Last updated on March 31st, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Islamorada Sunrise fishing guide
Islamorada Sunrise

7 Things to Do in the Florida Keys

Don’t leave home without Florida Rambler’s comprehensive Florida Keys Mile-Marker Guide

Trail for kayaks and canoes through mangroves at Pennekamp State Park

Paddling

There are hundreds of paddle trails for you to explore from your kayaks, canoes and paddle boards. You can just pull off the Overseas Highway almost anywhere and launch your boat. A few special spots we like are in the primitive back-country islands of the Lower Keys, and no kayak guide knows that area better than Bill Keough at Big Pine Kayak Adventures. You might also want to arm yourself with Capt. Bill’s excellent Florida Keys Paddling Guide or Bill and Mary Burnham’s Florida Keys Paddling Atlas.

Related article: 12 Great Kayak Outings in the Florida Keys


Bicycing one of the scenic bridges on the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail from MM 15 to MM 5.
Bicycing one of the scenic bridges on the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail from MM 15 to MM 5.

Bicycling 

Work has accelerated on The Overseas Heritage Bicycle Trail, which, when complete, will extend 107 uninterrupted miles from Key Largo to Key West. You can experience much of that trail today, and the most enjoyable sections span old bridges abandoned to bicyclists, walkers and fishing, For urban exploration, peddling through the streets of Key West’s Old Town is another great bicycle adventure.

Related article: Biking the Overseas Highway Heritage Trail


The undersea world at Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas

Snorkeling

The most popular destination for snorkeling is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, but that’s not all there is to see in the Keys. For something different, paddle your kayak out to the lighthouse off Marathon and snorkel with the fishes, or try a snorkeling expedition to Looe Key Reef off Big Pine Key. You can join a snorkeling expedition to the reef from Bahia Honda State Park or outfitters on Big Pine Key

Related link: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park


Fishing balcony on the bridge
Fishing balcony on the bridge

Fishing

Many of the old bridges in the Keys have been retro-fitted with fishing balconies, and these bridges draw fishers 24/7. We recommend trying the Channel 5 and Channel 3 bridges that link Lower Matecumbe Key to Long Key (Islamorada). Fishing charters, including party boats, deep-sea charters and private flats guides, are available at marinas throughout the Keys, the most popular being Whale Harbor, Bud ‘n’ Mary’s and the Marathon Lady in Marathon.

Related article: Bridge fishing in the Florida Keys


Florida Keys beach

Beaches

Those of us who live here don’t think of the Keys as a beach destination, unless we’re in a boat and anchor out on the many sandbars and remote islands of the Keys. But there are more beaches here than you might think. We especially love the award-winning beaches at Bahia Honda State Park, and I personally have an affection for the beach at Curry Hammock State Park.

Related article: Best Beaches in the Florida Keys


Jolly Roger Travel Park
The premium tent sites are on an “island”.

Camping 

Warm days and breezy nights make spring the ideal camping season in the Florida Keys. Savvy campers have already snapped up the campsites at the four state parks in the Keys, but there are dozens of private campgrounds from Key Largo to Key West that have sites available at reduced rates, whether your are in a tent or RV.

Related articles: Best Tent Camping in the Florida Keys;

For campsite availability at state parks, check ReserveAmerica for Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Long Key State Park, Curry Hammock State Park and Bahia Honda State Park.

Private options include Sugarloaf Key KOA and Sunshine Key Resort and Marina in the Lower Keys, the Jolly Roger Travel Park and Fiesta Key RV Resort in the Middle Keys, and Key Largo Kampground in the Upper Keys.


Sunset Grille tiki bar
Sunset Grille, Marathon

Libations

Seafood restaurants and the ubiquitous tiki bar dominate the dining scene in the Florida Keys, but travelers should not bypass the legendary pit stops and offbeat hole in the wall symbolic of the Keys lifestyle. From Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen and Hobo’s in Key Largo to Blue Heaven and the Hogfish Grill on Stock Island, you will find a happy place to graze.

Related article: Legendary Road Food in the Keys

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