Florida itself might be known for oranges, sunshine, and theme parks, but the Florida Keys is another story.
This unique destination is a string of tropical islands stretching 120 miles around the base of the Florida peninsula. Each district has something new on offer, which means there’s plenty of incredible reasons to take a trip to the Florida Keys.
If you want to learn more, then keep reading. We’re here to clue you in on the best reasons to take a Florida Keys vacation.
Nature lovers will enjoy some distinctly unique wildlife in the Florida Keys.
For example, Big Pine Key is home to the National Key Deer Refuge. These adorable creatures look like regular deer, only much smaller. They only stand at around half a meter high.
Other adorable critters include marsh rabbits and stunning swallowtail butterflies. While reptile enthusiasts can enjoy trying to spot iguanas, mud turtles, ringneck snakes, and mole skinks.
The entirety of the Florida Keys is an incredible place to go fishing, but none more so than Islamorada. This Key is made up of six different islands and happens to be where saltwater fly fishing and backcountry fishing began. It’s no wonder then that Islamorada is the self-proclaimed sport fishing capital of the world.
Hiring a boat is easy and affordable. Once you’re out there you can expect to reel in some big-game fish as the Keys are home to swordfish, sailfish, and barracuda to name only a few.
This makes photo opportunities abundant. But even if you don’t reel in something worthy of the mantelpiece, fish here are so plentiful that successful days are far more common than unsuccessful ones.
3. Fresh Food
Where there is lots of fishing, there is lots of fish to eat. Fish and seafood caught fresh that day has to be one of the most appealing reasons to head to the Keys.
You’ll find a huge variety of fish and seafood restaurants offering up the catch of the day. As such, menus vary depending on what the fishermen have brought in. This said, there are some unmissable local delicacies for seafood lovers.
One of the most notable is stone crab. There are lots of ways to prepare stone crab, but for fresh-caught stone crab sometimes keeping it basic is best. Enjoy it cold with a mustard sauce to dip it in and an ice-cold beer to wash it down.
Conch also comes in fritter, chowder, and even raw form. You’ll also find a plethora of shrimp, lobster, and mahi-mahi to try in all their various glory.
Fish isn’t the only local cuisine on offer. You should also save room for dessert in the form of the best key lime pie you’ll ever eat. Though this cuisine didn’t originate in Florida, the Keys have mastered the contrast of creamy meringue and sharp fruit.
Eating isn’t the only way to enjoy fish in the Florida Keys. You can also go snorkeling or scuba diving.
Key Largo has the best reputation for diving. It’s 33 miles long and visitors come from all over the world to take the plunge into the crystal clear waters surrounding it.
Beneath the surface, you’ll find the third-largest living coral barrier reef. This reef is home to thousands of different species of every shape, size, and color.
If you’re visiting the Florida Keys in the winter season, chances are you’ll also run into West Indian manatees. These gentle giants are curious about humans and very friendly, earning them their nickname as the sea cow.
Even if diving or fishing aren’t your thing, there are lots of other watersports you can pick from. Kayaking is a popular option for exploring the wild mangroves of Boot Key. These mangroves are home to the American Saltwater Crocodile, so it’s not recommended you swim in these areas.
Alternatively, you can take to the wider ocean with a spot of relaxing paddle boarding. For adrenaline junkies, there’s also water skiing, cable surfing, and parasailing on offer.
For Americans, the Keys offer all of the appeal of a tropical getaway with none of the hassle.
Providing you’re an American citizen, you don’t need a passport. So for those who can’t afford a passport or can’t be bothered with the paperwork, the Keys is a great option for a paradise getaway.
When you arrive there, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of not having to convert any money. The Keys use US dollars so you can avoid being ripped off by conversion rates.
6. The Views
It cannot be stated enough how beautiful the Florida Keys are. Offering a diverse range of scenery from uninhabited islands to sandy beaches to bustling bars, you’ll never get bored of exploring the Keys.
In fact, most people don’t plan how long they’ll actually want to explore each unique island. They end up rushing down the Overseas Highway, missing out on so many of the stunning sights on offer.
This is why it’s so important to give yourself enough time to enjoy the Overseas Highway at a leisurely pace. Unlike other highways, you’re going to want to be awake for every second of your road trip along this one. Each bridge has its own scenery to take in.
In fact, it’s well worth taking a walk up the old bridges if you get the chance too. While some of these have been closed off for public access, many of them have become peaceful walking spots for locals and tourists alike. They offer some great spots to take in the breath-taking sunrises and sunsets of the keys.
If you don’t have time or you’re scared to miss out, you can also opt to get a bird’s eye view instead with a helicopter tour of the Keys with https://www.ultimate-helitours.com/.
We’re amazed we made it this far without mentioning the beaches. Enjoy rum cocktails and ice cream in the shade of a palm tree on the many white sandy beaches on offer in the Florida Keys.
From tucked-away secret beaches to exclusive luxury resort beaches, you’ll find a beach to fit whatever vibe you’re looking for.
Plan Your Trip to the Florida Keys
There are so many reasons to take a trip to the Florida Keys. Unless you’re looking for snow, it can match any holiday goer’s dream vacation needs. Plan ahead to make sure you don’t miss out on the many amazing experiences on offer.
We have lots more helpful travel advice for the Florida Keys and more on our blog, so be sure to check out the rest of our website.