Florida is one of the most visited states in the country, as well as one of the most popular destinations in the world.
And while Orlando is known as the tourism capital of America, there are many other places you should check out. The Florida Keys is one of those places.
This little string of islands at the southern tip of Florida is breathtaking. There’s so much to do in the Keys that you should plan to spend at least a week, if not more, exploring the islands.
So what are the best things to do at the southernmost point of the US? Keep reading to start planning your trip now.
1. Visit Key West
You can’t visit the Keys without hitting up the furthest island: Key West. Key West is the ultimate destination for tropical travelers, boasting many places to stay, things to do, and spots to eat and drink.
Plus, you can take a photo at the monument that celebrates the southernmost point of the continental United States.
2. Take a Helicopter Tour
The best way to experience the Keys is to take to the skies. Florida Keys helicopter tours will give you a one-of-a-kind view of the islands and coral reefs that make up this beautiful region. Opt for the Pigeon Key / Lighthouse Tour to catch a glimpse of some of the best lighthouses on the islands.
3. Go Snorkeling
The other way to truly experience the Florida Keys is by heading below the surface. The extensive coral reefs along the islands in the keys are beautiful and full of life. You’ll be amazed by the biodiversity hiding just a few feet under the surface of the water.
4. Paddle to Smaller Islands
On many of the islands, you can rent kayaks and paddle out to some of the smaller, uninhabited islands located just a few hundred yards, or even a few miles, offshore.
These smaller islands, otherwise known as the Florida Keys secret spots, offer the perfect way to escape the crowds and have a nice picnic with a view.
5. Find an Island Hike
No, there aren’t any mountains in the Keys. But many of the islands offer short hikes with grand views of the ocean and an opportunity for easy, enjoyable exercise.
6. Catch Your Dinner
The Florida Keys are known to sportsmen and women as the sportfishing capital of the world. The fishing here is incredible, whether you charter a boat, cast your line from the shore, or fish the flats.
You can expect to catch many delicious species, such as Redfish, Kingfish, and Permit. Tarpon is also one of the most sought-after fish in the region, but mainly for sport and not as food.
7. Visit Bahia Honda State Park
Looking to enjoy the Keys with kids? Check out Bahia Honda State Park for a picturesque place to swim, snorkel, kayak, search for birds and shells, and stargaze at night.
8. Check Out Ernest Hemingway’s Home
Looking to enjoy a piece of history? The literary geeks among us can’t miss the Ernest Hemingway Museum, located in his old home on Key West. It’s now a National Historic Landmark and is worth making the stop to check out the architecture along with the nearby gardens.
9. Spot a Florida Keys Deer
Yes, there are deer in the Florida Keys. Keys deer, as they are known, are much smaller than any other deer in the country. Hit up one of the many island hiking trails and there’s a good chance you’ll spot one.
10. Swim In the Country’s First Undersea Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the country’s first official park located entirely underwater. This park was created to preserve the coral reefs and the aquatic life that depends on them. If you are staying in Key Largo, this spot is a must.
11. Check out the Key West Butterfly Conservatory
Looking for another way to enjoy time in the Keys with kids? Visiting the Key West Butterfly Conservatory is perfect if the weather happens to be rainy.
With dozens of butterfly species fluttering around an exotic-plant-filled environment, kids and adults alike will be amazed.
12. Make the Trip to Dry Tortugas National Park
Are you hoping to visit every National Park in the country during your lifetime? Over 60 of them dot the country, and one of the hardest to reach is Dry Tortugas National Park.
It’s located 70 miles west of Key West and requires either a ferry ride or a short flight. On the tiny island, you’ll find a historic fort as well as a campground, allowing you to enjoy a night spent surrounded by the ocean.
13. Relax by the Beach
Of course, most of your time in the keys will naturally be spent on the beach. With many amazing beaches on each island, it’s hard not to find a great spot to lay in the sand and soak up the sun.
If you are staying in Marathon, check out Sombrero Beach as well as Curry Hammock State Park.
14. Stop by the Key West Aquarium
Keep your kid’s education going strong, even on vacation, by visiting the Key West Aquarium. This historic attraction has been wowing visitors for over 70 years thanks to a chance to pet stingrays and to experience the local wildlife up close and personal.
15. Camp at Long Key State Park
Sure, the Florida Keys boast amazing beachfront hotels that offer all the luxuries and amenities you could desire on vacation. But there’s no better way to enjoy life on these islands than by camping out under the stars, listening to the sound of the ocean as you drift off to sleep.
Multiple parks and campgrounds are available throughout the Keys. Long Key State Park allows you to set up your tent or park your RV just a few feet away from the water.
Enjoying the Florida Keys
This is just a tiny sampling of what you could do in the Florida Keys. It would be very easy to spend a month in the Keys and not experience all that the region has to offer. When you plan your trip, make sure to give yourself enough time to enjoy it all.
Looking for more tips like this? Be sure to visit our blog today to keep reading.