FLORIDA KEYS: Best Things to See and Do
For Day 6 on the #wanderlustseries,
I take you roughly 300 miles from the Exumas, to:
the FLORIDA KEYS!
Although I’ve been to Florida numerous times (hello Disney, Tampa, and Miami), and have even been to Key West before, I’ve never been on a good ol’ roadtrip down the Florida Keys.  Plus, I was too young to remember Key West anyways.  I think another trip is more than necessary!
image via Flickr CC // L.C.Nøttaasen

So where are the Florida Keys anyways?!

The Florida Keys begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, just about 15 miles south of Miami. They extend in a gentle arc to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry Tortugas.  The southern tip of Key West is just 90 miles away from Cuba, making it the southern most point in the Continental USA.
Top Things to See and Do:
 

Indulge in some Key Lime Pie

You can’t leave Key West without indulging in some famous Key Lime Pie. The Original Key Lime and Coconut Factory are located in Key West at 412 & 414 Greene St. Make sure to try their other specialities, including Tortuga Rum Cakes, Key Lime Pie on a Stick, Key Lime Cooler Cookies, and delicious coconut patties. All delicacies are made with 100% Key Lime Juice, and are said to be 100% delicious.

 
The finest of pies

Turtle Hospital in Marathon

The main goal of this establishment is to help sea turtles survive.  The hosptial takes in and treats four different species of injured turtles: Loggerhead, Green, Hawksbill, and Kemp’s Ridley’s.  Guided educational tours of the hospital facilities and the sea turtle rehab area are offered, which lasts approximately 90 minutes.  At the end, guests are able to feed the permanent residents!  The hospital has about 45 turtles at any given time.  You can even adopt a turtle – I’m thinking about adopting Bubble Butt! :)

Turtle Hospital, Marathon, Florida

Snorkel at Pennekamp Coral Reefs

The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo is the first of it’s kind, being completely underwater!  With so much to do here, one can easily spend days exploring!  Mangrove swamps and tropical hammocks offer unique experiences, but the main attraction here is the coral reef and the marine life.  You can enjoy the reef from a glass-bottom boat tour, or get a closer view by snorkeling or scuba diving.  Short trails, canoeing and kayaking, and fishing awaits!

Snorkeling at Pennekamp Coral Reefs
Key Largo

Bike ride around Town and the Pier

Go on a bike tour around the charming Key West or explore on your own!  However, make sure you smell the exotic aromas of tropical flowers including frangipani, gardenias, and jasmine – which bloom all year round!  Taste a variety of local fruit including mangoes, coconuts, key limes, and starfruit!  Once you get to Key West, there’s no real reason to have a car!  Relax!

Ride Sally Ride - Key West, FL

Drive the 7 Mile Bridge

The 7 Mile Bridge is a famous bridge which connects the Middle Keys (Marathon) to the Lower Keys (Little Duck Key).  It was one of the longest bridges in the world when it was built, and is part of the Overseas Highway. The Bridge has been featured several movies, including License To Kill, True Lies, 2 Fast 2 Furious and Mission Impossible III.

7 Mile Bridge, Old & New - Pigeon Key - Florida Keys - Florida

Visit the Southern Most Point in the USA

Just like enjoying some key lime pie whilst in Key West, you cannot leave without taking a few moments to check out the anchored concrete buoy!  This buoy marks the southern most point in the USA – just 90 miles to Cuba!  The large painted buoy was established in 1983 and can be found at the corner of South Street and Whitehead Street.  Go be touristy and take your photo next to it!

The Southern Most Point - Key West

Day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park

dry tortugas - welcome to the beach

The Dry Tortugas are a small group of islands which are located at the end of the Florida Keys, approximately 70 miles west. The coral reefs in this archipelago are the least disturbed in the Florida Keys, making the snorkeling absolutely amazing. Check out the impressive unfinished fortress while there. Since the national park is only accessible by seaplane or ferry, it’s often possible to witness wild dolphins on the way –> an added bonus!
More great resources:

Have you ever been to the Florida Keys? 
Is it someplace you’d consider going?!

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