The Florida Keys are one of the few places in the world that’s synonymous with relaxation, easy-attitudes, and fun in the sun. The summers (June to October) are hot, humid, and wet with highs in the 90s and lows in the 60s. The winters (November to April) are mild and drier with highs in the 70s and 60s and lows in the 50s and 40s. With such a range of temperatures, you’re sure to find the right time to take in a vacation to the Florida Keys. Each Key has its own flair, festivals, attractions, and events.
The water around the Keys is the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and it’s the third largest coral barrier reef in the world and the only barrier reef in North America. The Keys are also home to several species not found in other parts of the USA like the Key Lime (not just a dessert!), Key Deer, and the Key Largo Woodrat.
When visiting the Florida Keys, you can take in your fill of swimming, fishing, surfing, snorkeling, and any other water activity you can think of. The Keys are famous for soft, sandy beaches and stunning turquoise waters. If you want to spend a week with your toes in the sand, the sun on your face, and a fruity drink in your hand, you can do that. However, the Keys can offer more than that.
Shoppers and foodies will enjoy Mallory Square in Key West. This historic waterfront offers music, shopping, dining, and street performers. When you’re in Key West, keep an eye out for Sloppy Joe’s Bar. This bar was a favorite of Earnest Hemmingway. The location on Duval Street is where the bar moved to after the original landlord raised the rent by $1. The owner and the patrons, literally, picked up their tables, chairs, drinks and everything else and moved. Although there’s no evidence to suggest Hemmingway visited the new location, it’s still a must-see location for Hemmingway and literature fans. The bar currently called “Captain Tony’s Saloon” is the physical location that Hemmingway visited.
Hemmingway’s home is one of the more famous spots in Key West. You can tour the house, visit with the infamous Hemmingway Cats, and visit the store. This is also a good site to take in earlier in the day because they close early enough to allow for more activities.
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park provides the chance to walk 8’ quarry walls to see ancient coral. The quarry machinery has been preserved so this stop is a cultural, industrial, and a natural point of interest. There are 5 short self-guided trails and there are ranger-guided tours between December and April. If you’re interested in the ranger-guided tours, you’ll want to plan ahead and verify tour times with the park.
Fort Jefferson is a 19th century fort that served as a prison during the Civil War and once imprisoned Dr. Samuel Mudd, a co-conspirator in the assignation of Abraham Lincoln. This all-masonry building is remotely located and this excursion will likely fill a day.
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is where you can learn about maritime history and how they preserve it. Twice a day, they conduct tours of the conservation lab where you can see preservation methods and techniques.
The longest scene highway in the Keys is the Florida Keys Scenic Highway All-American Road. It’s a long name for a long drive. The trip covered 110 miles and 43 keys and provides ample opportunities to take in wildlife and the beauty of the natural world.
If you’re looking for a shorter drive, Seven Mile Bridge is a scenic route that connects the middle Keys to the lower Keys. The old bridge, built in the early 1900s, is open to pedestrians and cyclists. It was one of the longest bridges in the world when it was originally built. The new bridge offers vehicle traffic a chance to take in the stunning views that make the Florida Keys famous. If you’re traveling in April, keep in mind that the new bridge is closed for a few hours when the Seven Mile Bridge Run is happening.
Torreya State Park was created by the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps) and offers a variety of hikes and birding opportunities. There have been 100 identified bird species in the park. Additionally, you can see Torreya Trees. At one time, this species of tree was quite abundant, but only about 200 trees remain.
Veterans Memorial Railroad is a playground and picnic that’s perfect for children and train enthusiasts. Featuring restored miniature trains, they offer every-day-fun as well as spooky rides around Halloween and Polar Express events around Christmas.
Whether you’re into nature, history, or great literature, taking a vacation to the Florida Keys will help you relax and recharge. Book your trip today to discover all that the Keys has offer. Check out the Vacation Planning Resource Center for information to guide you on your next trip!
- Culinary and Foodie Tourism
- Mallory Square
- Sloppy Joe’s Bar
- Hemmingway Home
- Seven Mile Bridge
- Veteran Memorial Railroad
- NAS Key West, Boca Chica Key, FL
- MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, FL
- United States Southern Command, Doral FL
- Patrick Air Force Base, Cocoa Beach, FL