Summer Vacation Ideas – Part 2 The Keys
Summer break is coming up quick.If you are like most you have saved for months for that all important summer vacation. That break from work with the family or wife or alone where you do some all important bonding with the beach or take off on an adventure. If you are enjoying your long weekend life this means looking for great places to dig your toes into the sand, get some great pictures to add to memory books or hang on your walls, or collect thos important souvenirs that remind you of the tropics to put around your house. In part two of our summer break ideas series we head to the east coast of Florida. But first after heading across Alligator Alley we head south past Miami to the keys for a visit.
The florida keys are made up of five islands Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and Key West. All offer a different adventure, beautiful beaches and great places to just relax.
Key Largo is about an hour from Miami but seems like a whole different world. It is the home of two state parks, a national park and a marine sanctuary. For those who like to snorkel or scuba dive Key Largo is know as one of the diving capitals of the world. You can see a number of “wrecks” that have been put in place to support the coral reef there as well as other landmarks on the ocean floor. If kayaking or fishing is your thing, there is plenty of that to do as well as Key Largo is also well known for it’s sport fishing for sailfish, bonefish or redfish and tarpon. The Hilton or Marriott offer great places to stay while you are on the island.
Islamorada is known as the village island, and is well know to those seeking the perfect wedding and honeymoon destination. Well know for it’s cuisine and one of a kind shopping Islamorada also has a great park in Founders park with an Olympic sized pool, water sports rentals, beach area, and even a dog park for the furry members of the family. Robbie’s MArina also offers the kids a chance to feed Tarpon from the dock.
Marathon is the middle key island and is know more as the family oriented island. Sombrero beach is an awesome beach that offers eco tours and even dolphin and turtle encounters for the kids to interact with the animals. There are any number of activities for you to enjoy including snorkeling, diving. The restaurants there can’t be beat and almost any choice is a good choice.
If you are looking to get away from it all (and we do mean all) Big Pine Key and the lower keys are your chance. Better known for their camping and RV sites the lower keys still offer a number of festivals and water activities. Head down to Bahia Honda State Park for beaches that have often made the list of most beautiful in America. They have a lot of wildlife to explore and enjoy as well. There are a few hotels and guest houses to check out here but they are few. Check out the Tuck’er Inn oceanside cottages as one place to stay if camping is not your thing.
Last but not least is Key West. With property deeds that date back to the King of Spain and a rich history that almost revolves around it’s nightlife and the famous write Earnest Hemmingway there is plenty for everyone to do here. If you are not familiar with the history of Key West here is a quick run down of places you will want to go that will quickly fill you in …..Sloppy Joe’s, Captain Tony’s Saloon, Hogsbreath Saloon, Green Parrot Bar, The Hard Rock Cafe and Margaritaville will be enough to get you started. From there if you are looking for a break visit the butterfly and nature conservatory or Mel Fisher’s Pirate and treasure museum. From there head to Mallory Square just before sunset to enjoy the festivities and watch for the “green flash” as the sun meets the horizon. This will be enough to get you started and you will be sure to meet someone during this basic list that will be glad to give you more to see such as Hemmingway’s house and even a tour of the five toed cats or chickens roaming the streets. After that you can head to the beach to relax even further and catch some rays and enjoy the Fort Zachary Taylor state park and beach. There are great views of the boats coming and going from the Key West harbor so be sure to take your camera.
Next time around we head back up the coast to South Beach and the cities along the easter coast of Florida that will be sure to spark your imagination and thirst for the tropics.
For now we leave you with thisHquick rundown of the keys and some of the great places to visit if you head south of Miami to the southern most point of the US. here you get a feel for the islands and a chance to enjoy the long weekend life most only dream about.