Article Contributer: Europe Bound
Whether you’re visiting as a snowbird or as a first-timer, here are some things to do in the Florida Keys that you absolutely can’t skip.
CRUISE OVER THE JOHN PENNEKAMP CORAL REEF
Take the glass bottom boat tour of the John Pennekamp coral reef, home to the legendary Christ of the Deep statue and the first underwater national park in the United States. The ride takes you through the thick mangrove forests of the lagoon before it arrives at the pièce de résistance, the beautiful corals – (which thanks to the deep glass bottom), it should be just few feet away. If you get the chance to snorkel or dive in the park, you should .
VISIT THE ERNEST HEMINGWAY HOUSE
This house in Key West is absolutely fascinating. There are over 50 cats on the property (he had a well-documented affection for cats.) It’s also a wonderful experience to set foot into his writing den and play with his polydactyl cats.
EAT YOUR WEIGHT IN KEY LIME
Whether you get it with meringue or whipped cream, as a chocolate-dipped popsicle, as a milkshake or even deep-fried, the Key Lime pie is a must in these parts. Here is a list of some of the best places:
Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen
Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe
Conch Republic Grill
VISIT THE SEA TURTLE HOSPITAL
If you are an animal lover and an animal rights defender, you will enjoy visiting here. They are first and foremost dedicated to the wellbeing of the animals and not cold hard cash.
Through an engaging and informative program about our figurative footprint in the ocean, the non-profit hospital educates the public to think twice about our actions and their repercussions. But not only that! The Sea Turtle Hospital rescues injured sea turtles everywhere around the Keys, be it because they ingested hooks, because they damaged their shell in a boat collision, or because they got caught in fishing nets. They’ve rescued and rehabilitated over 1000 sea turtles since their opening in 1989!
They frequently release rehabilitated turtles back into the sea. Dates are always announced on their website, so if you time your visit right you might be able to take part in that touching, memorable event!
FEED TARPONS AT ROBBIE’S MARINA
These fish can weigh up to a whopping (8 feet long / 280 pounds) that jump out of the water to catch their snack. Suck it up and fed the damn tarpons. 😁
BOARD THE ORIGINAL AFRICAN QUEEN
I never seen the movie, but I am well aware of just how big an icon the African Queen is, i.e. the 1951 film starring the illustrious Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. The ship used in the movie no longer cruises down Congolese rivers; instead, it has been lovingly restored (with steam engine and all!) and sits in the Port Largo marina.
TASTE THE LOCAL CUISINE AT MARKER 88
The menu consists of dishes that the Chef ate as a child and that are intrinsically part of the Keys cuisine, which obviously means lots of flavourful and expertly-executed fish and seafood. The coconut battered shrimp and the mahi Martinique, an intriguing French-Florida fusion dishe are very popular. The beachside restaurant is definitely one of the can’t-miss things to do in the Florida Keys, as is their bar, where you can order their popular watermelon mojito.
VISIT THE BUTTERFLY & NATURE CONSERVATORY
Their tropical greenhouse is home to over 600 species of butterflies, including the elusive blue morpho butterfly and the 11-inch wide Owl butterfly. A fun place to visit if you enjoy macro photography and wildlife!
Call, text or email us today to start planning your vacation to the Keys