With 835 miles of beaches and multiple major theme parks, it is easy to see why Florida is the 2nd most visited state in the US. Like many of you, I’ve been to the Sunshine State more times than I can count. However, I’d never been to the Keys until recently. This post will share my thoughts on why a Florida Keys vacation is an excellent addition to your bucket list.
We spent spring break in Key Colony Beach near Marathon, Florida. Marathon is about 50 miles from both Key West and Key Largo, so it’s in the middle. This spot was an excellent base providing access to adventure throughout the Keys.
With approximately 1700 islands, there is a lot to love on a Florida Keys vacation. Here are what I consider to be some highlights:
- The Spectacular Water. The water in the Keys includes vivid hues of blues and greens. It’s crystal clear, and you can see to the bottom. The water in the keys reminded me of water I’d seen in the Caribbean.
- Abundant Wildlife. I love looking for wildlife while on vacation. One of my goals for this trip was to see a manatee in the wild. I was not disappointed. In addition to spotting several manatees, we enjoyed bird watching and even saw a couple of sharks!
- Endless Watersports. Whether you’re into motorized watercraft such as boating or jet skis or self-propelled watercraft such as paddle boarding or kayaking, there is no shortage of waterways to explore in the Florida Keys.
- Sensational Snorkeling/Diving. Did you know that the Florida Keys are home to the 3rd largest reef in the world? I didn’t! Wow! Needless to say, if you are into snorkeling or diving, you won’t be disappointed. Snorkeling opportunities abound throughout the Keys.
- Fantastic Fishing. It is no surprise that fish are abundant in the Florida Keys and that fishing is a big deal. However, one thing that is extra special about the Keys is that there are 42 fishing bridges dedicated to anglers.
- Colorful History. Alongside the Keys is the Florida reef. This geographical feature made traversing these waters before modern navigation systems quite treacherous. Shipwrecks were common, which led to a race by wreckers to salvage the goods and cash in on others’ misfortune. While you’re in the Keys, be sure to take the Key West Conch Train Tour, where you’ll learn how, at one point, Key West was the wealthiest city in the United States.
- Extraordinary Parks. The Florida Keys are home to 11 extraordinary state parks both above and below the water. From John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in the upper Keys to Fort Zachary in Key West, the recreational possibilities are endless. As if that’s not enough, Dry Tortugas National Park is accessible from Key West while Everglades and Biscayne Bay National Parks are close to Key Largo.
A note for beach enthusiasts: While there are some lovely beaches in the Keys, this area is not known for its sand. There are approximately 1700 islands in the Keys, which are composed primarily of limestone and coral. Sand isn’t abundant. So, if your idea of the perfect Florida vacay is building sandcastles for a week, go somewhere else.
There is enough to see and do in Florida to keep one busy for a lifetime. In my opinion, a Florida Keys vacation has a unique vibe and offers another kind of vacation altogether. I highly recommend planning a visit to this southmost part of the Sunshine State.
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For more info on traveling in the Sunshine State, check out my Florida page.
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