It’s been snowing for days now, and the temperatures in different parts of the country are the coldest they’ve been all winter. If you’re like us, this has you dreaming of a tropical paradise somewhere far to the south. Florida’s Keys are as untouched by Old Man Winter as ever, and we’ve got to say we’re pretty jealous. Regardless of the season, Florida’s Keys are the absolute definition of perfection, and this is why…
11. The Laid Back Attitudes
Maybe it’s something in the water, or maybe it’s the excess of Vitamin D, but there’s something to be said about a place with people this friendly. Regardless of the key, people are friendly and ready to come up to you to chat about anything. It goes beyond the “southern hospitality” many talk about. It’s more of a sense of community and holistic pride that they have, and you can always expect to feel welcome, regardless of where you go. There’s a reason why people come back to live or get married here at some point in their lives.
10. The Long Ride on The Bridge
The bridge system in the Keys is the only one of its kind in America. It connects island after island as it stretches off into the distance. It’s easily the longest bridge in the country, and our challenge to you is to set the time aside to stop at every little island that you’re able to along the way and see what they’re like. Sure, there may not be much to see on some of them, but you never know what you may see or find. No need to pass up an experience.
9. Trop Rock
One thing that natives of the keys are proud of is their background in Trop Rock. You can expect to hear a ton of Jimmy Buffet-esque music and a variety of acts that feature everything from bongos to washboards. You never know what instruments these bands are going to pull out, but they always make it work and it’s perfect for setting the mood on a warm evening. Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with the genre and find yourself downloading all that you can handle.
8. Lounging on the Beach
What puts the beaches in the Keys above the other beaches in Florida? Well, to begin with, the cold rarely, if ever, reaches all the way down to the Keys, meaning that there’s never a bad day to relax on a sun chair in the sun. Along with this, there are plenty of beach bars that you can walk up to without having to move too far. It’s hard to pin down what makes the beaches down there so much nicer, but it’s a combination of a little bit of everything good about life.
7. Dry Tortugas National Park
We’d put in an argument that Totugas National Park is one of the Top 5 National Parks in the entire country, and it would be hard to argue that. Sure, you won’t find miles upon miles of hiking trails, but you’ll find a piece of American History that is often forgotten about, and the preservation efforts put forth make it a lot of fun to explore. The blue waters surrounding it stretch on for miles, and you have to go to the top of the structure and take in the view. It’s truly breathtaking.
6. Stargazing on Big Pine Key
The most amazing part is that there aren’t even many hotels on this key, which means you won’t have to worry about many distractions or tourists ruining the tranquility of the night. One of the lone options for lodgings is the Barnacle Bed & Breakfast, which is never over-saturated with people. A night under the stars on the sands of the Atlantic is absolutely amazing. Just sit back and let nature give you a show.
5. Snorkels For Days
The warm, picturesque waters of the Keys hold plenty of secrets and scenes to explore below the surface. From Key Largo all the way down to Key West there are different groups will take you out to the best shipwrecks and sunken artifacts of the region. Aside from this, there are miles upon miles of beautiful reefs, both artificial and natural, to check out the magnificent array of fish and other sea creatures. It’s pretty amazing to think about everything that could be down there when it’s so peaceful above the surface.
4. Biking Through Key West
Well, this picture shows one of the more unique traditions in Key West, albeit a newer one, but the natives and tourists alike love the annual zombie ride, and the scene that ensues. Even if you don’t like biking in a large group while dressed up like a zombie, it seems like everyone is always riding a bike to get around the city. Ride from beach to beach to bar, but just remember that you can still get a DUI on a bike… hey, at least it will make for a great story later, right? The bars are amazing, by the way. Check out Sloppy Joe’s Bar and Margaritaville!
3. Some of the Best Fishing in America
No, no, it’s not all about paying a ridiculous amount of money for a charter boat to take you out to deep waters. While there are plenty of options to do that if you want, that’s not really what makes the area around the Keys some of the best in the country. There are literally miles upon miles of piers to be fished off of, and it’s not unusual to see people fishing off of unique flat boats or canoes out between the islands. There are a wide range of fish to be caught in the tropical waters, so who knows what you might pull out?
2. Every Key Opens A New Door
This statement goes figuratively and metaphorically. Every one of the Florida Keys has a unique identity, and with those different ideas comes experiences that you can only find while on that respective key. Where Big Pine offers natural serenity that seems untouched at times, Key West offers a vibrant atmosphere where culture meets the sea. The crazy part is that there are a little over 1,700 islands in the keys. Obviously some are a little more inaccessible than others, but that’s a whole lot of opportunity for exploration and experiences to find.
1. The Conch Republic
The Conch Republic has a vibrant and rebellious history that you won’t find in many places across America. If you don’t know the story of Key West’s adoption of the name, you can find out here. That passion for the place they’re from has shaped Key West into one of the most unique cities in America. Whether it’s the signs that read “Cocks Are Safe Here” or the ridiculous traditions of the area, there’s something that’s addictive about the place. The people are welcoming, the weather is gorgeous, and the entire city is one of a kind. Whether you’re just stopping by on your way to a cruise or staying here for the length of an entire vacation, you’re going to love what you find in the Conch Republic.
Have any stories about the keys, or things you recommend people do while they’re there? Share in the comment box below!