After the past year of missed events and trips, people are eager to reconnect with the people and activities that matter most. In many cases, this means reconnecting with family to create new memories and strengthen bonds. The Florida Keys are a great place to satisfy this desire.
The 125-mile-long chain of islands stretching into blue-green water at the southern tip of Florida, known as the Florida Keys and Key West, is a bustling area where families have countless opportunities to reconnect and create new family memories.
Loaded with adventure, natural beauty and history, visitors can wander among wreck artifacts, kayak among shining mangrove islands, “meet” sea turtle patients in the first veterinary hospital in the world. world for sea turtles and explore remote national parks. The chain of islands offers countless opportunities to reconnect with the Keys through shared experiences and memorable adventures.
Florida Keys and Key West hosted my stay in the Keys. All opinions are mine.
1. Enjoy a family road trip
What better way to reconnect than together in one vehicle or multiple cars, all stopping in the same places? You’ll find miles of stunning, open seascapes with the ocean and sky as far as the eye can see, and don’t forget the endless unique road stops to explore.
Five distinct destinations are featured in a family-friendly Keys road trip: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine, the Lower Keys, and the southernmost island in the continental United States, Key West.
Each offers its own ambiance and distinct pleasures. Any of these could be your vacation home, and all offer reconnection opportunities.
2. Drive on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway
The shared adventure begins with simple driving on the famous Florida Keys Overseas Highway, featuring over 40 bridges. The iconic Seven Mile Bridge is a sight to see. The designated All-American Road in Florida is a great way to start your reconnection.
3. Explore the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary
The Keys encompass four national wildlife refuges, two remote national parks, 10 beautiful state parks, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary offers protected waters surrounding the entire chain of subtropical islands, including the only living barrier reef in the continental United States.
These open spaces provide seemingly endless opportunities to reconnect with the natural world and with each other. Enjoy the time spent in nature and share unforgettable experiences with your friends and family.
4. Visit the Florida Keys State Parks
The most protected, secluded, scenic, and well-maintained beaches in the Keys can be found in the region’s ten state parks.
The most popular are John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, Bahia Honda State Park in Lower Keys, Indian Key Historic State Park in Islamorada, and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West.
Each park has unique landscapes, amenities, and enjoyable opportunities for early morning walking or hiking. Campgrounds and picnic areas provide shady respites. Florida State Parks are a great place to reconnect with the family.
5. Discover the national parks
The Keys are home to two remote national parks. Biscayne National Park is located when you enter the keys, then at the very end of the keys, 70 miles west of Key West is Dry Tortugas National Park.
Biscayne National Park includes islands, coral reefs, and coastal mangrove forests in the northern Florida Keys.
Dolphins, turtles and pelicans live in the Biscayne Bay Lagoon. The Underwater Maritime Heritage Trail connects wrecks and other dive sites.
Dry Tortugas National Park includes seven islands and protected coral reefs. The Garden Key is home to beaches and 19th-century Fort Jefferson. It is only accessible by boat or seaplane.
Shortly after leaving Key West, you’ll be out of cell range, so you’re guaranteed a day where everyone is unplugged and enjoying nature and each other. Pick up your phone to take photos of this fantastic national park.
These two national parks offer many open spaces to explore and reconnect with family members.
Pro tip: If you are prone to motion sickness, take Dramamine before departure.
6. Make a splash with water activities
The soothing salt water of the Keys is refreshing and revitalizing. Families can experience the serene joy of living in Keys by trying out yoga, kitesurfing, wakeboarding, aqua cycling or kayaking. An eco-tour to spot dolphins or frolicking sea turtles is fun for all ages.
Vacationers can explore the offshore islands of Indian and Pigeon Keys and snorkel in warm water with turquoise blue reflections. They can try the cross between snorkeling and scuba diving (SNUBA) at several locations in the Keys.
7. Cast a line with fishing
One of the Keys’ most popular action-packed adventures for the whole family is fishing. Whether along the reef, in the deep blue waters or in the hinterland, you can enjoy some of the best saltwater fishing in the world.
Friends and families can fish together on private half-day or full-day charters. Many restaurants offer to cook your catch for your pleasure.
Fishing “party boats” are also available and provide education, bait and more.
Pro tip: Remember to put into practice sustainable best practices to conserve the unique ecosystem and fisheries of the Florida Keys for future generations.
8. Walk along the beach together
There are beautiful beaches for swimming or just strolling by the sea. Walking together on the beach is a great way to reconnect and make memories, and it’s the perfect activity for all ages.
9. Learn about historic sites
In the Keys, there is a story that fascinates everyone: tales of pirates and sunken treasures, Henry Flagler’s Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad, Civil War forts and even the “Little One”. White House ”by former President Harry S. Truman.
Follow in Ernest Hemingway’s footsteps as you tour his home and learn about the places he wrote, drank, and fished in the 1930s.
The Old Town district of Key West is the largest predominantly timber historic district in the United States.
Visit historic Fort Zachary Taylor or Fort East Martello. Both are close by and provide opportunities for historical learning.
10. Bask in nature
There are endless ways to reconnect with nature and family in the Keys.
Family groups can explore lush botanical gardens, unique aquariums, a butterfly conservatory, turtle hospital, or a wildlife refuge that protects tiny native Key deer.
A playground for all ages, most vacationers spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying the vivid and colorful landscapes, warm, fragrant breezes, and miles and miles of the Keys’ open space.
11. Give a helping hand to volunteerism
Spend time making a difference and take part in a family “volunteering” adventure. Helping others or the environment is a great way to reconnect with the Keys.
You can help preserve the only living barrier reef in the continental United States through volunteerism. You can also donate time with Habitat for Humanity, the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, or various other locations. Learn more about volunteering here.
12. Taste the food
Unique dishes, fresh fish, and the family around the table. What better way to reconnect in the Keys? Sharing a meal is a way to connect and create memories.
The Florida Keys are a foodie’s paradise. There is a restaurant for every taste and every wallet.
During our visit we tried different fish dishes each evening. Don’t forget the dessert. Your vacation is not complete without eating a piece of lime pie.
13. Watch the sunset together
Gather in Mallory Square to watch the sunset. You are unlikely to find a more beautiful sunset anywhere.
14. Take a family photo at the southernmost point
Take a short walk to the southernmost point in the United States and take a family photo in front of the monument.
15. Find the perfect accommodation
Consider a spacious villa or condo so the family can share kitchens and living spaces while still having private bedrooms. If you’re staying in Islamorada, check out the Pines and Palms Resort. Their Tarpon and Bonefish villas have two and three bedrooms and you have private beach access for your family.
Camping is also important in the Keys. Most state parks welcome campers.
Pro tip: Dry Tortugas National Park allows camping on request and they are usually booked a year in advance.
Reconnect in the keys
The Florida Keys are a great place to reconnect with family, nature and adventure. Wherever you visit the Florida Keys, you will find simple pleasures and fun activities to share with the special people in your life. At the same time, you will create memories that will last a lifetime.
You can learn more about how to # reconnect keys by contacting Florida Keys Visitor Information.