There is nothing more fascinating than a drive from Miami to Key West. There are so many wonderful towns to see along the way, each with a different culture and flare. We all know about Key West's fabulous LGBTQ culture, so arriving in this paradise will be your reward, or shall we say, the rainbow at the end of your journey.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park - Dedicated Dec. 10, 1960, as America's first underwater preserve, Pennekamp offers dive, snorkel, eco-tour, glass-bottom boat, paddle board and kayak excursions. Other attractions include nature trails, two beaches, picnic grounds and campsites. African Queen - Visitors can cruise on the iconic original vessel from John Huston's classic 1951 film, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, following its restoration and 2012 relaunch. Ninety-minute canal cruises are offered several times daily and dinner cruises featuring a three-course meal at Key Largo’s Pilot House are offered Friday and Saturday nights.
Robbie’s Marina - Visitors can purchase buckets of bait to feed tarpon from the marina dock. Small shops sell T-shirts and island crafts. Fishing and snorkeling excursions and state park tours can be booked as well.
Rain Barrel Artisan Village - An open-air creative “village” highlighting works by local artists, sculptors and vendors. The Rain Barrel is easily visible from the historic Overseas Highway thanks to “Betsy,” a giant Florida Keys spiny lobster at the entrance.
Dolphin Research Center - This acclaimed non-profit marine mammal research and education facility offers a swim program called Dolphin Encounter. Visitors also can try DolphinSplash, a wade-in program that offers the opportunity to get waist-deep in the water with the resident dolphins. Meet the Dolphin and Paint With A Dolphin are among the other interactions available.
Keys Cable - Billed as the nation’s first cable park to offer full kiteboarding instruction, the park has two two-point cable systems that are independently operated atop a seven-acre lake, allowing for a fully customized ride for one rider at a time. The park offers full equipment rentals as well as instructional and private coaching. Half-day, full-day and membership rates are available. Keys cable is open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Big Pine & the Lower Keys
Bahia Honda State Park - Home to the Florida Keys’ finest beach, Bahia Honda State Park also features picnic and camping facilities, rental cabins, watersports activities including canoeing and kayaking, a marina and nature trails. A nature center introduces park visitors to the island's plants and animals.
Conch Tour Train and Old Town Trolley Tours offer guided and informative expeditions throughout Key West, departing every half-hour. Enjoy narrated tours of historic venues throughout the island town of Key West on a fun sight-seeing train that rolls through Key West.
Dry Tortugas. Also, the home of the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas is renowned for its marine life, pirate legends and sheer unspoiled beauty. Step back in time and explore the history that is Fort Jefferson. Sunbathe on a remote white sand beach or snorkel the living reef in the warm crystal clear waters.
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Photos Courtesy of Florida Keys & Key West