Key West

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Balance your time in Key West with a side trip or two – there are several other Keys worth exploring and Miami is just a few hours away. The bottom line at this end of the line is that the spirit of Key West is all about letting go – of your worries, of your hang-ups, of your real life. If you don't have fun here, well, to paraphrase Jimmy Buffett, that's your own damn fault.

Day Trips from Key West

Big Pine Key

Nature is at its best in Big Pine Key, where you'll find the gorgeous beaches of Bahia Honda State Park; boat trips to Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, the most celebrated snorkeling/scuba spot in the Lower Keys; and the National Key Deer Refuge, which protects the tiny native deer and other threatened species.

30 miles northeast of Key West, FL, 305-872-2411, www.lowerkeyschamber.com
Tags: beach | family | snorkeling | day trip | wildlife

Dry Tortugas National Park

It will take some planning (and a 4.5-hour round-trip catamaran ride) to visit this seven-island chain, but the Dry Tortugas are worth the hassle for mid-19th century Fort Jefferson, with its imposing 50-foot walls and the reef-snorkeling, swimming, and bird-and-marine-life spotting opportunities. Overnight camping is available.

70 miles west of Key West, FL, 305-242-7700, www.nps.gov/drto
Tags: family | outdoors | day trip | diving

Everglades National Park

The largest subtropical wilderness in America shelters alligators, crocodiles, and countless wading birds within its grassy waterways. Some of the best wildlife viewing is from the .8-mile Anhinga Trail at the Royal Palm Visitor Center. U.S. 1 is slow going, so a day visit is best scheduled in conjunction with the drive between Key West and Miami.

133 miles northeast of Key West, 305-242-7700, www.nps.gov/ever
Tags: family | kayaking | day trip | wildlife

Islamorada

Islamorada doesn't boast about being world's sport-fishing capital without providing plenty of ways to reel in anglers. Located in the middle of the Keys, this marina-packed locale (comprised of six islands) offers the gamut from deepwater charters for sailfish, tuna, and marlin to backcountry excursions for bonefish and permit in the Florida Bay flats. A marine mammal park and abundant water sports equipment rentals add to the local aquatic diversions. See our Islamorada Travel Guide.

82 miles northeast of Key West, FL, 305-664-4503, www.islamoradachamber.com
Tags: family | kayaking | snorkeling | day trip | fishing

Key Largo

The first of the Florida Keys is a relaxed town dedicated to the life aquatic. Home to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo provides easy access to snorkeling and scuba charters within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 2,800 offshore square miles containing the most extensive living coral reef in North America. See our Key Largo Travel Guide.

97miles northeast of Key West, FL, 305-451-4747, www.keylargochamber.org
Tags: family | snorkeling | day trip

Miami

Although a day trip can be rewarding, it's a bit of a haul to Miami, so consider spending at least two days. Check out the Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, and Little Havana neighborhoods and don't miss the Art Deco architecture, people-watching, and spacious sands of South Beach. See our Miami Travel Guide.

161 miles northeast of Key West, FL, www.miamiandbeaches.com
Tags: family | culture | day trip

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