When it comes to beaches and water activities, the Florida Keys can hold its own. You don’t even have to go to Bora Bora or the Maldives. You can find powdery sand and sparkling blue waters in Florida. And it’s not only the sun and sea that draw people to the Keys. Check any Florida Keys travel guide. It will mention the cuisine and diverse tourist destinations as the main attractions.
The Florida Keys is a chain of islands around 125 miles long. It starts from the edge of Florida, or south of Miami, as some would say. It ends at Key West, which is about 90 miles from Cuba. In fact, the area is closer to this country than it is to Miami.
The island chain is often described as a coral kingdom because it’s made up of coral and limestone. The Florida Keys has five regions – Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine/ Lower Keys, and Key West. Each area is famous for something distinct. Key Largo is also known as the “Dive Capital of the World.” Islamorada is famous around the world for sport fishing. Marathon has one of the longest segmented bridges. The Lower Keys is famous for its wildlife refuge. Meanwhile, Key West is the home of Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway.
3 Reasons to Visit the Florida Keys
There’s more to the Florida Keys than meets the eye. These islands are full of lush greens and diverse wildlife. They also have a rich and colorful history. At one time, the Keys were home to pirates. Here’s what’s going on in Florida Keys:
This first undersea park in the US is a must-see for divers and snorkelers. The coral reefs are extensive, healthy, and beautiful. The park also has mangrove swamps and areas for relaxing in a hammock. There are also glass-bottom boat tours for those who can’t stay in the water.
Marathon’s Turtle Hospital is the first hospital designed for treating turtles. Book a tour and fall in love with its residents. Watch how the staff cares for endangered sea turtles and learn how you can help.
The miniature Key deer was once on the brink of extinction. But now it’s thriving, thanks to this nature preserve. The refuge has 9,200 acres of forests and wetlands. You can explore it and learn more about this unique species.
Best Times to Go There
Any time is a good time to go to Florida. The Sunshine State is famous for its good weather. It’s known for having the sunniest days in the US. The weather is still good even during the rainy season. You might have to deal with some rain showers but it rarely lasts for more than an hour.
The Florida Keys sees more visitors from late December until May. Those months are now considered the islands’ peak season. It’s not surprising that many people would want to winter in the Keys. Rains are rare here during winter. Any clouds or rain are often gone in a few hours.
There’s a drop in visitors during the summer months as the weather turns hot. You can expect it to reach an average of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you don’t mind the heat, you’ll find lower hotel prices and smaller crowds from July. The hurricane season in the Keys lasts from June to November. The bad weather peaks between August 15 and October 15. Despite that, the Florida Keys experience their best weather during these months. You can enjoy the sight of beautiful fluffy clouds and quiet waters during this time.
Foods You Should Not Miss
What food is Florida known for? That’s one of the most common questions people ask. The state has a variety of unique dishes, and every state has a specialty. The Florida Keys has a strong Caribbean influence, and it shows in the local favorites.
Seafood is a staple in the Keys. It’s not surprising considering commercial fishing is one of the area’s major industries. Visitors love the fresh seafood that abounds in the islands. When you’re not sure what to eat, ask for the catch of the day. It can be yellowtail, grouper, snapper, spiny lobster, or stone crab. Whatever it is, it will be sweet and fresh.
The conch is a favorite in the Florida Keys. The large sign at the airport proclaiming the area Conch Republic is a giveaway. Don’t leave without tasting conch fritters or the spicy conch chowder. You can find it at some of the area’s top dining spots. You should also indulge in their version of classic Cuban dishes like ropa vieja and pork in mojo sauce. And of course, no trip to Florida is complete if you don’t have a slice or two of Key lime pie.
Unique Celebrations You Should Experience
Wondering what things to do in Florida this weekend? There’s always something fun and exciting to do in the Sunshine State. The Florida Keys is no exception. The island chain has several festivals that millions take part in. You might want to schedule your trip to coincide with these events:
- Hemingway Days: This is a good reason for literature lovers to visit Key West in July. The festivities include a Hemingway lookalike competition. There’s also a planned spoof of the “Running of the Bulls.”
- Fantasy Fest: This 10-day event happens every October. It has a hint of Carnival influence with a Florida twist. Come for the costumes, drinks, and parades.
- Original Marathon Seafood Festival: Love seafood? Then you should be here in March.
- 7 Mile Bridge Run: One of the best reasons to visit in April. It’s the only full-length marathon done on a bridge surrounded by water.
- Key West Brewfest: This multi-day event is a favorite Labor Day celebration. Key West residents raise funds through pool parties and beer tasting tours.
See a Different Side of Florida
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