The Best Things To Do in the Florida Keys

Aerial of 7 mile bridge, Pigeon Cay, FL Keys
••• Timothy O'Keefe / Getty Images

One of the perks of living in Miami is the sun, sand, and surf. But where do you go to get away from it all when you live in a palm-tree lined paradise like Miami? Only an hour’s drive south you’ll find the fabulous Florida Keys, a world apart from the pace of Miami life. Their beaches, diving, and fishing are among the best in the world.

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    Underwater Jesus Christ on Ocean Floor Reaching with arms lifted to the heavens at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
    ••• Heath Patterson/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

    As the nation’s first underwater park, John Pennekamp allows visitors to experience a Jacques Cousteau-like world within a short drive from downtown Miami. The park is largely underwater, located within the confines of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.​

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    Shops on Duval Street, Key West, Florida
    ••• Peter Unger / Getty Images

    No visit to the Florida Keys is complete without a stop on Key West's infamous Duval Street. This hotspot of partying offers access to famous drinking establishments like Sloppy Joe's at the corner of Greene and Duval. Be forewarned: it gets pretty raucous at night!

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    Two dolphins jumping out of the water at Theater of the Sea
    ••• msscacti/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Located at mile marker 84.5, Theater of the Sea provides a marine mammal adventure where you can swim with dolphins, sea lions, and stingrays. They also offer marine performances, glass-bottom boat tours, and a beach.

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    air boat in the florida everglades
    ••• Roberto A Sanchez / Getty Images

    With 1.5 million acres of swamps, saw-grass prairies, and sub-tropical jungles, Everglades National Park is one of the most unusual public parks in the United States. Located on the southern tip of Florida, the park is home to 14 rare and endangered species, including the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther, and the West Indian Manatee. A large portion of the park is primitive, explored only by adventurists and researchers but visitors have ample opportunity to walk, camp, and canoe.

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    Aerial of 7 mile bridge, Pigeon Cay, FL Keys
    ••• Timothy O'Keefe / Getty Images

    Traveling to the Keys, you’ll leave Homestead and Florida City down an 18-mile stretch of US 1 through the Everglades, known to locals as simply The Stretch. In most places, it’s simply a two-lane highway, which means you may get stuck behind the occasional slow-moving boat trailer. Be patient, as there are passing zones that widen to four lanes every couple of miles. The ride is quiet and serene, which puts you in a vacation state of mind! Continue your trip to Key Largo, Islamorada, over the Seven-Mile bridge, and through a tropical paradise to Key West!

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    Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Keys, Florida, United States of America, North America
    ••• Michael Runkel / Getty Images

    Located 70 miles west of the tropical paradise of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is made up of a cluster of small islands, coral reefs, and one impressive fortress.  While it’s certainly not advised to make an impulsive trip to Dry Tortugas, with a little planning you and your family can make a trip to one of America’s most unique and legendary national parks.