The Florida Keys are undoubtedly beautiful. With their laid-back atmosphere, you'll get a taste of island life without ever leaving the United States. When visiting The Keys, make sure you consider at least a few of these six fun things to do there!
1. The Hemingway House
This literary landmark is where Ernest Hemingway lived for ten years. During his time here, he wrote 70 percent of his life's work. Nowadays, the Hemingway House serves as a museum dedicated to its onetime inhabitant, with guided tours on offer. Located in Key West, this lovely piece of Florida cultural history is recognized by the Library of Congress and is well known for it's iconic architecture, lush gardens, and roaming cats! When you're done with the tour, make sure you grab lunch on the famous Duval Street.
2. Glass Bottom Boat Tours
You don't need to go scuba diving or snorkeling for a great view of Florida's coral reefs. Take a tour on a glass bottom boat in Key West instead! This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride on a custom built glass bottom catamaran is something you'll never forget.
Relax above deck while a tour guide points out landmarks along the way. But once you reach the reef, you'll head below deck and peer into the turquoise waters below. The boat was designed to allow the best viewing of the only living North American coral barrier (the third largest coral reef system in the world) while providing the least amount of stress to the reef. When you get there, you'll see that you're only feet above the reef!
When it's time to head back to shore, enjoy the panoramic view from the top deck. Catch a glimpse of playful dolphin pods, or take a load off in the fully-air conditioned cabin (equipped with restrooms and a snack bar).
Quick travel tip: Thanks to the hurricanes this past year, the waters may still be a little murky, which may limit your viewing options. If the perspective is limited that day, you will be alerted before you board the tour and will have the chance to collect a total refund. If you choose to stay, you'll still get to see the vast reefs, and the trip will take you through The Dolphins Playground too!
3. Snap A Photo At The Southernmost Point
When you visit the Keys, you'll find yourself traveling further and further south until you're at the continental United States' southernmost point -- just 90 miles away from Cuba. The southernmost point is located in Key West and is marked by a large metal buoy (you can't miss it). Taking a picture with the buoy is a popular tourist activity, and also offers an enjoyable view of the vast ocean beyond. You can't see Cuba, but it's easy to imagine that it lies just over the horizon.
Snapping a photo with the Southernmost Point Buoy is a fairly quick affair, depending on the time of day and how many people are lined up to take a photo. That being said, you'll want to plan something else into your day. Since you'll be right near Duval Street, you could check out the local shops and restaurants, or tour the Hemingway House.
4. Sunset Charter
Embarking on a sunset charter cruise is a great way to end a day in the Keys. There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to sunset ocean tours, but our choice would be one that serves hors d'oeuvres and cocktails on a historic schooner. You'll get to enjoy the intimate setting of sailing into the sunset while sipping champagne or margaritas and snacking on cheese plates and peel and eat shrimp.
5. Butterfly And Nature Conservatory
Learn about the different species of tropical plants and butterflies at the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. With over 50 different butterfly species, you'll feel like you walked into a fairytale garden. Located in Key West where the weather is already warm, the Conservatory is kept at a consistent 85 degrees, and eighty percent humidity. These warm conditions are what keep the tropical butterflies alive and thriving.
Depending on the time of day you visit the Conservatory you'll see different species of butterflies. Some butterflies are more active in the morning when they're warming themselves in the morning sunlight, while others like the Owls become active at night.
6. Dry Tortugas National Park Catamaran Day Trip
Visiting the Dry Tortugas National Park is an all day, 10-hour affair, so you'll want to plan accordingly. This is your chance to escape the islands on a luxurious catamaran. Enjoy breakfast during the 70-mile trip while listening to a guided tour. Dry Tortugas National Park is located inside Fort Jefferson and is famous for its legends of pirates and sunken gold. Once you've finished the 45-minute historic tour of the fort, you'll get to spend the rest of the day wandering the beach collecting seashells, bird watching, snorkeling, or looking for dolphins and sea turtles.
Adventure awaits in the Florida Keys! What are you waiting for?