Key West is an aquatic playground set in crystal-clear waters. Travelers come looking for peace, surf and adventure. The four-mile-by-two-mile island sits at the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys in the Straits of Florida, between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Key West offers more than just adventure, though. Its culture dates back to the 16th century, when Ponce de Leon first visited.
Because the island is so small, it’s easy to navigate by bicycle and foot. The only motorized vehicle you’ll need to rent is a boat or a Jet Ski, and there are numerous tours to give you a taste of everything from dolphin encounters to sunset cruises.
Scuba Dive & Snorkel
Photo by Flickr user Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten
One of the beautiful things about exploring the deeper waters that surround Key West is the opportunity to get up close and personal with the sea life. With plentiful living coral reefs blanketing the sea floor, the natural kaleidoscope of color will blow you away. There are a plethora of tours: glass-bottom boats, sailboats and luxury liners offering scuba diving and snorkeling trips. Swim with the sea turtles and take a Skipjack boat, which can graze shallow waters, to snorkel sites that are inaccessible to other boats.
Take a guided Jet Ski tour around the island—the scenic journey is perfect for guests of all ages (smaller kids can ride with an adult). Look forward to hopping off at a sandbar in the ocean to get your feet wet and take a break. Some tours include a parasail ride to make it even more memorable.
If you’ve never jetskied before, be sure the guide educates you on proper riding practices. It’s also important to wear the appropriate clothing; with Key West’s unpredictable waves, you might find yourself in the water. Not to worry if you are decked out in a life vest and wetsuit, but you’re better off saving your traditional swimwear for strolls along the beach.
Lost Shaker of Salt Adventure
Even if you’re not a Jimmy Buffett fan, this trip will probably make you one. This trip is an insider’s passage through the lands of pirates, palm trees, ships, seaplanes, moonlit waters, sand, peace and, of course, margaritas. This trip is for adults only.
Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Take a day of your Key West journey for yourself. Breathe in the fresh air, relax in the peace of the Caribbean and stroll through the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. A refuge for butterflies and birds, the air-conditioned facility is a tropical paradise. The conservatory is home to hundreds of colorful butterflies, along with an array of flowering plants and 20 exotic bird species.
Photo of Hemingway House by Flickr user amanderson2
From 1931-1940, Ernest Hemingway lived in the Spanish colonial house. Take a tour of the famed abode of the celebrated author. Visit the Earnest Hemingway Home and Museum’s polydactyl cats—some of these six-toed felines are direct descendants of Snowball, Hemingway’s own. Inside the home are actual pieces of furniture and collectibles that he and his wife collected. Visit the tropical garden that flourishes with all types of flowers, from hibiscus to water lilies.
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