Which Key is Right For Me?

Still in the early stages of planning your vacation? You might be asking yourself “Which of the islands is best for the things I’d like to do?” Well, we’re here to help you navigate all that the Florida Keys has to offer. There’s something for everyone, whether you’d prefer to relax beachside or take to the seas for world-famous sportfishing.

Key Largo

For those keen on exploring, diving or snorkeling the only living coral reef in North America is a must. Fortunately, Key Largo is home to John Pennekamp State Park. Board their boat and within minutes you’ll be delving below water for an unforgettable view of this majestic habitat. If you’d rather stay high and dry out of water, there are other ways of seeing the reef. Hop aboard John Pennekamp’s glass-bottom boat for a calm cruise that provides for an unmatched view and uniquely memorable experience. Whatever you decide to do during your stay, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the largest swimming pool in the FL Keys in our Mariner’s Club Key Largo vacation rentals.

Islamorada

Just 10 minutes south from Key Largo is Islamorada which just so happens to be the sportfishing capital. If you’re searching for the ideal location to do some deep sea fishing in the Florida Keys, this is it. Nonetheless, options aplenty with so many different environments surrounding the island chain. Visitors enjoy variety in fishing the backcountry, flats, reef, and wreck sites. Islamorada is a top-rated choice for more than just the avid fisherman. Fine-dining restaurants and oceanside tiki bars provide reason enough to visit.

Duck Key

In the heart of the Florida Keys lies Duck Key. This quaint retreat is a short drive from Marathon and encompasses one of the smaller islands of the chain. Despite it’s size, Duck Key still manages to attract a great many travelers and with good reason. Charming row homes and immaculately well-cared for grounds create an entirely new and alluring atmosphere from the very moment you arrive. With Solé Watersports onsite, you can walk from your Villa to the marina where you’ll enjoy activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding as well as charters to the local sandbar. If you’re wondering what that is, a sandbar is an offshore area of sand that is submerged in shallow water (you might call it a mini island), and they’re a superb place for the entire family to spend the afternoon floating, sunbathing, and swimming.

Marathon

Situated midway between Key Largo and Key West, Marathon is perfectly poised for those looking to traverse the entirety of the Florida Keys. Moreover, Marathon boasts several beaches including Curry Hammock State Park and Sombrero Beach. Just a short ways further south is Bahia Honda State Park which often places amongst the top 10 beaches in all of Florida for it’s incredible view of the historic railroad, plush sand, and clear waters. Although Islamorada tops the charts for sportfishing, Marathon is frequented by experienced anglers and beginners alike. Better yet, many of our Marathon vacation rentals include onsite dockage just steps from your Villa. Rent a boat or BYO to make the most of your getaway.

Visit our Activities Guide for more recommendations on what to do and where to eat during your stay in the #FLKeys.

Dining in the Florida Keys

dining, florida keys, key lime pie

The Florida Keys has a variety of bars, restaurants, cafes, and bistros to choose from whether you’re searching for a casual or fine-dining atmosphere, authentic Cuban cuisine, locally-sourced seafood, or world-famous key lime pie shops. Best of all, many of these top-rated eateries are within minutes from our vacation homes in the Upper & Middle Keys.

The Keys are an incredibly popular vacation destination for fishermen. It’s no surprise than that many of the restaurants offer a range of fresh, locally-caught seafood. Some staple features on the menu often include native species like snapper, dolphin (mahi-mahi), and hogfish as well as invasive lionfish which are said to have both an excellent taste and texture. In addition to providing you with a superb meal, eating lionfish helps to support efforts to remove the harmful fish from our marine environment.

During your stay at one of our FL Keys resorts and vacation homes, there are some essential foods to try. Between Oct. 15th and May 1st, Sal’s Ballyhoo’s in Key Largo offers an all you can eat stone crab buffet. Can’t decide on just one thing? Their Captain’s Platter includes a FL lobster tail, fresh mahi, jumbo shrimp, and scallops. Seafood options are aplenty; however, there are many other fantastic dishes you won’t find just anywhere. The Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory’s award-winning key limes pies have received national recognition and praise for good reason! Enjoy an afternoon at the beach, then compliment your day with a frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick.

For more recommendations on dining in the Florida Keys with links to easily view menus, visit our Dining/Nightlife directory within the Activities Guide.

Upper & Middle Keys Beaches

Anne's Beach in Upper Keys Islamorada

The Florida Keys are known for a lot of things such as luxury holiday homes, world-class fishing, and reef or wreck diving. However, there is great variety in the fabulous beaches throughout the Upper & Middle Keys all within a short ride from our premier-choice vacation rentals. Many of our local beaches still possess their natural features with exposed limestone and mangroves giving way to small clearings on the coast. Although these quaint locales have an allure all their own, others boast family-friendly activities and expansive, sandy shores. Whatever you’re looking for, there are many beaches with an array of features to choose from to best suit your ideal trip to the beach. At the end of your day, pack up and return to your private vacation home nestled away in a Key Largo, Islamorada, or Marathon resort community or secluded, island life neighborhood.
 

Upper Keys: Key Largo, Tavernier, and Islamorada

Rowell’s Waterfront Park in Key Largo is an 8-acre, waterfront park bordering the Florida Bay. Spend your day fishing, swimming, and sunbathing at the beach with an afternoon picnic to top it off. The park is dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friend.
 
Harry Harris State Park is in Tavernier on the oceanside of the island chain and features a unique, man-made lagoon on the beach. Fish from the walkway surrounding the lagoon, then take a dip in the protected swimming enclosure. Showers, picnic tables, campground grills, and a playground help to make this beach a popular spot for families.
 
Founder’s Park in Islamorada is among the top-rated picks in the Upper Keys. For a small fee, you’ll have access to their Bayside beach, dog park, volleyball and basketball courts, and sports fields. In addition to their great many activities, their beach is in the perfect spot for an exceptional view of sunset.
 
Anne’s Beach spans both sides of Overseas Hwy and is easy to pass if you’re not paying attention. Slow down just enough and you’ll notice sandy beachside with clear, shallow waters on your way south through Islamorada. This natural beach environment is great for wading through the waters, fishing, collecting shells, and sunbathing. Although the beach was closed for an extended period after Irma, it has since been renovated and reopened to visitors.
 

Middle Keys: Duck Key and Marathon

Curry Hammock State Park encompasses a massive 1,000 acres of the surrounding island and waters. Their facility helps to preserve the natural environment, and so it’s a great place to spot birds and other wildlife. Visitors have access to watersports equipment rentals such as kayaks and kiteboards, among other activities like hiking, biking, and camping. Best of all, their swimming beach spans 1,200 ft. of sandy shoreline with clear waters.
 
Sombrero Beach is a site of seasonal sea turtle nesting during which time a portion of the beach is unavailable. Otherwise, beachgoers are welcome to play, swim, and sunbathe at this oceanside beach. This well-kept coastline also features volleyball courts and picnic pavilions to make the most of your day at the beach.
 
Bahia Honda State Park is often rated among the top beaches in the entirety of Florida. Between the natural, plush sands and scenic view of the historic bridge, it’s easy to see why this beach is so attractive. Just a short drive south from our Marathon vacation homes, taking the time to visit Bahia Honda is an absolute must during your trip to the Florida Keys. You won’t regret it!

FL Keys Dolphin Encounters

FL Keys dolphin encounter

There are an abundance of activities to choose from during your vacation in the Florida Keys. Among the most popular are dolphin encounters. Whether you opt to swim with the dolphins or get a high-five from the dockside, you’re sure to create lasting memories.

 

There are several facilities throughout the Florida Keys that work to rescue, rehabilitate and research dolphins, as well as other marine life. The experience is all that much better knowing your visit supports their efforts. The Dolphin Research Center in Marathon is a longstanding non-profit that provides a sanctuary to dolphins while conducting research to better understand and assist the creatures. From painting with the dolphins to shadowing a trainer, there are plenty of fun-filled activities to do during your visit. Other activities include meeting, playing, and swimming with the dolphins. Everyone is welcome, and their staff will work with individuals to better accommodate visitors with special needs.

 

Apart from dolphins, there are other sea creatures worth visiting while you’re in the FL Keys. The Turtle Hospital in Marathon offers an educational program during which you can feed the resident turtles. Their staff similarly works to come to the aid of Florida Keys wildlife by rescuing, rehabbing and releasing sea turtles as well as inspiring conservation efforts by educating the public. Even if you don’t have the chance to visit their location, consider a donation to support their cause.

 

For more ideas on what to do and see during your trip to the FL Keys, visit our Activities Guide.

Remote Island Locales

Island Keys off the Beaten Path

You can traverse the majority of the Florida Keys by car, but there are other remote gems to explore during your time in the island chain. Taking the time to tour these hideaways of the archipelago is a surefire means of creating lasting memories. These isolated getaways are an ideal location for romantic excursions as well as family adventures. Keep in mind, there are literally hundreds of islands in the Florida Keys; however, many are subject to regulations and may not permit visitors. Should you decide to visit another island not mentioned here, please be sure to make yourself aware of any potential restrictions. You can visit the Florida State Parks website for more information.


Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park: 24.9025° N, 80.6979° W

William J. Matheson built the historic and remarkably self-sufficient two-story home on this island a short ride from the shores of Islamorada. In the company of the onsite ranger, you can tour the interior of the house and the hardwood hammock forest; however, you may opt to visit the rest of the property grounds for a self-guided tour. Lignumvitae Key is poised for exceptional views of the sunset and is a great place for snorkeling, swimming and kayaking. The surrounding mangrove channels provide shelter to an array of wildlife, as well as an otherworldly experience for paddlers. No boat? No problem. KeyZ Charters operating out of Robbie’s Marina in addition to Seamonkeys Watersports in Islamorada both provide trips to the remote island.


Indian Key Historic State Park: 24.8783° N, 80.6771° W

Indian Key Historic State Park is another locale accessible only by boat or paddling (boats must anchor offshore to protect the surrounding flats). The island once hosted numerous facilities including a hotel housing a shipwreck salvaging crew, but was later abandoned in 1840 following the battle between the island settlers and Everglades Seminoles. You can rent either a kayak or paddleboard from Robbie’s Marina which is just half of a mile or about half an hour offshore. Indian Key is a fantastic choice for picnicking, hiking, snorkeling and swimming. The observation tower is another amenity providing island visitors with an exceptional view.


Dry Tortugas National Park

There are several islands comprising the Dry Tortugas National Park. The most significant structure being Fort Jefferson, constructed in the mid-1800s. The military base previously housed more than a thousand soldiers and additionally served as a prison for the infamous Dr. Samuel Mudd for his role in conspiring the assassination of President Lincoln. There is a ferry providing regular access to and from the Dry Tortugas National Park. This group of islands is an excellent destination for camping (reservations required), natural beaches, swimming and snorkeling.

Vacation in the FL Keys for R&R

Vacation Getaway Indigo Reef Sunset Ocean

Take some time off and elope for a vacation in the Florida Keys to relieve yourself of any stress and tension.

 

Simply step through the doors to our lavish vacation properties boasting astounding views as well as thoughtfully curated amenities. Find solace and repose from the Jacuzzi or call for an in-home massage from local providers such as Home Therapy Massage. Relax and take a break from cooking; treat your significant other to an intimate evening with your own private chef. There are a variety of means available for you to make the most of your vacation to the FL Keys.

 

It’s simpler than ever to find the ideal vacation location to unpack and relax when you work with our knowledgeable agents. Book your home away from home with KeysCaribbean vacation home rentals now online, via chat or dial (305) 853-5000. Our collection of private vacation homes feature tasteful décor, spacious living, as well as luxurious amenities.

 

Whatever the reason you’re getting away, we’ll have the accommodations to suit your wants and needs. Whether your version of relaxing is beachside or oceanfront from your own private balcony; reach out to us at any time and we’ll recommend the best fit for your Florida Keys getaway.

Vacation Homes in the Florida Keys

Designating your next vacation destination isn’t an easy task, but there are a plethora of reasons why you should choose the Florida Keys and KeysCaribbean to host your stay. The FL Keys are located in an idyllic tropical climate hosting an array of wildlife unlike anywhere else in North America. Many of the properties we feature are situated in resort-like communities with access to a variety of luxury amenities. These homes are considerately designed to provide you with a quality stay.
 
Make this holiday season a uniquely memorable experience and spend your Thanksgiving lounging comfortably poolside or Christmas decorating the palms.
 
Entertaining your guests is a cinch with many of our locations featuring convenient onsite amenities such as marinas, swimming pools, and gyms. Picture the ease of being just steps from your boat, and a short ride to the surrounding waters.
 
Don’t spend your vacation uncomfortably lodged in a confined space. Unlike the average hotel room, the homes we feature are exceptionally spacious and equipped with full-sized kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms.
 
The FL Keys are relatively easy to navigate, and many of the homes we feature are within a short drive to premier attractions and sights. Some of those top-rated crowd-pleasers include the Key Largo Princess Glass Bottom Boat, Robbie’s Marina, and Aquarium Encounters.
 
You won’t have to look far for casual, outdoor eateries or fine-dining restaurants. Throughout the FL Keys are a substantial number of individually-owned and thoughtfully-curated dining options. You can use our Activities Guide to narrow down your choices by island location and mile marker.

Florida Keys Attractions: Wildlife Exhibitions

The south Florida island chain attracts visitors from across the globe not only for its alluring scenery or lavish vacation homes; many organizations throughout the Florida Keys offer an opportunity for the public to meet and sometimes interact with an astounding and colorful variety of wildlife. The subtropical climate of the Florida Keys means you’ll encounter unique species not found anywhere else in North America. The staff are often comprised of local volunteers working hard for the conservation and rehabilitation of our environment much of which is endangered and susceptible to the threat of irresponsible human activity and climate change. By visiting and supporting their facilities, you’re directly contributing to their efforts to preserve the wildlife inhabiting the Florida Keys.
 

Key Largo

Key Largo is the uppermost island in the Florida Keys and is home to several marine mammal rehabilitation centers and educational resources such as Island Dolphin Care and the Dolphin Research Center. Island Dolphin Care not only specializes in the care and treatment of dolphins. Their facility also offers an unmatched therapeutic program specially designed to fit the needs of persons with disabilities.
 

Tavernier

Just a few short miles south of Key Largo is Tavernier at which the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center & Sanctuary rehabilitates and provides a dwelling place for nearly 40 different species of non-releasable birds. The sanctuary hosts an environment necessary for the birds to live comfortably in their natural setting. Although all of the birds housed at the sanctuary are wild (non-domesticated), some are used in educational interactions providing for a memorable experience and greater awareness of what we can do to protect these distinctive creatures.
 

Marathon

Marathon is located in the center or heart of the Florida Keys and features some major attractions such as the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters and the beloved Turtle Hospital. The Turtle Hospital has successfully rehabilitated and released over 1,500 sea turtles since it was established in 1986. Their facility also houses some “permanent residents” deemed to be non-releasable. Visitors at the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters can meet, interact with and feed sting rays, tarpon, turtles and more diverse marine life. Other activities include snorkeling and diving in their enclosed, saltwater lagoon or coral reef environments. There are a variety of ways you can support conservation efforts during your visit to the Florida Keys while also creating lasting memories with your loved ones.

History Lesson: Famous Shipwrecks of the Florida Keys

Looking for an adventure, a luxury Florida vacation, and a history lesson all rolled into one? Then pack your bags and plan the vacation you have been dreaming of in the Florida Keys. These enticing islands have been attracting visitors for centuries and it is time you planned a luxury vacation in the islands and let the adventure begin!

 

One exciting adventure to experience in the Keys is the quest for treasure! The islands in the Caribbean are filled with shipwrecks throughout the waters, and especially within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The remnants of many historic shipwrecks are buried in the sand or are perched along the coral reefs just off shore of the islands.

 

There are nine ships to learn about on Shipwreck Trail, and visitors can explore the sites at their leisure. There is also an underwater guide for each site giving the shipwreck and mooring buoy positions, history, a site map, and other useful information for divers.

 

While the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a great place to see some of the catastrophic shipwrecks of our time, the islands of the Florida Keys are filled with many other shipwrecks, sunken treasure items, and lost artifacts that many are still searching for today.

 

Here are some of the most famous shipwrecks of the Florida Keys to explore during your seaside vacation in the Keys.

 

Shipwrecks of the Florida Keys

  • USCGC Duane – Key Largo
  • Eagle – Islamorada
  • Benwood – Key Largo
  • Henrietta Marie – Key West
  • Atocha – Key West
  • City of Washington – Key Largo
  • Thunderbolt – Marathon
  • USS Wilkes-Barre – Key West
  • The Adelaide Baker – Duck Key
  • The San Pedro – Indian Key
  • Alexander’s Wreck – Key West
  • The North America – Sombrero Key
  • USS Vandenberg – Key West

Ready to Explore the Shipwrecks of the Keys During Your Luxurious Vacation in Florida?

 

KeysCaribbean invites you to rent the best vacation homes in the Florida Keys for your luxury Florida vacation. Our experienced vacation team at KeysCaribbean is here to help you find the best accommodations on for your Florida vacation as well as provide our Vacation Concierge service to assist in planning exciting excursions in the Florida Keys like visiting the many shipwrecks in our waters.  Plan your luxury Florida vacation escape today!

 

History Lesson: Hemingway and His Famous 6-Toed Cats on Key West

If you are dreaming of a luxury vacation away from it all – the Florida Keys are a popular destination any time of the year. The exclusive and eclectic Florida island chain offers a great escape with so many unique things to see and do no matter when you vacation in the Keys.

 

One unique way to spend the day in the Florida Keys is to visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. In addition to the amazing homesite of the popular writer; is the interesting story of Hemingway’s six-toed cats and why they still live on the property in Key West today.

 

These six-toed cats are called polydactyl. Typically, cats have five front toes and four back toes, so these six-toed cats are incredibly unique. The polydactyl cats are not a special breed at all, and the trait can appear in any breed of cat including Calicos, Tabbies, Siamese, etc. and in any color from tortoise shell to white.

 

Hemingway was given a white polydactyl cat many years ago by the captain of a ship. His cat Snow White was the first six-toed cat to live on the property in Key West. Today, the Ernest Hemingway Museum is home to approximately 50 six-toed cats, with many of them being direct descendants of Snow White that are well cared for by the museum, where they even have their own veterinarian.

 

About half of the cats that live at the museum today have the physical polydactyl trait, but they all carry the polydactyl DNA gene, which means all of them can mother or father six-toed kittens.

 

Hemingway loved Snow White and the other six-toed cats that called his home their own. In fact, the writer named all of his cats after famous people,  so the tradition is still followed today at the home and museum on Whitehead Street in beautiful Key West, and the cats all learn and respond to their names, when called by their favorite caretakers.

 

Explore the Historic Sites During Your Key West Vacation

 

Be sure to visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum during your vacation in the Florida Keys! KeysCaribbean offers luxury vacation rentals for your Key West, Florida getaway. From waterfront bungalows and seaside villas to luxury private homes – KeysCaribbean is the key to the Florida Keys vacation rental of your dreams.