, a native Son of the Keys, has a multi-cd collection of his songs entitled Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads, and that pretty mush sum up the Florida Keys. It would seem the Beach Boys
are fans of the Keys, too in their song 'Kokomo' this was a fictional place "off the Florida Keys... where you want to go to get away from it all..."
So, you may wonder, what makes this place so special? Floridians are blessed to have our own little taste of the tropics attached at the end of our great state. When you think of the Caribbean you think of fruity frozen drinks, swaying palm trees, warm breezes, crystal clear blue water and inviting sunny beaches, that's exactly what the Florida Keys are like and you don't even need a passport.
For all you outdoor enthusiasts they have nature trails to bird watch, water trails to take a canoe or kayak down and camping areas on the several Florida State Parks, some sites are directly on the water. If you enjoy the water the Keys are definitely the place for you, driving down through the Keys you can drop a line in the water almost anywhere, go snorkeling or diving at practically any park or beach you come to or stop for a family picnic. If you enjoy the party scene head on down to Key West if you like a quiet, more natural 'untouched' feel stop at Big Pine Key. While on Big Pine Key be sure to check out the Key Deer this is the only place to see this tiny endangered deer.
There are places to eat, drink, party and enjoy a local band at almost every turn. The featured item on the menu at most of the restaurants in the area is fresh caught seafood of some sort and the drink of choice is whatever is in their frozen drink machine.
Bottom line, if you're looking for a tropical vacation with the feel of the Caribbean but don't have a passport or a big budget come on down and visit the Keys. If you like to snorkel, dive, fish, camp, hike, bike or simply lie on the beach you can do it here. If you like to shop, drink, party, listen to a band, eat or simply watch a spectacular sunset, the Keys are the place for you. You’ll have a great time no matter what you like to do, this is the place to come and to it.
Places in the Upper Keys
The warm, crystal clear water attracts those who enjoy sport fishing in the Keys
, and the thousands of scuba divers and snorkelers who give Key Largo the moniker "Diving Capital of the World." Only about an hour south of Miami, Key Largo gives the people of South Florida a place to come and relax away from the city, where the pace is a little slower. Most anywhere you stop you can get a spectacular fresh fish dinner and a cool, refreshing tropical drink, and you can dance or just relax and enjoy a local band.
Things to do in Key Largo »
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Over a million people come from around the world to enjoy the water, trails and camping facilities. Activities around the park include camping, fishing, swimming, picnicking, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, and glass bottom boat tours. If you’re interested in a diving trip, several options are available. A full service PADI dive shop, across the marina from the main concession building, runs reef trips on the Reef Adventures, a custom-built 35-passenger catamaran.
More about Pennekamp State Park »
Whether it's fishing
, diving, snorkeling, or just hanging out at the beach and swimming with friends, there are many great things to do when you’re visiting Islamorada. Islamorada is one of the most popular spots in the Keys. It’s not call a "Key," because it’s actually made up of six different islands including Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Plantation Key, Windley Key and two offshore islands: Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key.
Things to do in Islamorada »
Long Key State Park
Long Key State Park revolves around the water. There are designated areas where one can snorkel, swim, or fish. Fishing in the Keys is a popular year-round sport, and this area is known for its spectacular bonefishing. If you’re coming to Long Key State Park, plan to spend a few days camping at one of the park's 60 full-facility campsites overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Every campsite has a ground grill, picnic table, water, and electricity hook-up.
More about Long Key State Park »
Places in the Middle Keys
Marathon, a 10-mile-long city considered by many to be the middle of the Florida Keys, is located mainly on Vaca, Fat Deer, and Grassy Key. To the east of the city is the world-famous Seven Mile Bridge (MM 47), seen in many movies. On the west end of the city is Tom’s Harbor Bridge (MM 61). Marathon, like much of the Keys, is a major sport-fishing destination; it has several marinas with charters for fishing in either the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. It is also a popular diving, snorkeling and spearfishing area, and an open lobster season. Marathon is a great place to try to catch a few.
More about Marathon »
Places in the Lower Lower Keys
Bahia Honda Key
The park offers many things to do and activities to enjoy. Swimming or snorkeling, in either the Atlantic Ocean or Florida Bay, is always popular because of the Keys' clear water. The water here is shallow, the currents are very mild, and temperatures in the summer reach the upper eighties.
More about Bahia Honda State Park »
Big Pine Key
Big Pine Key, considered the start of the "Lower Keys," starts at MM 33 just a short distance past the famous Seven Mile Bridge, where the Keys take that gentle westerly turn. Big Pine Key is a quiet place of small resorts, down-home restaurants, private homes, and untrammeled wildernesses. If a little solitude is what you’re after, just turn down one of the side roads and you’re in a wilderness of water and nature, you may even see a key deer.
Places to see in Big Pine Key »
Key West is bathed in the warmth of a tropical sun, cooled by ocean breezes and shaded by lush, tropical plants and trees. A truly romantic destination rich in history, culture, and natural treasures, Key West has something for everybody. The place to be day or night in Key West is Duval Street
, there is so much to do that you could spend two days here alone. Whether it's shopping
, dining, or dancing the night away this where you'll find what you're looking for. No matter what you decide to do you'll never have more fun than your vacation on Key West.
Things to do in Key West »
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com