s house and Hemmingway’s drinking haunts. There is also fascinating shipwrecks, fabulous fishing and a Conch train to take in all the sights from.
Key Largo – Humphrey Bogart fans and scuba divers should make a beeline for Key Largo. The location of a classic noir movie comes vividly into colour on its reefs which can be enjoyed on snorkelling trips, glass bottom boat tours or from the air by parasail.
Big Pine Key – The home of the protected, diminutive ‘Key Deer’ whose white tails can be observed bobbing away all over the island. Enjoy hikes around the Blue Hole or kick back in a kayak or fishing boat.
Biscayne National Park - The largest marine park in the National Park system preserves and protects mangrove shorelines, undeveloped islands, shallow bays and living coral reefs. This is where the great outdoors can be enjoyed with the emphasis on wet and wild exploration.
Things to See in the Florida Keys
The delightful sunsets can be enjoyed from a sail boat with a champagne flute in hand or on a rum-soaked Caribbean cruise. Dolphins and turtles are there for the spotting in the wild or you can simply visit Key West’s Aquarium to learn all about the marine life. A relaxing day tour of Key West can be made on the Conch train or you can spook yourself at night on ghost walks. The haunts of Hemmingway offer another fun way to soak up the Key’s unique atmosphere and other more authentic artistic delights can be enjoyed in Islamorada’s artist colony at Rain Barrel which is filled with large, unusual statues.
Things to Do in the Florida Keys
If you did nothing more active than enjoy the beaches you certainly wouldn’t regret your trip to the Keys. For those who want something more, the Keys can certainly oblige but a love of water is usually required. Fishing charters abound, scuba diving opportunities are hard to beat, sailing, kayaking and snorkelling are all readily available. Back on dry land, how better to soak up the flavour of the Keys than in the fine seafood restaurants with a bowl of conch chowder and a slice of Key Lime Pie?