Do you want to spend a little time in sunny Florida with your family, but want to avoid the crowds at the Orlando theme parks? There are plenty of amazing destinations in Florida. However, the best thing to do is head down to the Florida Keys. These stunning islands are full of adventures, warm weather, and delicious cuisine. Add in the laughs and conversations you will have with your kids, and well, you will never want to leave! Today, I am going to share the best things to do in Florida Keys with you. Ponder these ideas, so you are ready to have an amazing family vacation in the Florida Keys.
The Key West Museum of Art and History can be found inside the Custom House. This house was constructed back in 1891. It was used for different municipal roles over the years before turning into this museum’s home.
Inside the museum, you will discover exhibits filled with art, as well as the history of the area. Don’t skip past the exhibit about Ernest Hemingway’s life. Especially if you don’t plan on visiting his home.
One of the best things to do in Key West is checking out the Key West lighthouse. This lighthouse was constructed back in 1848. The lighthouse, and the nearby keeper’s quarters have been carefully restored and preserved.
I recommend climbing up the eighty-eight steps to the top of the lighthouse to see the views. Make a competition out of it to see who can reach the top first. The kids will love that!
This state park is eighty-four acres in size. And it is the best spot to spend time if your family loves being out in nature. Head out on the six miles of walking trails. Or simply use the picnic area to relax and enjoy your lunch.
During a visit to Key Largo, you will have an opportunity to check out Island Dolphin Care. Rescued dolphins spend their time at this facility, as they are being rehabilitated to reenter the wild.
You can easily spend the day watching the dolphins in the water. Or you can participate in some of the many interactive experiences available to guests. I guarantee the kids will love caring for the dolphins all day!
Another option for spending time with dolphins is the Dolphin Research Center. In addition to dolphins, this facility cares for California sea lions.
The Old Seven Mile Bridge is only open to pedestrians and cyclists nowadays. It is an excellent place to walk and see the views of the water. You don’t need to tackle all seven miles. However, feel free to do just that if you have the time and the energy.
Dolphins aren’t the only animals being rescued and rehabilitated in the Florida Keys. Over at the Turtle Hospital, you can visit with the sea turtles.
It is recommended you make reservations for your visit to the Turtle Hospital. It is usually busy, especially at peak times of the year.
The National Key Deer Refuge is located between Marathon and Key West. If you are driving through the Florida Keys during your family vacation, you will pass right on through this area.
This refuge was established back in 1957. Endangered Key deer live within the refuge. These miniature deer are only as big as a large dog. So, it can be easy to miss them if you are not paying attention.
Sixty different species of butterflies can be found inside this glass-enclosed conservatory. In addition to the butterflies, you will spot twenty different bird species.
This is an excellent place to relax and enjoy a little solitude while in the Florida Keys.
Mallory Square is the must-visit destination in Old Town Key West. Entertainment is almost always available in this square. One day, you may see cats walking a tightrope, while the next may have a person swallowing a sword or juggling fire.
If you can tear yourself away from the entertainment, head into one of the numerous shops to purchase souvenirs. Don’t skip the Key West Sponge Market or the treasure hunting store.
Oh, and don’t leave Mallory Square too early. This is considered the best place to watch the sunset in the Keys. Actually, it is even one of the best places to watch the sunset in the US.
One of the best things to do in the Florida Keys is snorkeling at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Out in the water, you will discover plenty of marine life, as well as old shipwrecks.
If you have younger children, or don’t want to snorkel, you can always spend time on the shell-covered beach. There is a small swimming area there. It is perfect for getting your feet wet and having a little fun.
You can also take a glass bottom boat tour if you want to see all the action underwater without getting wet. Perfect for those days when you forget your swimsuit!
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is filled with history and personal items. Start with a tour of the inside of the home before heading out into the gardens. I say this, because if you start outside, you will never get to the inside.
This is because of the sixty plus cats who live within the gardens. Those cats are all descendants of Hemingway’s cats. Most of the cats are famous because of their six toes. All the cats are very friendly and love to snuggle.
Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote island in the Gulf of Mexico. It is approximately seventy miles from Key West.
Head out on the ferry to explore this island, as well as Fort Jefferson. One of the best things to do in this part of the Florida Keys is snorkeling. Some of the best snorkeling spots include Fort Jefferson’s moat wall, the Historic Coaling Pier, and the coral heads in Garden Key.
If you want to spend more time at this national park, I recommend taking a seaplane instead of the ferry.
You cannot visit the Florida Keys and not spend at least one day on the beach! Bahia Honda State Park has one of the best beaches in the Keys. There are two beaches at this park. One faces the ocean, while the other looks towards the old railroad bridge.
A family vacation in Key West should always include a little time wandering along Duval Street. This street is full of museums, shops, cafes, and galleries. Stopping in them all will require you to stay all day. Keep this in mind if you are trying to get as much done as possible during your family trip.
Don’t want to be with the crowds in Mallory Square at sunset? Well, head out on a sunset cruise and you won’t need to worry about an influx of people.
Some of these cruises are simply boat rides. Others include dinner and drinks. Choose the sunset cruise that is perfect for your family and enjoy watching the sun set from a different vantage point.
One of the best things about breweries and wineries is they are becoming child friendly. Therefore, you won’t need to skip having a drink during your family vacation. Just take the kids in with you, let them play a few games, and enjoy a soda. All while you are sipping on a new to you brew.
You can always promise them a little chocolate from a place like Key Largo Chocolates if they are really good!
Key lime pie is everywhere in the Keys. In fact, eating this pie is one of the best things to do in Florida Keys.
So, try a slice of key lime everywhere you go. Then decide which piece was your favorite. Maybe you can even go back and enjoy another slice of your favorite before you head home from this adventure.
There are plenty of places for family pictures in the Florida Keys. However, your favorite might be at the Southernmost Point Buoy.
This is actually the southernmost point in the US. So, be prepared for crowds of people. If you want to avoid the crowds, arrive really early in the morning. If not, wait your turn and see if someone is willing to take a few pictures of your entire group, so no one is left out.
There are quite a few places to go shopping in the Florida Keys. However, one of the best things to do in Florida Keys is shopping at the Rain Barrel Artisans Village. You will see the forty-foot-long lobster outside this village from the Overseas Highway. Talk about capturing your attention!
Your initial goal will be to get a picture of Betsy the lobster. But your curiosity will get the better of you and before you know it, you will all be exploring the stalls.
Tarpons arrive at Robbie’s Marina by the dozens waiting to be fed. So, don’t disappoint them! Take time during your family vacation to stop at this marina to feed the tarpon. Have your camera ready to capture the open mouths that look like the top of a five-gallon bucket.
Do you have a bookworm or two in your family? If you said yes, the Old Town Literary Walking Tour should probably be on your family vacation itinerary. During this tour, you will stop at many of the writers’ homes in Key West. A couple of those writers include Shel Silverstein, Tennessee Williams, and Robert Frost.
Yes, there is a Little White House down in the Florida Keys. This house was constructed in 1890 and served as a vacation home for some US Presidents. This was before Camp David became the favorite retreat of Presidents.
Harry S. Truman spent the most time at the Little White House. Therefore, you should expect most of the displays to reflect his life and career.
These are some of the best things to do in Florida Keys during a family vacation. I can help you determine which ones should be on your itinerary, as well as share other options your family will love. My goal is to make sure you make tons of memories while on vacation with your family. After all, we all know the days are long, but the years are short. And you may be feeling that more than ever at this point!
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