Top Things to Do When Visiting the Florida Keys by Lonely Planet
The American Caribbean is a top travel destination. There’s so much to do, and your travel itinerary can be as individual and diverse as your imagination. Before you go, we have selected our top recommendations from Lonely Planet’s “The Florida Keys Travelist” for the top things to do during your vacation.
1. Visit Dry Tortugas.
You can only reach Dry Tortugas National Park via seaplane or ferry, but it’s well worth the effort. Consisting of seven small islands, Dry Tortugas is located about 70 miles offshore Key West and is home to the historic Fort Jefferson. After checking out the fort, you can go snorkeling along the many miles of coral reef, enjoy fresh barbecue on the beach and camp under the stars.
2. Speaking of Tortugas…
“Tortugas” translates to “turtles,” and Florida is teeming with turtles and other sea life, including colorful fish, dolphins, and stingrays. Go snorkeling along the living coral reef off the shores of Key West to try to spot them or take a sunset cruise and watch the sea turtles heading out for the evening.
3. Think pink.
Few things say Florida like the timeless pink flamingo. This fun, flirty, fabulous fowl might not be seen in the wild as often as turtles and dolphins, but you can find depictions of them everywhere from license plates to gift shops. Grab a few flamingo souvenirs before you head home!
4. Take a walk on the wild side.
The Florida Keys are well-known for the sea and sand, but once upon a time, industrialist Henry Flagler had big dreams of building a railway line between Miami and Key West. Unfortunately, a hurricane left his plans in chaos, but some of the rail lines remain, stretching along a picturesque stretch of sandy beach and the Bahia Honda Bridge.
5. Dive into something a little bit sweet and a little bit tart.
Very little says “Florida Keys” like a thick slice of its lime pie. Head out to Key Lime Pie Co. to try a slice made with freshly squeezed key lime juice and a sweet, crunchy graham cracker crust or check out a frozen key lime bar dipped in chocolate. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can even try your hand at making your own in a pie-making class.
6. Get rocked to sleep in a houseboat rental in the Florida Keys.
Hotels, timeshares, and RVs are so yesterday. For the best possible Florida experience, check out a houseboat rental in the Florida Keys. Located in the peaceful waters off Key Largo, Mangrove Marina hosts a luxurious selection of houseboats tastefully decorated and beautifully appointed. Each features a private patio, making it easy for you to watch for manatees and other sea life or fish from your own space. The boats are also just a few steps from an on-site restaurant and heated freshwater pool, bathhouse, laundry facilities and more.
7. Try something new.
Key lime pie isn’t the only taste sensation for your buds. The Keys offer plenty of wonderful flavors and textures sure to please even the most discriminating palates. Visit the Hungry Tarpon in Islamorada for deep-fried seafood fritters or check out the Thirsty Mermaid in Key West for some fresh stone crab claws.
When it comes to the top things to do in the Florida Keys, the sun, surf, and sky are the limits. It’s time to write your adventure for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.