Get out on the water
There’s no point in heading down to The Keys if you’re not going to head out on the water. Fortunately, there a lot of choices available. Multiple companies run excursions, but the easiest one to book with is Fury Water Adventures. They offer trips including sunset cruises, dolphin watch tours, snorkeling, glass bottom boat rides, and so much more. If you have six hours to spare, you may want to take part in their ultimate adventure trip which is a mini sampler of five different activities.
Watch the sunset at Mallory Square
Every night at sunset, the entire city of Key West (okay it’s mainly tourists) gathers at Mallory Square to watch the sunset. Since the square has unobstructed views, you won’t have any problems getting the perfect view (or picture). This a major gathering spot, so you’ll find buskers to keep you entertained, snacks available nearby, and merchants selling locally produced goods. If you want to splurge, take a sunset sail on the water.
Learn about the history
Although the Florida Keys is known as a prime vacation destination, it actually has a lot of history. Famous American writer and novelist, Ernest Hemingway, lived in Key West from 1931 to 1939. His home is now a museum, so you can check out where he wrote some of his best work. Another historic site to look out for is Harry S. Truman’s Little White House, which served as the former President’s winter home. These days, the house is a living history museum where you can learn about the famous people the walked down its halls.
Visit the Turtle Hospital
Over in Marathon, The Turtle Hospital has a mission to rescue, rehab, and release sea turtles. If you visit the hospital, not only will you be helping out this great cause, but you’ll also learn about what affects turtles and how they’re taken care of. You won’t be able to touch any of the turtles, but you will be close enough to get some awesome photos. The work this hospital does is amazing as most of these turtles wouldn’t be able to survive on their own.
Eat as much seafood as you can
Before I arrived in the Keys, many people told me how amazing the seafood is. The shrimp I had at the Conch Republic Seafood Company was naturally sweet and unlike anything else that I have ever had in my life. At Blue Heaven, the Bacon, Lobster, Tomato (BLT) eggs benedict tasted as amazing as you’re imagining it right now. But my favourite dish during my trip was the lobster pizza at Marker 88. The pizza is considered an appetizer, but it could easily be an entire meal.
Take an ecotour
Getting away from the crowds can be tough at times, which is why I quite enjoyed my kayak tour through Big Pine Kayak Adventures. Located over in Big Pine Key, visitors can rent kayaks or take a tour with owner Bill Keogh who wrote a Florida Keys paddling guide. During our trip, we saw how crab traps work and even kayaked into a mangrove. If you’re lucky like us, Captain Bill’s dog Scupper will come out and join you on your adventure.
Find the best Key Lime Pie
You can’t head down to Florida without having some Key Lime Pie. The good thing is that you can find this dessert on every menu. But, finding the perfect slice is easier said than done. Some say Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe is the best in there is, but it really comes down to personal preference. Key Lime pie comes in two versions (with whipped cream or meringue), and you need to consider texture as well as tartness. Honestly, eating as much key lime pie as you can is one of the best things to do in the Florida Keys.
Ride the Old Town Trolley
I’m normally not a fan of hop on, hop off buses, but in Key West, it’s the perfect thing to do. The Old Town Trolley Tour takes 90 minutes to complete and takes you by all the major attractions of Key West. During your ride, the driver will give you a history lesson of the Florida Keys and explain why it’s known as the Conch Republic. While you pass by the attractions, you’ll learn quirky facts. If something peaks your interest, just hop off and explore.
Relax at a resort
There are plenty of spots for some much needed R&R in the Keys, and I had a chance to experience two great properties. The Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina is located beside Mallory Square and the Marina. What impressed me most about the resort was the pool since it’s located in the courtyard, which gives it a private and exclusive feel. Over in Islamorada, the suites at the Amara Cay Resort are incredible. You can get ones with two double beds and a fold out sofa so it comfortably accommodates six. The pool here is heated and open 24-hours while the private man made beach is like a little paradise. There are hotels all over the Florida keys so be sure to check a few out.
Head for the beach
The beaches in the Florida Keys aren’t as sexy as ones you may find in the Caribbean, but there are still a few spots where you can chill out and enjoy the sand. In Key West, Smathers Beach and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park are easily the most popular spot, but some people prefer to head to Bahia Honda. Not only does Bahia Honda State Park have one of the best beaches, it also has the best view of the historic bridge and places to snorkel.
Are you ready to head to the Florida Keys to experience all this fun? There are no direct flights available from Canada, but our search engine will find you the best and cheapest routes from your home city. Try it now to see how much your flight to Key West will cost.