This 120 mile stretch of island chains is home to North America’s only living coral barrier reef. It’s a great place to spend your winters, stay active, have fun and meet wonderful people!
Finding the Fabulous Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are located off the southern coast of Florida. While we may think of them as a series of islands, they are actually exposed portions of an ancient coral reef. The southern part of Key West is only 140 km (90 mi) from Cuba. Many of the islands are connected by an astounding 42 bridges! Getting here is easy. Take US 1 Florida City (south of Miami) to Key Largo and you’re on your way. You can also fly into Miami International Airport and rent a vehicle there.
Pack Your Swim Fins
Novice or expert, you are going to love snorkeling or diving in the reefs. The Florida Keys are located between the Atlantic ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and are packed with amazing underwater explorations. There’s Indian Key Historic State Park, 10 minutes from Encore’s Fiesta Key RV Resort, where you can view the remains of a shipwreck. You can also take an eco-tour and snorkel out on the reef. Underwater adventures are as limited as your time here, so pace yourself and enjoy life under the sea.
The Florida Bay is in the upper Florida Keys and contains more species of fish than anywhere else in the Atlantic Ocean. There is a warm gulf stream that runs off the coast and creates a migration path for the fish. The variety of game fish and fishing grounds here is like nowhere else in the world.
Big Pine Key is 10 minutes from Sunshine Key RV Resort, and has dozens of fishing charters to choose from. Depending on the time of year your catch could be sailfish, wahoo, kingfish, cero mackerel, blue or white marlin, snapper, grouper, barracuda, amberjack, sharks, tuna or bonito. And it’s all within a 45-minute boat ride.
Boats, Canoes and Kayaks
Bring your own or rent one from one of the many suppliers in the Keys. Boating is the number one attraction in this area. The Fiesta Key RV Resort & Marina and the Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina have their own marina where you can dock your boat when you’re not out exploring. For something a little more laid back, rent a canoe or kayak and explore the area. The Summerland and Big Pine Key have fewer people and great bays
Explore and Learn
Come explore the area and learn what makes the Florida Keys so special. The National Key Deer Refuge is 84,824-acres created to protect the falling population of Key deer. It is just one of over 20 animals and plants classified as endangered or threatened, including five that are found nowhere else on Earth. There’s also the Blue Hole, the largest body of freshwater in the Keys. Take a stroll on the walking trail or gaze out from the observation platform. You’ll probably catch sight the resident alligator, turtles, and other wildlife.
The Dolphin Research Centre lies between Sunshine Key and Fiesta Key on the Gulf of Mexico. It’s wheelchair accessible and pet friendly too! While you’re here you can watch actual research, and observe animal behavior. Trainers are available to talk to you about the facility and the mammals in their care. You can also meet with the dolphins as they love to people watch as much as we love to watch them. There’s live presentations in the education theatre and signage
Arts, Culture and Shopping
The Florida Keys are a hub of arts and culture and there’s great shopping here too. From Key Largo to Key West you’ll find a vast assortment of talented theatre companies. Visual treats abound with galleries, art and art walks. Step into the past and visit one of the many museums in the Keys. Of particular note, is the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West. There are festivals up and down the Keys year round including art, music, Celtic and fantasy fests.
Shopping in the Keys is an adventure like no other. There’s the Lobster Trap Art Gallery, Little Switzerland, and places like the Latitude 25 Clothing company. There’s even outlet malls in Key Largo and Key West. Don’t be surprised by the number of places that sell key lime products!
Some days all you want to do is kick off your flip flops, put on your sunglasses and relax. There’s plenty of places to do that here. At Sunshine Key RV Resort, you can walk on warm sand directly into the ocean. Watch the sunrise and take a stroll down the beach as
you watch the sea birds frolic above the waves.
At the Bahia Honda State Park you can picnic at the beach and watch the wading and shore birds. The park has 500 acres where you can have a quiet day beachcombing, or simply enjoying the award-winning beach. There’s a concession on site too.
Where to Stay
Choosing where to stay could be a difficult task; as this area is filled with all types of accommodations. Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina is a great place to relax and the perfect jumping off point for all things adventurous. You can bring your RV (there’s even beach sites) or rent a place to rest your head. Rentals include camping trailers, cabanas, and cottages.
Over at Fiesta Key RV Resort there are even more choices. Bring your own RV or rent one of their varied accommodations. How about a one bedroom waterfront cottage? There are villas that sleep up to four people, and they also have one and two-bedroom travel trailers. Some units are pet friendly.
Both locations are near tons of fun adventures and have swimming pools and activities for those days when you don’t feel like going too far.
Whatever your taste, a Florida Keys winter getaway has something for you.
Let us know what your favorite part of the Florida Keys is in the comments below, or let us know if you’d like to visit!