Some friends of ours used to live in Florida and have been trying to get us to visit the Keys for a while. I’ve not spent much time in the ocean so I didn’t get the hype. I do now. I’m mentally trying to figure out when to suggest a return trip to the Keys.
For all of you desert rats who, like me, know nothing about Florida, at the southern tip of Florida is a grouping of islands referred to at the Florida Keys. The Keys span 113 miles and there is a highway (Highway 1) connecting all the islands. We spent our time in the southern Keys.
I’ve struggled to write this post because part of what made this trip so fun was the company. Spending 10 days with your best friends, exploring new places and in particular, the Keys, definitely makes for a good time. Everything about our time in the Keys was perfect. We rented a house on Little Torch Key and it made an excellent home base. The house had a pool, its own private dock, and a beautiful (screened in) wrap around porch where we watched the sunrise almost everyday.
Every morning we’d wake up, have coffee, eat breakfast, pack some drinks and snacks, put on our swimsuits, and hop on the boat. The first stop was always snorkeling and eventually we’d go farther into the ocean to go fishing. Who knew that could be so much fun! I see a picture of that gorgeous water and am instantly taken back to those moments.
Snorkeling was a new experience for me and one I do not particularly enjoy. For starters, I couldn’t figure out how to get my mask and snorkel to work. Seeing the fish and coral was incredible but the open water freaked me out. Not so much the animals but the fact that you can’t put your feet down and the ocean current moves fast. I’d put my head in the water and when I’d look up the boat was (what felt like) way far away which caused panic and then made it 10x harder to swim back to the boat. I decided to do my own thing and spent the week floating in an inter tube while my friends snorkeled around the reefs. It was glorious. At the beginning of the week I was tying my tube to the boat but towards the end of the week I was more comfortable floating untethered. But still close enough to swim back pretty quickly, obviously. Don’t be afraid to do you.
I’m not a big fisher but held a fishing pole a few times. Day 1 I caught all the fish! Somehow there are no pictures of this. I did enjoy ocean fishing more than lake fishing. Not all the fish we caught were large enough to keep but you basically cast your line and something almost always bites pretty quickly. I have a short attention span to this was nice.
Some other memorable moments while fishing: one of our friends caught a fish and as he was reeling it in, a barracuda was chasing it and jumped out of the water to get the fish off his line. It was a scene straight out of a movie. Another day we had a pod of dolphins swim under us. We saw a dolphin swimming towards us and next thing you know, it and all its buddies were swimming under our boat.
We did a mix of things in the afternoons. Some days we stayed out on the boat longer, other days we came back and got in our pool, and some days we drove down to Key West.
Key West is lots of fun and there are so many things to do. Museums, cool architecture, restaurants, bars, shops, people watching. There’s a little something for everyone. One of my favorite places in Key West is Caroline Street. For obvious reasons. If I could have a house anywhere in the world, it’d probably be on that street. Just throwing that out into the universe. 😉
As I was researching things to do for this trip, I learned of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. In 1985 Mel Fisher found $450 million worth of treasure from a 1622 shipwreck. Have you seen the movie Fools Gold? The story in that movie is loosely based on the story of Mel Fisher. I love that movie and after researching Mel Fisher’s history, I had to visit the museum where some of the treasure is on display.
While in Key West we took a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park. I wrote a separate post on that trip so be sure to check out the link if you’re interested. It’s a fort in the middle of the ocean. Not much is cooler than that. You can only get there by plane or boat and reservations for both fill up fast so be sure to book as early as you can.
We went in late June and it was warm but not unbearable. Definitely bring bug spray though. I didn’t notice the humidity much in the Keys but it was horrible in Miami. Speaking of Miami, If you’re wanting to go to Maimi and the Keys, start in Miami and end in the Keys. Do not start in the Keys and end in Miami. That’s what we did and it was a terrible decision. After spending a chill week in the Keys, Miami was a bit much. Overall, I’d highly recommend a trip to the Keys. The gorgeous warm water, chill vibe, and fun things to do all make for an excellent vacation.