How to Enjoy the Florida Keys
While there are many places to snorkel in the Keys, one of the best is the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on Key Largo which is an underwater park with much history. Comprised of more than 70 miles and containing parts of the only living coral reef in the continental US, the park offers the chance to swim with tropical fish as well as spot Florida seabirds and potentially other underwater wildlife. There’s even a 4,000-pound underwater statue, called Christ of the Abyss and remains of a 17th Spanish shipwreck. Visitors can also rent kayaks and paddle boards or take glass-bottom boat tours.
The Keys is also famous for its key lime pie. Named after the tiny limes that were naturalized in the Florida Keys, this creamy tangy pie can be found throughout the keys generally comprised of graham cracker or pastry crust. Some shops offer chocolate key lime and others serve it as ice cream or on a pop stick.
The Key deer, found only in the Florida Keys, is the smallest deer species in North America. They can be found at the National Key Deer Refuge spread across 9,200 acres, including freshwater wetlands and mangrove forests. This is a nice place to hike and see deer.
If you’re bold and like a challenge, you might want to try hand-feeding a tarpon at Robbie’s Marina. Buy a bucket fish from the shop, pick a spot on the dock, and wait for those fish with big teeth to jump up and throw them their meal.
If this particular activity made you faint, then consider visiting a dolphin camp where these gentle creatures enjoy being patted and rubbed. Visitors can actually get in the water with them and play and learn about their habits.
Visit the Turtle Hospital in Marathon where sick turtles are rehabilitated. While there can be over 20 different turtles in the ward at any given time, there are 12 permanent residents. If you time your visit during hatchling season, you might even be able to see some babies. Tours are scheduled seven days a week.
True, it’s technically just north of the Keys, the nearby Everglades offers airboat rides for adventure seekers looking to spot alligators, manatees, eagles, crocodiles, Burmese pythons, and other exotic Floridian wildlife.