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13 Essential Travel Tips for the Florida Keys You NEED Before You Go

Here are my top travel tips for the Florida Keys to help you plan and make the most of your holiday in Florida. It’s an amazing place to be, but it helps to be prepared!

The Florida Keys offers beautiful beaches and lots of adventures. There’s so much to do and see in the Keys though, that you need to read my travel tips for the Florida Keys before you go.

Key West day

I’ve answered all the main questions about the Florida Keys I’ve been asked over the years, and a few I’ve just made up that I thought you’d like to know. I want to help you have the best trip to the Florida Keys possible!

So, here are all my travel tips for the Florida Keys for you to enjoy.

Travel tips for the Florida Keys

If the answer to your question isn’t here, just let me know in the comments below. I love to give travel advice for the Florida Keys!

1. Where are the Florida Keys?

The Florida Keys are a series of tropical islands that are located off the southern coast of Florida. The islands begin about 15 miles south of Miami and continue for over 120 miles. Key West, Marathon, and Key Largo are a few of the most popular islands found in the Florida Keys.

2. How do I get to the Florida Keys?

The fastest way to get to the Florida Keys is definitely flying to the islands from one of the Florida airports – either Tampa, Fort Lauderdale or Miami. However, there is another option…

One of the most unique things about the Florida Keys is that it is possible to drive to the islands via the Florida Keys Overseas Highway which stretches 113 miles from the mainland of Florida well into the Keys.

Florida Keys Travel Tips

Travelling on the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West will give you the opportunity to see some of the most varied and beautiful scenery in the state of Florida. The highway includes 42 bridges that cross the ocean between each island. It also travels through an area of water-rooted mangroves and another area populated by grand pine trees. 

This would be great as part of a longer Florida road trip – click the link to find out the top spots to visit. If you want travel tips for the Florida Keys, then driving there would have to be the number one!

3. What are the Florida Keys known for?

The Florida Keys are located on a coral cay archipelago. This makes the Keys an excellent place for diving and snorkelling. Hundreds of thousands of people travel to the Florida Keys every year to partake in the diving and snorkelling among the abundant wildlife in the coral reefs surrounding the Keys.

You’ll easily find diving companies and schools on almost every island in the Florida Keys. Each island offers its own unique underwater attractions that you can dive amongst including extraordinary reef formations and a variety of shipwrecks to explore.

You could also try SNUBA in the Florida Keys, where you don’t have to have all the diving training but get to go deep. Check out this half-day SNUBA experience for more details.

Tips for the Florida Keys

In addition to recreational water activities, the Florida Keys are home to lots of unique attractions. Each island has its own arts and culture to experience but there is no shortage of arts, theatres, museums, and activities to check out in the Keys. 

4. Can I go diving in the Florida Keys?

Yes! Diving and snorkelling in the Florida Keys is also a great opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety or marine wildlife. These activities are some of the most popular in the Keys.

Divers in the area encounter angelfish, barracudas, groupers, moray eels, grunts, and damselfish as well as a plethora of other wildlife species. 

Activities like this 3-hour Key West Catamaran and Snorkelling tour are a great way to experience snorkelling in a safe way, with a company who knows what they’re doing.

“Enjoy a day exploring the beautiful waters of the Florida Keys on a luxurious catamaran. Go snorkelling in tropical waters, and try jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, and paddle-boarding.

– CATAMARAN TOUR ON GETYOURGUIDE (click for prices)

The most important travel tip for the Florida Keys is to get out on the water!


Watch my video for more fun ideas and travel tips for the Florida Keys


5. Can I go fishing in the Florida Keys?

The Florida Keys are also famous for the fishing opportunities that you can find on the islands. In fact, Islamorada is known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World. Islamorada’s location uniquely creates a wide diversity of fish that can be caught for sport.

In addition, the powerful Gulf Stream is located about ten to twenty miles off the shores of most of the islands in the Keys. This current brings seasonal fish to the islands such as sailfish, marlin, and tuna. 

There are a number of companies that provide fishing tours throughout the Keys. You can also use similar companies to engage in deep sea fishing outside of the Keys. If you’re fishing with one of these companies, you will not need a fishing license. However, a saltwater fishing license if required to fish independently in the Florida Keys.

6. What is the ‘Dry Tortugas National Park’?

Key West is home to lots of parks but probably the most famous is the Dry Tortugas National Park. The US National Park is made up of seven small islands surrounding Key West. Within the park is the historic Fort Jefferson which served as a prison during the Civil War.

Florida Keys Travel Tips

Take the time to tour the fort and learn about the history of the area. The beaches in Dry Tortugas National Park are breathtaking with powdery white sand and crystal blue waters. They’re the perfect place to spend an afternoon on the beach. 

7. How can I experience nature in the Florida Keys?

A variety of eco tours are offered throughout the Florida Keys. A great option is Garl’s Coastal Kayaking Everglades. Almost the entirety of the Florida Keys lies within the Everglade National Park. The tours offered through Garl’s allow for hiking, fresh water paddling, and saltwater paddling. It is one of the best ways to really see the wildlife and beauty in the everglades.

What to do florida Keys

There are multiple locations throughout the Florida Keys that offer dolphin tours so that you can watch dolphins in the natural habitats. In some places you may even be able to touch, swim, and interact with dolphins. 

Check out these eco tours in the Florida Keys for more ideas…

8. What should I eat in the Florida Keys?

Since the Florida Keys are islands, plan to eat lots of seafood. The Keys have some specific seafood varieties that they are known for.

– Key West pink shrimp is one the most popular options in the Florida Keys. It is often described as sweeter than other varieties.

best restaurants florida

– Stone crabs are also popular in the Keys during the stone crab season which lasts from October 15 to May 15 every year.

– Fresh fish is also available year around.

There is no lack of amazing seafood restaurants throughout the Keys, in fact I’ve nailed down some of the best restaurants in the Florida Keys for your trip. Also, Key Lime Pie is a BIG deal here. Check out this Key Lime Piebicycle tour to make sure you get the best ones!

You want my travel advice for the Florida Keys? Eat as much as possible!

9. Are water sports available in the Florida Keys?

Yes!

There are a variety of water sports and activities in the Florida Keys.

travel tips in the florida keys

Boating, sailing, and kayaking are popular choices. There are designated areas where you can jet ski and ski. Parasailing is very popular in the Florida Keys as well. Whether you are fishing, diving, kayaking, or parasailing, there are tons of options for an adventure on the water throughout the Florida Keys.

Key West and Key Largo offer the widest variety of options to choose from.

10. What other activities in the Florida Keys are there?

Key West is one of the most popular and well-known islands in the Florida Keys. With lots of free and family-oriented activities, this island is a popular destination for family groups. 

You can spend a day in Key West, a month, or just do as some do, and go and live there!

There are loads of fun things to do in the Florida Keys.

activities in the florida keys

Most people visit the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, the island is Islamorada, to partake of the fishing opportunities. However, Islamorada has a lot more to offer than just fishing. Check out the Theater of the Sea when you visit Islamorada. The Theater of the Sea is a unique marine mammal park that is made up of lush lagoons and beautiful tropical gardens. It is home to dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, sea lions, stingrays, and alligators. The park is designed to let visitors get up close and personal with wildlife native to the Florida Keys. You’ll have the chance to swim with dolphins and sharks and meet sea turtles and alligators face to face.

The African Queen Canal Tour in Key Largo is a great choice. The African Queen is a historic vessel used in the 1951 movie of the same  name. Fans can now take a tour aboard the vessel through the Port Largo Canal and enjoy the views.


READ MORE: Fascinating Florida Keys Facts to Know Before You Go


11. What can you do at night in the Florida Keys?

If you’re looking for Key West nightlife then click on that link to be taken to all the best options for your evening entertainment.

If you’re looking for something a little different, then this two-hour sunset sail with live music in Key West would be a great thing to do in the evening, and give a unique perspective on Key West.

“Experience the magnificent Key West sunset from the water on this all-inclusive sailing trip. Indulge in spectacular views, unlimited drinks and appetizers, and live music. Enjoy the perfect end to your day in the Keys.”

– TWO HOUR SUNSET SAIL on GET YOUR GUIDE (click to check prices)

12. Which island should I stay on in the Florida Keys?

Each of the islands that make up the Florida Keys is beautiful and have their own unique offerings. Choosing where to stay will be influenced on the kind of vacation you are seeking.

If you are looking for a safe, family friendly location, Key West is a great option and has a wide variety of accommodations to meet every budget.

Key Largo is also a great choice for families. Both islands have lots of attractions and activities.

Serving beer in Florida Keys

If you are looking for a more leisurely stay, try Marathon which is home to multiple golf courses, marinas, and tennis clubs. Many of the most popular accommodations on Marathon are golfing and tennis resorts. Marathon is not quite as active and fast-paced as Key West and Key Largo but traveling to the other islands for a quick adventure is very easy.

While Islamorada does not have any golf courses, it is home to several small, intimate resorts. This island would be a perfect stay for a couple looking to get away for a while.

13. What else do the Florida Keys have to offer?

While the watersports, fishing, diving, and nature tours will fill the majority of your days, there are also several other options in the Florida Keys. Throughout the keys you will find beautiful spas where you can rest and relax. What better way to finish off an active day than with a relaxing hot stone massage? Whether you’re looking for body treatments, facials, or massage, there is no shortage of spa offerings on almost all of the major islands of the Florida Keys. 

Cool Houses in the Florida Keys

Fitness is also a priority in much of the Keys. If you want to maintain your fitness routine while you are on vacation, you will be able to book yoga sessions on the beach, spin classes, or even pilates. There are fitness centres Key West and Key Largo where you can purchase daily or weekly memberships as well.

While shopping is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Florida Keys, locally-owned artisan shops offer lots of unique, hand-crafted shops. Throughout the Keys you will find beautiful jewelry, shell shops, and a plethora of souvenirs. Spend an afternoon perusing the local shop and see what kind of treasures you can find.

The Florida Keys – something for everyone!

Travel tips for the florida keys

Whether you just want to relax on the beach or spend the day on the water, the Florida Keys has something for everyone. With a wide range of water activities, eco tours, beautiful scenery, and flavourful seafood, it is the perfect vacation spot to visit  this summer. 


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