The Florida Keys are synonymous with yearlong sunshine, warm sandy beaches and world class scuba diving, but there is a lot more that this tiny archipelago off of the Florida coast has to offer. One of the things that is special about the Florida Keys is the slow-paced, laid-back lifestyle you find on each of the islands. Time moves at a snail’s pace in the Florida Keys and once there, you’ll find yourself asking why the rest of the world doesn’t move at this pace too.
Dive Into Another World Under The Sea
The longest of all the islands, Key Largo, is 33 miles of paradise and is world renowned for its scuba diving. Home to the third-largest living coral barrier reef in the world, the thousands of colorful fish species swimming in the crystal blue waters have caused this area to often be referred to as the “Diving Capital of the World.”
However, even people who have no interest in the underwater world can still spend a carefree afternoon on a sandy beach, kayaking the clear waters or driving the length of the island while taking in the warm weather and scenic views.
Play fisherman for a day
Photo by Laura
Islamorada has also been voted one of the top places to live in the USA and is known for deep-sea fishing. If you fancy yourself a fisherman or even if just want to give it a try, you can easily hire a charter boat to whisk you off into the ocean, where you can try your luck at catching some big-game fish, including snapper, barracuda and swordfish.
The fish in this area are so plentiful that you are almost guaranteed an exciting and successful day. Upon arriving back at shore, you will find many restaurants and packing companies that will fillet, cook, serve, pack and even send your catch wherever you desire. To get the total experience, be sure to stay at the Lime Tree Bay Resort.
Photo by Ricymar Photography
Find the fountain of literary inspiration
Photo by Per Salomonsson
Key West is a magical tropical island that is great for water sports, shopping, sightseeing, camping and nightlife. It draws over 10 million visitors each year who come to partake in the unique island atmosphere, with delicious seafood, stunning scenery, fascinating history and mansions that seem to have been untouched by time. Key West is also known as a creative hot spot, where aspiring authors and musicians have come for inspiration over the last century, making it a great place to listen to live music. A few things that make this island so special are the stunning sunsets viewed from Mallory Square, the Butterfly Nature Conservatory, Smathers Beach and the southernmost point of the continental United States.
The island was also home to legendary author Ernest Hemingway. To capture the Hemingway feeling, book the beautiful Hemingway Suite at Lighthouse Court.
A Haven for Pirates
Photo by Robert Neff
Although Key West is the southernmost island of the keys, we still are not done, for this is also the gateway to the Dry Tortugas, a group of tiny islands with an old American fort that later served as a haven for pirates.The Tortugas are a fantastic day trip from Key West. They have snorkeling, fantastic ruins and rustic retreats. Even getting there is part of the adventure. A ferry leaves Key West every morning and provides an interesting tour along the way.
Photo by Ciamillo Hydrotours
Where else can you see a miniature Bambi?
Photo by Marsha Wheatley
Not everything that makes the Florida Keys so special is on the big islands, and Big Pine Key is a perfect example of this. This island, only around 10 square miles, is home to the National Key Deer Refuge. A key deer looks just like any normal deer only much smaller and thus cuter, as if deer could get any more adorable. This specific species of Bambi only grows to a little over two feet, and are only found in the Florida Keys. Every time I’ve been to the Keys, I’ve kept a keen eye out, but somehow they always elude me. Hopefully, you will have better luck than I have had.
A relaxed charm you’ll want to return to
The Florida Keys are a wonderful part of America that hold a special charm. Every time I visit, I fall more in love with this part of the world. Not only do you get islands populated with tiny deer, but also great seafood, sandy beaches, insanely gorgeous scuba dives, great fishing, a relaxed way of life and friendly locals. The Florida Keys definitely should be high on your list of vacation destinations in America.