The Florida Keys stretch for miles and include approximately 1700 islands. The keys are one of the top tourist destinations in Florida, famous for their fishing, attractions, restaurants and more. Each key has it’s own unique points of interest. Here are the top ten things to do in the Florida Keys.
Visit Key West
Key West is by far the most famous and visited key. It’s known for it’s shopping, restaurants, bars, museums and sunsets. One could easily spend an entire day or two exploring the island. For a list of the top ten things to do in key west, read this. Key West has attractions to appeal to everyone, from the partier to the child to the art enthusiast. When visiting the Florida Keys, one must spend some time in Key West.
Many people trailer their boats down to the Florida Keys for the incredible fishing. For people without boats, there are many charter captains that will take you out for a day and even teach people how to fish. Reservations should be made in advance, as a charter is hard to book last-minute. One of the most popular fish caught in the keys is the mahi-mahi or dolphin fish, which is completely different from the mammal kind of dolphin. The fish have beautiful blue and yellow coloring and are one of the best tasting fish. Other popular fish caught in the Florida Keys are sailfish, blackfin tuna, wahoo, blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, mutton snapper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, red grouper, black grouper, gag grouper , pompano, barracuda, cobia, amber jack, kingfish, cero mackeral, and many others.
Snorkel or Scuba Dive
There are many reefs and shipwrecks in the Florida Keys. Some require boats to get to, while others do not. The Florida Keys have the only living barrier reef in the continental United States. There is an abudance of fish and other sea creatures such as eels, sea turtles, dolphins (mammal), sting rays and others. The water is warm enough to swim almost every day of the year. The reefs and shipwrecks attract people from all over the world to dive in the Florida Keys.
Swim with the Dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center
Swimming and interacting with wild dolphins is illegal and can be dangerous. However, at the Dolphin Research Center, they provide an amazing oportunity to swim with their resident dolphins. There are daily presentations for those who don’t wish to swim with them. The dolphins perform amazing stunts and the crowd is educated about the amazing creatures. There are opportunities to perform different actions with the dolphins, for instance one can play with toys with the dolphins, ride around holding onto the dolphin’s dorsal fin, or get in a splash fight with a dolphin. It’s loads of fun, and an experience you’ll never forget.
Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s of Islamorada
Robbie’s of Islamorada provides numerous activities, including fishing charters, boat rentals, and snorkeling opportunities. One of the most unique aspects of Robbie’s is the chance to feed the tarpon. For only a couple of dollars you get a bucket of dead bait fish. People walk out to the end of the dock where hundreds of tarpon wait to be fed. The tarpon are absolutely huge, some well over 6 feet long. Most throw the bait into the water and watch the tarpon snap it up, while the bravest of souls holds their hand close to the water and lets the tarpon jump and take it from their hands. The tarpon do not have teeth, but might still snap at your hand.
Visit the Turtle Hospital
The Turtle Hospital admits nearly 100 patients every year. Many of the turtles have been hit by boats. Their goal is not only to rehab and release the injured sea turtles, but to educate the publics as well. Thus, they offer guided tours of the museum 7 days a week.
Watch the Show at Theater of the Sea
Theater is a must-see for any families travelling to the Florida Keys together. The entire family is sure to be amazed by the dolphins, sea lions and parrots performing stunts. They offer the opportunity to swim with dolphins, sea lions and rays.
Tour Pigeon Key
Pigeon Key is rich in history and lies at the end of a broken section of the old seven mile bridge, built by Henry Flagler as a part of his Florida East Coast Railway. On the island is a museum, historic buildings, and snorkeling available on the shoreline. Admission grants access to the island all day.
Visit Crane Point Museum, Nature Center & Historic Site
This is another museum that adults and children alike will enjoy. Explore the Museum of Natural History, take a walk on the nature trails and see a variety of plants and animals, or visit the Wild Bird Center. It is an extremely informative experience, while still being entertaining.
See a Key Deer
There are so many different kinds of animals in the Florida Keys, but the Key Deer is definitely one to see. They are an endangered deer found only in the Florida Keys. To see them one must visit Big Pine, Cudjoe, West Summerland, Big Torch, Howe, Little Pine, Little Torch, Middle Torch, No Name, and Sugarloaf keys. These are the only keys with permenant key deer residents, however the occasional deer can be found on other keys, especially during the wet season.