We could easily say visit a different island every day and you’ll find five things to do in the Florida Keys. But if we’re being serious, The Florida Keys have a million different ways to spend any time in this tropical paradise. We’ve got the short list below:
- Screen Connections: The island known as Key Largo has many connections to Hollywood. First off, it’s the name of the iconic Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall film as well as the setting for the film. It is also home to the African Queen, the steamboat featured in another Bogart film (you can guess the name) and is now a tourist attraction that runs dinner cruises. The island’s Caribbean Club bar was also featured in the film, Key Largo, and has the distinction of being the oldest bar in the Upper Keys. If the Fast and the Furious movie franchise is your favorite, then the Seven Mile Bridge should look familiar. Also, Bloodline (Netflix series) was filmed in and around The Keys, with plenty of filming done on Islamorada so a visit might turn up a few familiar sights. Check out these locations for a little brush with fame.
- The Dry Tortugas: The name is derived from the Spanish word for “turtle” which is what Ponce De Leon found in plenty when he discovered the area in 1513, thus naming it Las Tortugas. However, because of something that wasn’t found in abundance originally – fresh water – the island’s name was changed to Dry Tortugas. Comprised of seven islands, the Dry Tortugas have a lot to offer visitors from history to wildlife to wonderful beaches. It is the only regular U.S. nesting site for the sooty tern – look for them on Bush Key from March through September. It is home to Fort Jefferson, one of the largest 19th century forts in the US, which visitors can tour, and it is home to five different types of turtles – you can glimpse them floating in the sea. Plus, it’s also a snorkeler’s paradise with large coral heads as the underwater show!
- Theater of the Sea: Consider it the vaudeville of the seas – a place where you can enjoy variety and be in awe of the show unfolding before you. The Theater of the Sea, located on Islamorada, is a marine mammal park with lagoons hosting sea lions, turtles, stingrays, alligators, and sea birds. This is the place to swim with dolphins, sea lions and even sharks and get up close and personal with the turtles, alligators, and parrots. Looking for a unique souvenir from your visit? Consider having a dolphin create some art just for you – check out the Paint with the Dolphins package offered here. Your friends will be jealous!
- Shipwreck Museum: What’s a group of islands in the sea without a nod to shipwrecks? Of course, the Keys has a shipwreck museum, and it can be found on Key West. The Key West Shipwreck Museum tells the history of 400 years of shipwrecks in the area, which on average, happened once a week! Through the use of actors, artifacts, and film, you can experience this interesting maritime heritage of the area.
- Nurture Nature: There are all kinds of nature-type experiences you can enjoy when visiting the Keys, including the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key, the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary on Tavernier Key, and the Dolphin Research Center and the Turtle Hospital, both on Marathon Key. FYI, the Key Deer can only be found in the Lower Keys and Marathon’s Turtle Hospital has successfully treated and released over 1500 sea turtles since it was founded in 1986.
For the ultimate in Keys accommodations, consider booking a colorful cottage at Fiesta Key or a perfectly appointed tiny home at Sunshine Key. Either option is right on the water and feels like your own private slice of paradise. Both resorts are the perfect location for all things Keys as well as a great place to call “home” while you enjoy America’s answer to a tropical vacation.