If you are planning to visit South Florida, you should venture to the Florida Keys, a group of islands, forming the southernmost point of the USA and linked to the continent by the panoramic Overseas Highway. These beautiful islands are blessed with a diverse ecosystem that treasures unique exotic plants and animals, and a vibrant coral reef. Not surprisingly, they are a popular attraction for those constantly in search of a retreat in a tropical paradise. Drive all the way down to Key West, the southernmost island, and enjoy its one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Here are some amazing things to experience in Key West!
Dolphin Watch Tour by Honest Eco®
Walking around Key West’s main street, you’ll come across many companies offering tours of any kind. From boat and snorkeling trips, kayak and jet-ski tours, sunset cruises, to a combination of many activities, there’s plenty of choices. All of them are definitely fun, but mostly overcrowded (and overpriced). So, after trying one, I was left with the disappointing feeling that I hadn’t had the chance to experience the local natural environment at all.
This is why I started looking for alternative companies offering smaller size group tours of the Keys’ beautiful wildlife. Lucky for me (and also for you if my post helps you choose a better tour option) I found this Dolphin Watch Tour by Honest Eco®!
As its name suggests, Honest Eco® offers an environment-friendly, 4-hour trip on board of its electric-powered boat SQUID. Within this time, you’ll be able to enjoy the view of wild dolphins playing, hunting, and having fun in the beautiful waters off the coast of Key West.
If you are thinking that you’ll only spot them from far away, you couldn’t be more wrong. These cute creatures are very curious and they didn’t miss the chance to snoop around close to our boat! Also, listening to captain Katy talking about these elegant mammals was very instructive and interesting!
Next? Snorkeling time!
After observing the dolphins in their natural habitat, we were off to a great snorkel spot. Diving into the warm water and seeing the beauty of Key West’s marine life with my own eyes was such a refreshing moment! One of our guides, Brady, joined us and showed us so many different species of little fish and sea creatures that I wouldn’t have spotted otherwise. Among my favorites, a stingray, two baby squids, and an eel!
I had such an amazing time! And the coolest part is that, because of the small size of the group (only 6 people + 2 guides), everything felt way more enjoyable, like a personalized trip! We were also offered plenty of healthy snacks, like juicy fruit, vegetables, and hummus, and Brady and Katy never missed the chance to explain and teach us something about the local marine ecosystem.
Definitely, a lifetime experience!
Enjoy Key West’s best sunset at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
I have to admit, Key West’s beaches left me a bit disappointed. In my mind, I had this idea of pristine Caribbean-style beaches. The few ones that we spotted, however, were full of seaweed, both in the water and ashore. The only exception was Fort Zachary Taylor beach! With its beautiful shore and clear water, Fort Zachary Taylor beach is a cool spot to jump into the ocean and soak in all the sun. Not too far from the beach, you can also explore a historic fort dating back to the Civil War.
For me, the best part was watching the stunning colors created by the sun setting right into the ocean. One of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen. The spot is so romantic and magical that it’s a popular venue for sunset weddings. How cool is that?
Since this is a well-known location from where to enjoy the sunset, make sure you don’t get there last minute. This holds especially if you are planning on taking photos and want to find the best spot.
Dine at Nine One Five Restaurant
After a nice day enjoying the natural sights of Key West, why not savor a delicious dinner at Nine One Five? Located in the town’s famous Duval Street, this stylish restaurant offers unique fusion cuisine in the setting of an elegant and classy Victorian-style house. I totally loved dining in the beautiful patio.
The food, which, as the Chef describes on the restaurant’s website, is the result of an artful combination of fresh local fare, Caribbean spices, Asian influences, and French technique, was super tasty and the service impeccable. I went there two nights in a row and I’ll definitely go back next time I’m in town!
Explore the town center
Key West is like no other town in Florida. Its colorful Victorian-style architecture gives Key West a unique atmosphere. Don’t miss the chance to walk around and explore some of its best historical sites. During your walk, you’ll most likely come across many colorful chickens and roosters roaming around freely.
If you’d rather take a walk at night, make sure you enjoy Key West’s famous nightlife. You can bar-hop along Duval street! After all, there must be a reason that Key West hosts the highest number of bartenders per capita in the entire US!
Visit Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park was one of the reasons why I decided to head down to Key West. Unfortunately, by the time I planned my trip, there were no ferry tickets left, and I didn’t get to go. If you’d like to include it in your itinerary, make sure you plan ahead of time, as affordable transportation options are quite limited. For more information, visit the official website here.
Why do I want to visit Dry Tortugas so bad?
Not only it seems you can enjoy some of the best, secluded beaches and snorkeling areas in Florida, but you can also visit Fort Jefferson, an amazing coastal fortress dating back to the mid-19th century. I bet living in this fort on this tiny island around that time must have been a hell of an experience in every way! As I’m trying to plan another trip there soon, stay tuned for an update on my adventure!
Here are some more photos of my trip:
This is all, for now! If you experience something great during your trip to Key West and would like to share it with me, feel free to drop a comment!