A Green Vacation in the Florida Keys: Part II- Attractions, Dining and Food, and how the Keys are becoming more Green…
Visitors from around the world are drawn to the Florida Keys to experience the island chain’s priceless natural resources, and the therapy they provide the mind, body and soul. The Keys have celebrated a heritage of conservation and protection of these resources for more than 100 years, demonstrating the region’s commitment to responsible tourism, environmental stewardship and the future of the island chain.
Spotlights news about an environmentally
The mission of the Monroe County (Florida Keys) Tourist Development Council is to set an overall direction for the Florida Keys tourism marketing effort in a manner that will assure long-term sustained growth in tourism revenues while also guaranteeing the sustainability and improvement of our product, including both our man-made and natural resources, and improvements to the quality of life of our residents.
ENJOY A GREEN VACATION
The Upper Keys:
In Key Largo and Islamorada, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has two exclusive locations, Mariners Resort Villas & Marina and the Historic Tavernier Inn
The Florida Keys are filled with eco-friendly things to do while on vacation. Like walking tours, they are designed to interact with nature, are inexpensive and low-impact, and help visitors get to know the Keys more intimately:
Where the freshwater from the Everglades mixes with the saltwater of Florida Bay is an environmentally fascinating place. Key Largo is unique among the Keys in that it abuts Everglades National Park, the third largest park in the continental United Sates, along its southeastern-most border. Winding tributaries and tiny creeks are covered with a canopy of old-growth mangrove trees overhead. Manatees are regular visitors, especially during the winter months. For those who enjoy wilderness camping, outfitters in the Keys offer extended kayak and canoe trips from Flamingo, a national park outpost where the Everglades meet the sea, to Everglades City on Florida’s west coast. Tour boats and air-boat rides through the grassy interior of the Everglades can also introduce you to the wildlife and wilderness.
Other ways you can volunteer for environmental, conservation and preservation activities during your vacation include:
Keys Voluntourism — Whether you have special skills or interests, or just want to help out, you can connect with the causes and charities that are dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of both human and animal life in The Florida Keys. Find causes that range from reef restoration and beach clean-ups to helping kids or spending time working in a wildlife refuge.
Adopt-A-Reef Clean Up programs — Divers volunteer to clean up monofilament fishing line from the reef and other fragile areas. From Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys. Occur in April and September.
Bleach Watch — During your next trip to the reef scuba Divers and snorkels can actually help the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Mote Marine Laboratory monitor the coral. Just report back through this program whether you saw healthy reef or any evidence of coral bleaching episodes.
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) — REEF is a non- profit organization that encourages recreational divers and snorkelers to conduct fish surveys during their normal dive activities. Surveying can be conducted year round. Contact REEF to find out how you can conduct a fish survey during your next dive or snorkeling trip.
Some important resources for cyclists:
The Middle Keys:
In the Middle Keys, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has the Village at Hawks Cay Villas on Duck Key, Indigo Reef Resort Villas & Marina and the Coral Lagoon Resort Villas &Marinas
Dining & Food
Eating locally is one of the best ways to support a community — shopping at local, organic, artisanal stores and seafood markets, and dining at area restaurants that prepare dishes with locally sourced ingredients. And, it’s fun to celebrate by finding foods in a new place that you cannot get at home!
Keys restaurants across the island chain are implementing programs to become more green such as recycling, switching to biodegradable take-out containers, reducing energy consumption, switching to eco-friendly cleaning products and installing low-flow bathroom fixtures.
The Florida Keys can boast early settlers ranging from Bahamian fishermen to Cuban cigar makers and New England merchants. With such a rich melting pot, it’s natural that the indigenous cuisine came to incorporate diverse and delicious influences — with a reliance on an abundant array of fish and seafood harvested from surrounding waters.
Commercial fishing, in fact, is the second-largest industry in the Keys. Fresh catches that grace a restaurant table at night were probably unloaded at the docks that morning, and fish and seafood headline nearly every restaurant menu.
Seafood markets are brimming with sustainable choices such as the clawless spiny lobster, Key West pink shrimp and fish caught in local waters, such as mahi-mahi, grouper and snapper. Stone crabs, renowned for their sweet and succulent meat, are a popular delicacy. Because nearly all of the crab’s meat is contained within its grapnels, these are the only portions of the crustacean that are harvested. Once the claws are removed, the crab is returned to the sea where, over the course of up to two years, the claws regenerate. It is for this reason that stone crabs are considered a renewable resource, and the Florida Keys are responsible for about 40 percent of the state’s overall harvest.
The Lower Keys:
In the Lower Keys, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has the Coral Hammock Resort Villas and Kings Point Marina
Local newspapers use biodegradable bags to deliver their papers, and use natural inks produced from plant sources such as soy and other environmentally friendly materials. The newsprint is produced from a combination of recycled stock and paper from renewable farmed trees, and excess newsprint and recycled newspapers to a paper recycling and production company in Fort Lauderdale.
If you’re coming down to visit and stay with us at the KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas in our vacation rentals, share some of your favorite experiences with us …
Visit our blog next Tuesday with updated experiences in the Florida Keys…
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