Don’t sweat the spiders. I don’t think they are any worse in the Keys than elsewhere in Florida (or Minnesota, for that matter). More important, spider webs play an important role in controlling mosquitoes (and other bugs).
Spread across 12 waterfront acres in the Florida Keys, Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort is a collection of upscale tropical Victorian-style homes divided into multi-story two- and three-bedroom suites with full kitchens and water views. There’s a private beach that used to have a problem with seagrass washing ashore and littering the beach, but the resort constructed an eco-friendly seagrass fence offshore to keep the beach in pristine condition.
That night after cleaning up, we headed out on a boat for Wind & Wine Sunset Sail with Danger Charters. This isn’t your average booze cruise; it’s run by a handful of men who could easily double as stand-up comics. They make sure your glass is never empty and that there’s never a moment devoid of jokes.
At the far end of the Keys, in Key West, the Waldorf Astoria Casa Marina is only a few years shy of celebrating its centennial anniversary, and offers guests chic, modern accommodation with a touch of old-fashioned Key West thrown in. The resort overlooks a private beach on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Keys, with palm trees dotting the coast. The rooms use a clean, white color palette and look out on the pool, the beach, or the surrounding neighborhood. There’s also a fitness center, yoga classes, and an on-site spa, and for guests who want to get even more spoiled, in-room spa services. The pool has ocean views and is encircled by palm trees, and the historic old town is just a short walk away.
Your camp box should also include a clothesline for emergency tie-downs anchored by easily obtained gallon jugs of water. Freeze those jugs before you leave home, and you also have ice for your cooler, not to mention pure water for your coffee or tea.
Playa Largo Resort & Spa (97450 Overseas Hwy.; 305-853-1001) is the first newly built hotel in Key Largo in over 20 years, bringing with it a touch of unprecedented luxury. The resort overlooks the tranquil Florida Bay and boasts four superb dining venues and spacious guest rooms. Current rates from $349.
Scuba diving and snorkeling in Key West is one of the area’s most popular activities. Known as an excellent dive destination, make sure your Key West vacation package includes a tour of the beautiful underwater world of Key West. You can explore colorful coral reefs that are home to many species of tropical fish, explore sunken shipwrecks, or try an exciting night dive where you can experience Key West nightlife underwater.
I’ve been camping in the Keys for 30 years, and my first choice for tent camping are a select few oceanfront tent sites at Bahia Honda State Park. But those eight sites (only eight!) are extremely popular and a challenge to book.
Whether you’re looking for a rugged adventure or just want to save a few dollars, campgrounds in the Keys are as diverse as the islands themselves – from primitive and no frills to sites that can accommodate the largest recreational vehicles. Book your trip early, because these places fill up fast.
Here is a top Orlando resort that often will put up inclusive packages. See special offers and reviews for Floridays. (Note: special offers do change and are time sensitive but often include breakfast and activities)
Coral Lagoon Resort Villas & Marina by KeysCaribbean This is a Preferred property. They provide excellent service, a great value, and have awesome reviews from Booking.com guests. They might pay Booking.com a little more to be in this program.
The 311 rooms of the Casa Marina Resort have a light, sophisticated, but still island-y feel, with neutral tones, sheer curtains, and sleek hardwood or tiled floors. The resort also offers great in-room amenities, including free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and espresso machines. Although bathrooms aren’t anything grand (just simple walk-in showers or shower/tub combos), they’re clean and sleek. The resort’s grounds are beautiful, with palm trees and lush foliage, and lead to a rare amenity in Key West — a swimmable beach. Although it’s too rocky to wade into the water, a long dock extends to sandier bottoms.
Bahia Honda State Park, 36850 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key, FL 33043. For park information, call the ranger station at (305) 872 2353. For reservations, call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.), TDD (888) 433-0287 or book online through the park’s web site floridastateparks.org/park/Bahia-Honda
Bob, I don’t know if you’re still checking these comments – but I have a conundrum. I originally booked a campsite at Boyd’s in Key West for a Saturday/Sunday in February 2017 and was grateful to find anything! Now tonight I managed to snag a campsite at Bahia Honda for the same days, but it’s #77, in the dreaded mosquito filled hamlet. Is Site 77 so bad that I should stick with Boyd’s?
I’ve heard so many great things about the Keys, and this showed me just how spectacular it is. The architecture is beautiful, and the sunset addict in me could just sit there for hours watching the colours change.
“We stayed in one of the dockside Ocean view suites, we would highly recommend, the view is stunning and very comfortable accommodation. The location is ideal for getting around and seeing the Key West sights.”
A Key West vacation package offers many activities to choose from including boating, cruises, ecotourism, excursions, scuba diving, snorkeling, and more. The Dry Tortugas National Park is a draw for visitors looking to experience the wilderness of Key West. History and culture buffs will enjoy Fort Jefferson, one of the oldest coastal forts in the United States. Other must-see Key West attractions include the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the Key West Aquarium, and the fascinating Dolphin Research Center.
Should you find yourself wanting to explore the middle Keys, stop at Long Key State Park. It is conveniently located between Islamorada and Marathon at mile marker 67.5. Here, you’ll find some of the best fishing in all of the Keys. When you’re ready to choose a spot, the campsite offers sixty-six full facility sites. All include picnic tables, grills, water, and electricity. For a particularly spectacular view of Long Key, make your way over to the observation tower 1.2 miles north of Golden Orb hiking trail.
Protecting Keys waters is something that matters to local scuba divers and spearfishermen. Capturing lionfish during recreational dives and weekend free-dive fishing jaunts is a regular activity. Easy to capture, safe to handle and tasty to eat! Get some during your next dive!
The mid-range Lime Tree Bay Resort is an affordable seaside oasis on a palm-shaded sandy shore in the Florida Keys. There are many amenities for relaxing including hammocks, two outdoor pools, a hot tub, barbecue grills, and on-site kayaking. Most of the 56 rooms have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, microwaves, and patios or balconies with sea views. Three-bedroom townhouses offer private garages and canal views; suites come with kitchenettes or kitchens. The remote location, though, is slow paced as the pools close at sundown and few dining options are located nearby. Both breakfast and Wi-Fi are free.
This 153-room property is located in northern Key Largo, a short drive from the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and close to shops and restaurants. Not a lot stands out, but there are a few perks — like a diver’s center on-site, an adequate spa, and a nice private beach (albeit a tiny one). Big rooms have flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and nicer decor than other mid-range chains in the area. Book a room with an ocean view to enjoy the beautiful Key Largo sunsets.
In Key Largo, the adults-only Bungalows Key Largo, a 12-acre 135-unit property billing itself as ‘luxury inclusive,’ is targeting an opening in May as the first all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys. Most rooms will average about 800 square feet and include private outdoor plunge pools or tubs. The resort will have a ‘Florida Keys chic’ design and offer facilities including two in-ground pools, five indoor and outdoor restaurants, four bars and 1,000 feet of shoreline. Rates will include lodging, food and premium beverages, hotel amenities and activities. The palm-lined bungalow resort is being launched by the developer behind Islamorada’s Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa.
Three campgrounds in the park offer 80 sites, though sites 64 to 72 are the most desirable. Amenities include bathrooms and hot showers, as well as a concession stand. Be prepared: Bahia Honda’s campgrounds get booked up to a year in advance, so plan ahead or be willing to check regularly for cancellations.
More a resort for romantics than families is the secluded tropical Island of Little palm island accessible by seaplane or boat. The resort is dedicated to quality dining and the environment is noticeably unplugged from technology and cars. The all inclusive element is achieved through resort credits is achieved by resort credits which help you get on with you romantic getaway – free of anyone under 16 years of age.
We were booked for a two-tank excursion with Dive Key West, the first (and largest) full-service dive facility in the Keys. Bob and Cece, the owners, got us all decked out in our rental equipment, then drove us to the marina where Victoria, our dive master, and Jesus, the boat captain, took us to the outer reef for a morning of fun.
While it’s Key West that has traditionally received the most attention, that’s been changing in recent years. The Moorings Village & Spa, in Islamorada, and the Little Palm Island Resort & Spa are just two examples of non-Key West–based hotels that offer over-the-top luxury, while the globally inspired Pierre’s and laid-back Lorelei’s are helping to draw more culinary-minded travelers to the Upper Keys.
On our way out of town en route to the Middle Keys, we hit up the Hemingway Home for another visit. We took a more extensive tour of the house on our last trip to Key West, but the home is just so lovely I couldn’t help but swing on through again. And it happened to be ol’ Ernest’s birthday, too!
The area plays host to Curry Hammock State Park, one of the largest natural areas left in the keys, as well as a half a dozen privately owned RV parks including Jolly Roger Travel Park, where campers can get close enough to feel the sea spray if they’re willing to shell out the $100 per night fee.
As you probably know, we are in the process of a total transformation at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa. We appreciate all of the support and interest in the status of the project, and we thank you for checking in on us.
As soon as I saw the title of this post, I was thinking about how while I’ve taken trips to Florida for vacations and to visit family since I was a kid, I have yet to visit the Keys. So had a little laugh when reading your first line. This seems like such an amazing trip; would love the opportunity to snorkel or dive in the keys. Will definitely have to add a trip to the Turtle Hospital onto the itinerary too.
Venture out to Sombrero Beach and Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and see why travelers like the destination’s sea views and culture in Florida Keys. Other favorite attractions include Audubon House and Tropical Gardens, Bahia Honda State Park and Beach, and Dolphin Research Center.
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Where the Florida Keys island chain takes a graceful westerly turn toward the sunset, the Lower Keys are home to two national wildlife refuges, a national marine sanctuary and a state park, and are surrounded by a marine environment filled with abundant terrestrial and marine wildlife. Continue »
The Florida Keys hotels are on the road to recovery since Hurricane Irma made landfall in September 2017. Here’s your guide to what’s open and where to stay in Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and the Lower Keys.
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You can click on any of the images below to get Florida Keys diving information, GPS coordinates, dive maps, images and videos relating to the many reefs and wrecks stretching the length of the Florida Keys.
The 114-room Cheeca Lodge was one of the original luxury properties on Islamorada, dating to 1946 and earning plenty of celebrity cachet over the years (high-profile guests have included George W. Bush). The property was rebuilt after a fire gutted its main building in 2009, and now has bright, spacious rooms with tropical-luxe decor and massive bathrooms. The lush grounds are especially pretty at night, with Tiki-torch-lit paths.
Then, begrudgingly, we packed our things in our rental car and tried to prolong our trip with a second visit to Morada Bay. This time, we had lunch at the Beach Cafe—and one last key lime pie—to hold us over until we got to Miami for our flight.
The Florida Keys are a prime real estate site. So, finding any spot that’s entirely secluded is pretty rare. Curry Hammock is a world of its own. Campers will find themselves whisked away to the quiet sounds of a mangrove swamp, chirping birds and a private stretch of white sand. The peaceful lull of the gentle waves only adds to its allure. If you’re looking for a quiet spot to go camping in the Florida Keys, Curry Hammock is the place for you. As the sun dips behind the horizon and the day trippers leave, you’ll be glad you stayed.
Hampton Inn Key Largo This is a Preferred property. They provide excellent service, a great value, and have awesome reviews from Booking.com guests. They might pay Booking.com a little more to be in this program.