Here are the best things to do in the Florida Keys, according to what I enjoyed most. Splash the cash and don’t miss out!
The Florida Keys are cool – laidback, flip flop wearing, beach loving, beer drinking, cocktail sampling cool. I had a great time there when I hung out for a week. I chilled in Key West, cycled in Marathon, ate my way through Key Largo and drove all the way back up to Miami in a fancy van.
The whole week was great, but here are my top moments from my week in the Florida Keys.
1. Wake up to the sunrise at Ibis
I love the first few days of jetlag when you go to the USA. I’m never up before 7 in real life, unless a flight is involved, but to wake up naturally to this sunrise just outside my window was incredible.
I’d arrived in the dark and went straight to sleep so had no idea this existed just outside my window. Make sure you book into a cool hotel on the waterfront in the Florida Keys to really make the most of it!
2. Eat loads of seafood
I had scallops as standard, mussels, lobster, stoned crab, calamari, sushi, Key West pink shrimp, and a lot of that was in just one meal at the Stoned Crab.
I ate at all the best places in the Keys, including…
– Blue Heaven, the best place for breakfast (cheesey shrimp omelette with banana bread)
– Sunset Grille & Raw Bar, overlooking the Seven-Mile Bridge and right by the sea (epic sushi platter)
– Latitudes, the fanciest restaurant in Key West (more on that in a minute)
– Fish House, decked out like fisherman’s hut with all the trinkets (oysters and scallops)
– Hungry Tarpon, landmark on the marina where you can feed the beastly tarpons (fish tacos)
– Marker 88, where we watched our chef make the dinner in front of us (8 courses of deliciousness)
– Mrs Mac’s Kitchen, an institution and decorated with donated numberplates (spinach and shrimp omelette)
3. The sea plane to Tortugas National Park
The journey was just stunning. Absolutely incredible.
And I got to sit in the front on the way back. It wasn’t bad looking when we were actually there either!
I sat up front on the way back and had 360 views of the stunning ocean between the Dry Tortugas National Park, where we’d just been, and Key West, our destination. It was awesome.
The whole journey took 35 minutes. The varying blues of the waters were mesmerising. Our pilot told us how one of the islands belonged to just one guy, and if I really squinted I could definitely see those dolphins he told us would be playing about.
We’d been at the Dry Tortugas National Park – famous for shipwrecks, coral reefs and birdlife – where you can also looks Fort Jefferson on a guided tour or in your own time. I decided to go all Nancy Drew on that place and grabbed my camera in search of beautiful views. The fortress is unfinished, but was an important naval point in the late 1800s / early 1900s. It soon became too difficult and expensive to look after the building, and its 16 million+ bricks.
I noticed all the tents in the bush – apparently as a National Park you can stay here for three nights for free – no chance. There was no civilisation on the island – I mean it would just be you, the fort, the animals and whatever ghosts had decided to stick around (yep, definitely spooked from the Key West ghost tour). I got our private sea plane straight out of there.
4. Get the boat to a private island for dinner
As if the seaplane wasn’t enough glamour for one day, that night we got a private boat to Latitude’s private island for dinner. Now this island is where Oprah Winfrey used to have a house, it is Faaa-aancy.
I drank gin and prosecco cocktails, ate Wagyu beef and scouted the place out for celebs. If I didn’t have the photos I’d think this whole experience so unlikely I’d made it up. The food and the whole experience were something I never imagined I’d do.
5. Jet ski the Key West coast
The freedom of a jet ski is hard to beat. One of the best things I’ve ever done on my travels is my three-hour jet skiing trip in the Gold Coast in Australia. And so with the opportunity to jet ski in front of me, I did it in Key West too. It was the 20 minute free ride that got me going – I had my hands pushing the accelerator as fast as they it go, white knuckles and all.
6. Visit the Florida Keys Brewing Company
I love the USA craft beer scene. One of the best things I did in the Adirondacks in New York over the summer was explore the breweries there, and it was the same in the Florida Keys.
We met Craig and Cheryl who started the Florida Keys Brewing Company up. They’ve decorated the place and built it up to be so popular it was very busy on the Thursday afternoon that we visited. I had a little go behind the bar and tried every one of the 12 different pints on this flight of booze put out in front of me.
The best was the hibiscus one, the worst, the chilli.
7. Eat flip flop shaped chocolates at Key Largo Chocolates
There I was, minding my own business looking round the kitchen of the Key Largo Chocolate Factory when I spotted a flip flop shaped mould out of the corner of my eye. Excitedly I located the chocolates, which weren’t actually on sale yet, and demanded to be sold them. In the nicest possible way of course.
Served them up with a proper brew when I got home and found the chocolate was limey, of course.
8. Go on an ‘official’ key lime pie taste test quest
When you’re on an important mission, like I was, it’s ok to eat 7 portions of Key Lime Pie over a week, especially when you’re sharing with others. I tried 7 portions of Key Lime Pie during my week in the Florida Keys, and although the one from Latitudes tasted the best, and Blue Heaven’s was the most photogenic, more research is definitely needed.
I was in the Florida Keys with Florida Keys & Key West tourism council. They showed me a brilliant week in the Keys, and all opinions and photos are mine.