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 the restaurants in 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, and just some of the brilliant things to do in the Florida Keys, that I’d totally recommend you should too.
Unique Things to Do in the Florida Keys
Here are all the best activities in the Florida Keys, according to me!
- Unique Things to Do in the Florida Keys
- 1. The sea plane to Tortugas National Park
- 2. Sunset cruise
- 3. Wake up to the sunrise at Ibis
- 4. Do the Salty Goat fishing charter
- 5. Eat loads of seafood
- 6. Get the boat to a private island for dinner at Latitude’s
- 7. Jet ski the Key West coast
- 8. Visit the Florida Keys Brewing Company
- 9. Eat flip flop shaped chocolates at Key Largo Chocolates
- 10. Rent a bicycle in the Keys
- 11. Go on an ‘official’ key lime pie taste test quest
- 12. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
- 13. Drinking on Duval Street
- 14. Southernmost Point Buoy
- 15. Rent a boat in Marathon
- 16. Do the Fury Ultimate Adventure
- 17. Hire kayaks and explore
- 18. Go to Key West Butterfly House
- 19. Go on a floating Tiki boat
- 20. Drag show and karaoke
- 21. Eco Safari Tour with Snorkelling
- FAQs about Things to Do in the Florida Keys
- More things to do in the Florida Keys
1. 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.
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.
2. Sunset cruise
How about joining a Key West sunset cruise with food and drink included? It’s a great idea if you want to keep an eye on the budget for Florida Keys activities, and it’s also one of the best things to do while you’re there too. Two birds!
“Climb aboard ‘The Party Cat’ for a wonderful 2-hour cruise around the harbour. Enjoy a freshly prepared tropical food buffet in an enclosed air-conditioned dining room. Choose from dinner options such as roast pulled pork in mojo sauce, deep fried sweet plantains, black beans and rice, marinated grilled chicken, fried fish, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, pasta with mini shrimp and Cuban bread and butter. Sip on your choice of tipple — margaritas, rum runners, champagne, beer, wine or spirits. After dinner, stroll upstairs to the upper deck for live music. Dance the night away or simply listen to the beat as you watch the sun set over the horizon into the Gulf of Mexico.”– GETYOURGUIDE
3. 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!
4. Do the Salty Goat fishing charter
The Salty Goat fishing charter is well known as one of the best things to do in the Florida Keys. It’s often mentioned as the best party boat in the Florida Keys. As well as drinks, you’ll get to enjoy fishing for a wide variety of game fish including several varieties of Snapper, Grouper and Mackerel.
Whatever you catch when you’re on board is yours. The Salty Goat crew can arrange for it to be cooked up at a local restaurant that night, especially for you.
Fish for your own dinner while you enjoy the sun and fun of a drink on board in the Florida Keys? Sounds incredible!
5. 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)
Here are all the best things to do in the Florida Keys, as a video…
6. Get the boat to a private island for dinner at Latitude’s
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.
Want some more travel tips for the Florida Keys? Click that link!
7. 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.
I’d definitely recommend lengthening your jet ski trip compared to mine and signing up to a tour with a company like this one who’ve been voted the best on the island and who offer 2-3 hour jet ski trips. Make the most of the stunning coastline and weather while you’re there!
8. 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.
9. 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.
And just so you know, Key Largo is one of the best places to stay in the Florida Keys.
10. Rent a bicycle in the Keys
If you have a bicycle in the Keys you can cycle around and visit everything. All the things to do on in the Florida Keys are very close together, and totally achievable via bike too.
If you rent a bike you can visit Smathers Beach, go to the reach hotel pier, the Southern Most Point, the ‘Mile One’ sign, Hemingway House, nature conservatory, rum distillery, and end the day at Mallory square for the sunset and watch the street performers.
11. 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.
If you only have a day in Key West, make sure you get some Key Lime Pie in!
12. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is America’s first undersea park, and one of the best and most unique things to do in the Florida Keys. Get your snorkel or scuba gear and go underwater to explore the stunning coral reef.
If going underwater isn’t your vibe you can still enjoy the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park with a kayak or paddleboard and make your way through the mangrove forests. Or, you can even hire a boat for the day too.
13. Drinking on Duval Street
Duval Street is so colourful, it looks amazing!
Why can’t all streets be like this?!
Tourists and locals visit Duval Street for the restaurants, bars and clubs. This is where the party begins and ends!
Willie T’s serve up speciality Mojitos, and the Green Parrot Bar off Southard Street is the best spot for live music.
14. Southernmost Point Buoy
Oh you’ve got to have a photo by the Southernmost Point Buoy. I mean, did you really go to the Florida Keys if you didn’t?
Getting your pic taken here is one of the most unique things to do in the Florida Keys, and a definite must.
The buoy is more symbolic than anything, as it’s the most southerly point in the USA – and only 90 miles from Cuba!
15. Rent a boat in Marathon
How about a boat rental in Marathon? You can hire the whole boat privately here, and you get to see the beauty of Islamorada from a whole different angle. They book out fast so get in while you can.
Here’s what you can expect…
“Experience the beauty of the Florida Keys, gorgeous turquoise water, and abundant fish found in the Marathon reef! View the beautiful scenery, while experiencing the thrill of a chance to catch species such as Sailfish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Snapper, Grouper, King Mackerel, and Shark. Your tour is guided by a licensed captain in a modern open fishing style boat with t-top for shade. All the fishing rods and reels, right and left handed and all the tackle you need, as well as all other necessities including safety equipment. Your captain provides fishing instructions and casting lessons for beginners and advanced techniques for the experts. Tours are suited for both first-timers, experienced anglers, elderly, youth, families and children of all ages and are handicap friendly. So everyone is sure to have a blast as you fish with ease and comfort during this offshore charter to the Marathon reef.”– BOOK HERE ON GETYOURGUIDE
16. Do the Fury Ultimate Adventure
If you’re looking for things to do in the Florida Keys, the Fury Ultimate Adventure needs to come to the top of your list. Sign up to a day out with them and you can go snorkeling, parasailing, have a go on the jet skis, and basically just have lots of fun for a whole day.
Check out the Fury Ultimate Adventure excursions here, but book fast to secure your dates!
17. Hire kayaks and explore
You can go kayaking through the mangroves in the Florida Keys, for a stunning adventure. There are a few companies offering kayaks on the Florida Keys, but book in advance to get the dates you want.
If you’re nervous in a kayak, or you’ve never tried it before, then book onto a guided kayak adventure for the safety, and tour guide benefits.
On that note: this Key West Watersports pass looks pretty sweet!
18. Go to Key West Butterfly House
At the Key West Butterfly House and Nature Conservatory, you can walk in among the butterflies and colourful birds that call the house home. This is a great spot for some photos in among Florida’s beautiful nature.
Make sure to pop in and see Rhett and Scarlett, their awesome love bird flamingos too.
Click here to check out their live webcam. Feels really weird to be able to see the people and animals wandering about!
19. Go on a floating Tiki boat
The floating tiki boat is pretty epic when it comes to things to do in the Florida Keys. Sign up for a day out on the floating tiki boat and you’ll get to watch the sunset from a two-hour cruise, with drinks too.
“We will cruise around the Historic Seaport, pass Sunset Pier and Mallory Square ending with the magnificent Key West Sunset. All cruises are BYOB for alcoholic beverages, food or snacks. We provide USCG certified captains, coolers with ice, water, sodas, cups, blender, and Bluetooth radio to play your favorite tunes.”– FLOATING TIKI BOAT
20. Drag show and karaoke
Go to 801 Bourbon Street for the drag show and karaoke if you’re looking for something fun to do in the Florida Keys in the evening. Open 7 days a week with drinks deals and all kinds of events, this is the place to be if you’re looking for some fun after the sun.
There’s always something going on here but check the listings to find out exactly what before you go.
By the way, if you like drag queens how about this drag queen guided pub crawl in the Florida Keys?
21. Eco Safari Tour with Snorkelling
This eco safari tour with snorkelling lets you drive your own small speedboat through the back country of Key West to a picturesque sandbar set in the area’s turquoise waters. Then you can snorkel among the mangroves, and explore the area as a local too.
As you travel you may see ospreys – the only bird of prey to survive entirely on fish. There’s also the opportunity to spot manatees feeding on mangroves, sharks swimming beneath you, and pelicans diving for their meals.
FAQs about Things to Do in the Florida Keys
1. What are the unique things to do in the Florida Keys?
If you are up for something unique to do in the Florida Keys, you must try activities such as feeding tarpons at Robbie’s, camping at Dry Tortugas National Park, driving around through car rentals, swimming with dolphins, and brewing your own beer at Florida keys brewing company.
2. Are there free things to do in the Florida Keys?
Sightseeing the beach views and scenic landscapes that are very accessible to you are enough of the free things to do in the Florida Keys. You could also stroll along community/public parks which is a relaxing leisure thing to do. Other than that, what’s left are relatively cheap activities such as such as camping at KOA campsite or Bahia Honda State Park for as low as 20$ a day.
3. What things should I try to do during a weekend in the Florida Keys?
If your time going to the Florida Keys is limited to a weekend’s worth of days, you could resort to motorbike tours or car rentals. This gives you all the time to tour around the place while also having allowance to do water and land activities such as hiking, snorkelling, parasailing, and more.
4. What are the best things to do in Florida Keys with families?
Aside from its beaches, Florida Keys got a lot in store for vacationing families. Spots such as Crane Point Museum and Nature Centre, Key West Garden Club, Truman Little White House, Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy, Founders Park, and History of Diving Museum are a must-visit. You all could also enjoy swimming with dolphins which is an activity that is available to every island of Florida Keys.
Some of these offer a mix of nature and history so not only do you enjoy and relax but also learn an interactive way during meaningful time with your family
5. What are the things to do in the Florida Keys when it rains?
A rainy day in Florida is a call for enjoyable indoor activities. You could start with visiting museums such as The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Harry S. Truman Little White House, Key West Shipwreck, Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage, and U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime.
Another good idea of a thing to do is to spend time with adorable animals in aquariums and conservatory sites such as Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters, Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and Turtle Hospital.
6. What things should I do in Florida Keys at night?
Two words. Duval Street. There’s no better way of spending a night in the Florida Keys than visiting Duval street located along Key West. It should be everyone’s go-to after the sun sets and do things like bar hopping, strolling around, shopping in stalls, dancing to clubs, and so many more. Drinks and dancing can’t get any better!
7. What things should I do while driving to the Florida Keys?
Driving around the Florida Keys is also one of the activities that visitors to consider. The itinerary is needed to be planned ahead. For starters, you can drive by places such as Bahia Honda State, Seven Mile Bridge, sunset at Mallory Square, and stop by restaurants where you can eat key lime pie (Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe, Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen II, etc.).
More things to do in the Florida Keys
- How about going on a hop on-hop off trolley tour around the Old Town?
- Go parasailing in Key West.
- The Bone Island Pub Crawl.
- Rum and Reggae Afternoon Snorkel and Sunset
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.
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