Florida Keys Reopens For Tourism Following Hurricane Irma – Here's Why You Should Go
After being jostled by the recent category 5 hurricane that led to power outages, flooding and severe damage to buildings, the Florida Keys is set to reopen again to tourists in October. Restoration efforts have brought the clan of islands back to its former glory with airports opening once again. Here are a few reasons why they’re worth a visit.
The only live coral reef in the USA – the Florida Reef
The third biggest coral barrier reef to the world is home to hundreds of species of marine plants and animals. Go scuba diving or snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo to see the reef and get a chance encounter with the underwater Christ of the Abyss – the 4,000 pound bronze sculpture located at the bottom of the sea.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, 102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037, USA, +1 305 451 6300
Christ of the Abyss at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park | ©Lawrence Cruciana/Shutterstock
Straddled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, there are an endless amount of sites to go fishing in the Florida Keys as well as marinas with boat charters. Catch snapper, mahi mahi, barracudas and dolphin. It’s a fisherman’s paradise.
Home to the world-famous dessert, the Key Lime Pie is a tangy meringue cream cheesecake with crumbled cookie base you have to try.
The Keys’ relaxed island attitude and picturesque sunsets make it a romantic spot for lovebirds to celebrate their wedding or honeymoon. Take a stroll along the white sandy beaches lined with palm trees and fallen coconuts or sit on a pair of Adirondack chairs to listen to the birds and watch the scenic sunset. The islands’ balmy nights make it a relaxing retreat for those looking for a holiday – and it’s sunny all year long.
Sunset on Florida Keys | ©publicdomainpictures.net
Not only fit for a silent retreat, the islands also cater to party-goers. Brimming with bars and nightclubs alike, the nightlife here is rowdy.
Key West is pedestrian-friendly
Drive the seven-mile bridge all the way to Key West and once you park your car, forget about it. The tiny island is easily walkable, especially Duval Street where restaurants, bars and shops abound. Plus, feel free to ride your bike and peddle anywhere.
Duval Street, Key West, FL 33040, USA
Ernest Hemingway had a home here
The famous American novelist fell in love with Key West so much he bought a house here. Fans of his novels such as The Old Man and the Sea and A Moveable Feast will enjoy visiting the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, where you can see his personal treasures like his typewriter and mounted animal heads from his hunting escapades. The property is also home to 40-50 polydactyl (six-toed) cats!
Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, 907 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040, USA, +1 305 294 1136
Courtesy of the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
The Keys offer a plethora of watersports to indulge in. Ride a jet ski or go kayaking, snorkeling or paddleboarding. You can also rent a boat and travel through more secluded islands like Sunset Key Island and Little Torch Key. Less we forget, Cuba is only about 90 nautical miles away if you want to have a peek.
Paddleboarding in the ocean | ©Wonderful Nature/Shutterstock
The Keys are still part of Florida, so a passport is unnecessary if you’re a U.S. citizen!
Key West’s official philosophy “One Human Family” means all are welcome. The unifying slogan created by a local artist is an inclusive recognition that all people are created equal – a long held idea of the diverse and gay-friendly city. So no matter your race, gender, sexuality, political or religious beliefs, all are welcome here.