ExecutiveChronicles.com | 7 Fun Things to Do in the Florida Keys | In 2019, approximately 131,400,000 tourists visited the state of Florida. One of the most popular destinations in the Sunshine State is the Florida Keys, the southernmost point of the state and the continental United States.
This chain of coral islands extends for dozens of miles, separating the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. If you need a tropical island getaway, the Florida Keys are the perfect destination.
In this post, we will take a look at some things to do in the Florida Keys so that you can make the most of your next vacation!
Stroll Down Duval Street
Duval Street, in Key West, starts at Mallory Square, which is known for its daily sunset celebration. Performers, vendors, and crowds of tourists gather to admire the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, enjoy unique shows, and purchase street food and souvenirs.
Continuing along Duval street, you’ll find shops, galleries, restaurants, cafes, and attractions such as:
- The Ernest Hemmingway Home and Museum
- Southernmost House
- Strand Theater
- Southernmost Point Marker
If you are short on time, you can explore Duval Street on a trolley tour, which will take you to all the most popular Florida Keys attractions.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
At this glass-enclosed conservatory, you can observe dozens of species of butterflies as they flutter around their habitat. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the Learning Center, where you can learn about the butterfly life cycle, different varieties of butterflies, and the stages of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis.
In addition to butterflies, the conservatory is also home to many species of exotic birds, which you can see up close.
Visit a State or National Park
There are ten state parks in the Florida Keys, along with four national parks in the area. Here are some of the best in the area.
Dry Tortugas National Park
This national park is only accessible by boat or seaplane, but worth the extra effort it takes to get there. It comprises seven islands, each a wonderful destination for snorkelers and divers, who awe at the shipwrecks, coral, seagrass, and underwater life they explore here.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
At the time of its founding in 1963, this state park became the first undersea park in the United States. It is home to shipwrecks and abounds with sea life, making it another great destination for diving and snorkeling. There is even a glass-bottom boat tour so you can experience the beauty of the park without getting your feet wet.
Bahia Honda State Park
If you’re searching for the most beautiful beach in Florida, a visit to Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key is a must! There are two different beaches in the park, one offering views of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge and the other facing the open water.
In addition to great views, the park offers amenities such as:
- Snorkeling boat tours
- Kayak rentals
- Picnic sites
- Gift shop
- Free Wi-Fi
- Concession stands
While you’re here, be sure to comb the beach for shells and snorkel, as Bahia Honda is one of the best places for these activities.
Learn About Marine Life
No visit to the Florida Keys is complete without a trip to marine life research centers. Here are two of the most popular facilities.
Dolphin Research Center
This facility lets visitors learn about Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, as well as sea lions. You can swim, paint, or play with the rescued dolphins, activities that the whole family will enjoy!
The Turtle Hospital is an important non-profit rescue facility that has rescued and released hundreds of sea turtles since 1986. Visiting the hospital, you can tour the facilities, learn about the rehabilitation process, and feed some turtles.
Take a Fishing Charter
Fishing in the Florida Keys is an exhilarating experience, and you can enhance it by taking a charter. The crew on the boat do their best to make the experience memorable by helping you catch the biggest fish out there. Charters usually last for a few hours and include bait, tackle, permits, snacks, and water.
Take a Helicopter Tour
The Florida Keys are a beautiful place to vacation, and seeing it from above is all the more impressive. Not only will you see the beautiful landscape, but you’ll have the chance of spotting wildlife such as sea turtles, stingrays, sharks, and dolphins.
Some companies, such as Ultimate Helitours, offer customized tours that fit your time constraints and budget.
Taste the Cuisine of the Florida Keys
Cultural influences from nearby islands and the fresh ingredients in the region have shaped the local cuisine. So, you’ll be doing plenty of eating on your trip to the Florida Keys. Here are some of the best dishes to try:
- Stone crab
- Conch fritters
- Puerco Asado
- Red grouper
- Mangrove honey
- Key lime pie
- Pink shrimp
In addition to these foods, you should be sure to savor some of the fresh tropical fruits, such as mango and papaya.
Visit the Florida Keys
After reading this post, you know doubt have an idea of what you will see, do, and taste on your trip to the Florida Keys! As the Keys are a popular destination, it is important to book your lodging and attractions in advance, especially if you want to get the best deals!
Did you enjoy the ideas in this post for your Florida Keys vacation? If so, be sure to check out more of our travel-related posts.