Florida Keys

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When it comes down to planning your day-to-day list of things to do, ShermansTravel experts have you covered. To make sure you get the most out of your vacation, we recommend the can't-miss museums and attractions, as well as the off-the-path activities and unique local experiences that will make your trip truly memorable.

Things to do in Florida Keys

Audubon House and Gardens

Once a sea captain's home, legendary naturalist/artist John James Audubon used the grounds to sketch birds in 1832; several first-edition Audubon works are on display here and in the on-site gallery. Brick pathways wind through nearly an acre of tropical gardens with hundreds of orchids and carefully labeled flora.

205 Whitehead St., FL, 877-294-2470, 305-294-2116, www.audubonhouse.com
Tags: family | things to do | history

Bahia Honda State Park

For some quality beach bumming, take a short drive from Marathon to Bahia Honda. The park touts one of the few natural beaches in the Keys, with crystal-clear waters can be waded into (a huge plus that outshines the seaweed that collects on the shoreline). The park is ideal for campers (cabin rentals are also available) and snorkelers, and it offers kayak rentals at rates that are some 50 percent less than many other outfitters.

36850 Overseas Hwy. at MM 37, FL, 305-872-2353, www.bahiahondapark.com
Tags: things to do | camping

Dolphin Cove Research and Educational Center

Dolphin Cove offers visitors a chance to be a dolphin trainer for a day, or experience snorkeling and structured swims with dolphins in a natural lagoon. Get up close and personal with these friendly mammals during the Dolphin Wade Encounter - they even give out handshakes and kisses.

101900 Overseas Hwy. at MM 101.9, FL, 305-451-4060, www.dolphinscove.com
Tags: editor pick | things to do | wildlife

Dolphin Research Center

The entire family can enjoy the narrated educational sessions offered at the Dolphin Research Center, providing a glimpse into the life of a dolphin. The center also offers interactive programs like "Trainer for a Day" or "Dolphin Encounter" which invite visitors to swim and play with the dolphins.

58901 Overseas Hwy. at MM 59, FL, 305-289-0002, www.dolphins.org
Tags: eco-friendly | things to do | wildlife

Ernest Hemingway House

See the Spanish Colonial home where Hemingway cranked out many of his novels and short stories in the 1930s, when he wasn't fishing or throwing one back at Sloppy Joe's Bar. European antiques and African animal skins from his travels adorn the property and descendants of his famous six-toed cats still roam about.

907 Whitehead St., FL, 305-294-1136, www.hemingwayhome.com
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do | history

Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center

Gain a greater understanding of the local ecology at this free, child-friendly science center operated by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. This educational look at the Keys' (land- and sea-based flora and fauna features a mock-up of the Sanctuary's Aquarius underwater ocean lab which is deployed 9 miles south of Key Largo), habitat exhibits, and a short, well-made nature documentary.

35 Quay Rd., FL, 305-809-4750, www.floridakeys.noaa.gov
Tags: family | great value | things to do

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

Key West isn't known for its beaches, but this one is a gem. Tour the fortress completed in 1866 or skip to the sands at the southern end for snorkeling, picnic tables, and a snack bar. Two short nature trails loop through the tropical vegetation.

Entrance at Southard & Whitehead Sts., FL, 305-292-6713, www.floridastateparks.org/forttaylor
Tags: beach | family | things to do | outdoors | history

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Known as "America's First Undersea Park," some of the best snorkeling in the Keys can be found here. In addition to boat rentals, scuba diving, and glass-bottom boat tours, there are 47 full-facility campsites, nature trails, picnic areas, a small aquarium, and two man-made beaches. Near the shore of Canon Beach rests the remains of an early Spanish shipwreck.

102601 Overseas Hwy. at MM 102.5, FL, 305-451-1202, www.pennekamppark.com
Tags: snorkeling | editor pick | things to do | outdoors

Key Largo Fishing Adventures

A trip to Key Largo wouldn't be complete without a "big fish story" to tell when you return home. Bring the family on a guided fishing charter with knowledgeable anglers for a chance at catching mahi-mahi, tuna, snapper, barracuda, and more. Typical tours range from 5 to 8 hours in length and can accommodate up to six people.

10000 Overseas Hwy. at MM 100, FL, 305-923-9293, www.keyssportfishing.com
Tags: things to do | fishing

Key Largo Parasail

Strap yourself into a giant parachute for a bird's-eye view of it all. Key Largo Parasail offers some of the most attractive rates for 8- to 10-minute rides from 600 to 1,000 feet in the air. All ages can participate, making it a great family activity as well. Mention their website when paying cash on a 1,000-foot ride and save $20.

103900 Overseas Hwy. at MM 104, FL, 305-747-0032, www.keylargoparasail.com
Tags: things to do | outdoors

Key West Aquarium

SeaWorld it’s not, but kids still love the indigenous nurse sharks, turtles, stingrays, and tarpon fish, as well as the hands-on interaction that touch tanks provide with creatures like sea urchins, starfish, sea cucumbers, and hermit crabs. Visit during one of the four daily tours to see the shark feedings.

1 Whitehead St., FL, 800-868-7482; 305-296-2051, www.keywestaquarium.com
Tags: family | things to do

Key West Museum of Art & History

Visit the imposing red-brick 1891 Custom House (once a post office, later a government center) with its dramatically steep gables. Folk art from early 20th-century painter Mario Sanchez, possessions belonging to Hemingway, and other exhibits showcase Key West's heritage. Whimsical outdoor sculptures make for great photo ops.

281 Front St., FL, 305-295-6616, www.kwahs.com/customhouse.htm
Tags: family | things to do | culture | history

Margaritaville Café

Yup – that Margaritaville. Although touristy, it's always fun to be able to say you paid a visit to the restaurant/bar opened by the famous singer Jimmy Buffett.

500 Duval St., FL, 305-292-1435, www.margaritaville.com
Tags: nightlife | editor pick | lounge | things to do | bar

Morning Star Sailing Charters

There are few better ways to experience the quiet essence of the Keys than on a sunset cruise. A number of places offer daily sailings, but for a truly intimate experience, Morning Star charters up to six people maximum to ensure a peaceful voyage. In fact, couples can even tie the knot at sea and celebrate with a bottle of champagne. Snorkeling charters can also be arranged; the crew will select the reefs based on the daily weather conditions.

1313 Ocean Bay Dr., near MM 100, FL, 305-451-7057, www.morningstarcharters.com
Tags: sailing | snorkeling | things to do

Robbie’s Marina

Most of the true Islamorada action centers around Robbie's, where you can rent kayaks, hop on a boat ride to the reefs for some snorkeling, take off on a sportfishing excursion, set out on a leisurely sunset cruise, or feed one of the many tarpons that linger around the marina. Local art vendors hock their wares here daily.

77522 Overseas Hwy. at MM 77.5, FL, 305-664-9814, www.robbies.com
Tags: editor pick | things to do | fishing

Scuba-do Dive Company

Explore the coral reefs and shipwrecks surrounding Key Largo with no more then 10 other divers. Some of the dive sites offered by this popular company include to a British steel freighter, known as the Benwood Wreck, as well as to the 15-acre Molasses Reef.

100750 Overseas Hwy. at MM 100.7, FL, 305-451-3446, www.scuba-do.com
Tags: great value | things to do | outdoors | diving

Sloppy Joe's

Made famous as a Hemingway hangout, the cavernous flag-bestrewn room offers up different music acts every night.

201 Duval St., FL, 305-294-5717, www.sloppyjoes.com
Tags: nightlife | editor pick | dancing | things to do | bar

The Florida Keys History of Diving Museum

For those with a passion for unraveling the mysteries of the deep, this not-for-profit museum is dedicated to collecting and preserving diving related antiques and artifacts. The informative exhibits take you back in diving history from ancient Greece to the modern treasure hunters of South Florida, plus there are plenty of hands-on and visual activities for the kids.

82990 Overseas Hwy. at MM 83, FL, 305-664-9737, www.divingmuseum.com
Tags: things to do | museum

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

Observe up to 60 types of butterflies, including the conservatory's signature iridescent Blue Morpho, fluttering freely through a lush, climate-controlled glass habitat filled with tropical foliage and water features. The butterflies range in size from a two-inch in wingspan (heliconias) up to a dramatic 11 inches (Owl butterflies).

1316 Duval St., FL, 305-296-2988, www.keywestbutterfly.com
Tags: family | things to do | wildlife | gardens

The Otherside

This extreme water sports equipment supplier offers private beginner and intermediate kiteboarding lessons. The instructors are PASA (Professional Air Sports Association) certified and each have over 10 years experience. Although these activities carry a hefty price tag, the company offers a satisfaction guarantee - or your money back.

87745 Overseas Hwy. #6 at MM 87, FL, 305-853-9728, www.othersideboardsports.com
Tags: sports and adventure | things to do

The Turtle Hospital

For a truly heartwarming experience and a chance to view sea turtles up close, a visit to the Turtle Hospital is a must. The staff here rescues and treats endangered turtles that have been injured from boats and fishing nets - after rehabilitation, the turtles are released back into the wild. Visitors receive a guided tour and a chance to feed the hard-shelled patients.

2396 Overseas Hwy. at MM 48.5, FL, 305-743-2552, www.turtlehospital.org
Tags: great value | eco-friendly | things to do | wildlife

Theater of the Sea

This marine mammal adventure park grants visitors a chance to swim with sting rays, dolphins, and sea lions (you might even steal a kiss from the latter), and watch the animals perform amazing feats during live shows. There are 17 acres of tropical gardens and animal enclosures filled with exotic fish, crocodiles, sea turtles, and parrots. Admission also includes guided tours and a bottomless boat cruise through the natural saltwater lagoon.

84721 Overseas Hwy. at MM 84.5, FL, 305-664-2431, www.theaterofthesea.com
Tags: things to do | wildlife

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