Kayak through sharks and stingrays, meet manatees and stay in barefoot beach hotels on this necklace of tropical islands, skimming the shore of the Sunshine State.
Running southwest from the tip of the Florida mainland, the Florida Keys are a 125mi (200km) string of islands and sandy spits (linked by the engineering marvel of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway) where travelers come for the snorkeling, boating, fishing, scuba diving, wildlife viewing and just plain old chilling out. The main center is laid-back, foodie-hippie haven Key West, with hammocks waiting to cradle you at the end of every natural-blessed day.
If all you want is a comfortable bed and a dress code that calls for shorts and tees, Not Your Average Hotel (NYAH) is perfect for you. Ditch any notion of formality. For starters, some rooms have bunk beds, and it’s a fuss-free continental breakfast. The value is in the outdoor activities. You can relax poolside (there are three to choose from) or take advantage of the excursions: snorkeling, jet skiing, kayaking, fishing, parasailing, jeep adventure tours, guided kayaking and SUP boarding among them.
Captain Bill Keogh has been guiding kayakers (beginners welcome) through the Lower Florida Keys for more than two decades via his friendly outfit, Keys Kayak Tours. As a trained nature guide and educator, he’ll have you paddling the shallow waters of the Keys, or maybe take you on his Custom Backcountry Tour to see sharks, stingrays, dolphins, turtles and birds. Trips depart from the Old Wooden Bridge Resort.
Imagine standing in a glass-enclosed (climate-controlled) habitat surrounded by 60 butterfly species and 20 exotic bird species. That sums up a visit to the Butterfly & Nature Conservatory in Key West. The Conservatory also houses a Learning Center, where you can discover cool facts about butterfly anatomy, migratory habits and life-cycle highlights. Be sure to greet the two resident flamingos, Rhett and Scarlett, on arrival.
Bahia Honda Park may be virtually uninhabited, but it’s the ideal place to join a snorkeling tour to the nearby Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. More than 150 species of fish, including barracuda and parrotfish, have been sighted at Looe Key Reef. Divers have also seen stingrays and sharks. The real draw for many is the 7,000 years’ worth of colorful coral growth, including staghorn, elkhorn and fire corals.
Islamorada, just south of Key Largo, is a string of six very laid-back islands popular with snorkelers and divers for its reefs – but also as a place to just chill. You can book beach yoga sessions with Plantation Key Fitness. If yoga doesn’t float your boat, there’s always Zumba or hardcore fitness classes on the beach. Meet your instructors at Founders Park on Overseas Highway.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.