Looking to escape to the lush tropics of the Florida Keys soon? With hundreds of beaches and unique islands to visit, there’s certainly no shortage of great things to do there! The Florida Keys are a great domestic family destination, and where you can find something for everyone, no matter what they like.
We’ve been to the Florida Keys several times, and here are our top things to do there:
1. Snorkeling at John Pennecamp State Park
The perfect first stop on your trip, John Pennecamp is located in the northern section of the Florida Keys, just an hour and a half south of Miami. It’s actually the first park in the US located under the sea, and encompasses roughly 70 miles of mangroves, coral reefs, and wildlife.
The park is very well managed, and strives to allow people to enjoy the natural wildlife, while protecting and preserving it as well. There are a variety of different activities you can do here including snorkeling, scuba, glass-bottom boat tours, and you can even rent boats or kayaks! We did the snorkeling tour, which takes you a half-hour off shore via boat, to where the reef is located.
2. Feed the Tarpon
Feeding the Tarpon at Robbie’s Marina is another absolute must-do while in the Florida Keys. While you might drive right on by if you didn’t know to stop, Robbie’s is an eclectic, hidden gem comprised of a series of quaint shops, food vendors, and of course, tarpon feeding!
They will give you a whole bucket of small fish, and you can go out on the dock where these MASSIVE fish are just swimming around. Tarpon can get quite large, so some might find them scary, but they actually don’t have any teeth, so it’s quite harmless to feed them this way.
You might even see some other wildlife while you’re there too. There are quite a few pelicans that hang out there, looking for a bite to eat, and we even saw a mantee swim by while we were there!
3. Go on a Mangrove Kayak Tour
While exploring the Florida Keys, a kayak tour through the mangroves is an absolute must! Not only will you have a great kayak ride and learn more about the area, but you’ll also get to explore inside the mangroves, which are almost inaccessible in any other form. To feel like a kid on a treasure hunt, be sure to do this on your trip!
4. Go Deep Sea Fishing
A classic Florida Keys activity, deep sea fishing is a wild activity that will bring a lot of excitement to your trip. We’ve done several of these over the years, and caught a variety of fish from barracudas, grouper, to even a shark! Typically tours last 4-6 hours, so be sure to plan enough time in your day to alot for this.
5. Go Out on a Sailing Charter
While there’s certainly no shortage of opportunities when it comes to getting out on the water in the Florida Keys, heading out for a sail is certainly one of the best options available! There are tons of different types available, whether you’d like to go for a snorkeling sail, or a sunset tour, ride aboard a large catamaran, or a cozy sailboat. In Key West there’s the largest availability and you can typically book just a few hours in advance, however I’d reccommend booking earlier if you’re visiting during busy season.
6. Visit Historic Key West
If you love historic architecture and quaint neighborhoods, then this one is for you. Key West is filled to the brim with charming streets and adorable old buildings, Because of this, it is a great place to walk around and check out historic houses, many of which were built over 100 years ago.
You’re unlikely to spot two houses that look the same, and if you enjoy vibrant neighborhoods, you’ll certainly love all the brightly painted facades.
7. Catch a Sunset at the Southernmost Point in the United States
Now, this is something you can obviously only do in Key West, since it’s the southern most point in the United States! Be sure to head on over to Bistro 245 at Margaritaville Resort to catch it, and have a margarita while you’re there 🙂 Truly, Key West sunsets cannot be missed!
8. Visit Sunset Key for Breakfast
Have you ever taken a boat to an island for breakfast before? No? Well you should! Heading over to Sunset Key, a small island just off the coast of Key West is an exciting and unique thing to do while in the Florida Keys. It’s actually a private island, and normally you cannot visit unless you are renting or own one of the cottages there.
However, anyone is able to visit Latitudes restaurant, and ride the complimentary shuttle over to the island! We went for breakfast, but you could really do any meal. The food was absolutely spectacular, and the atmosphere on the beach is laid back and fantastic.
9. Visit the Dry Tortugas National Park
This one is truly one to check off your bucketlist, and definitely not possible on all trips to the Florida Keys, especially if your’s is a short one. However, I definitely think it’s worth prioritizing, and absolutely reccommend it if you do have time. The Dry Tortugas is an island comprised of an old military fort that sits just a few hours south of the Florida Keys.
It’s accessible via ferry, or seaplane, and while the fort itself is plenty exciting, there’s also very cool snorkeling and camping on the island. Like I said, it’s a trek to get there, but well worth it in my opinion!
Well there you have it! The top things to do on your trip to the Florida Keys. Any that I’ve forgotten and should add in? Let me know in the comments!
Planning your Florida Keys road trip? Click here to read our full one-week itinerary!