A quirky website called bucketlistjourney.com discusses their “bucket list” for Key Largo & Islamorada
Florida Keys Islands Bucket List: 50 Things to Do in Key West & Beyond -This Week, Key West & Islamorada
Where else can you find warm ocean water, breathtaking state parks, acres of mangroves, sunsets that draw crowds and arguably the best key lime pie in the world? The Florida Keys islands are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the country with an abundance of adventurous, historical and yummy things to do.
It’s possible to fly right into the most talked about city of Key West, but the best way to fully experience ‘The Keys’ is a road-trip from Key Largo all the way down to southernmost point of Key West (like I did!). This way you will have the flexibility to make pitstops along the way and check off your Florida Keys bucket list.
What to See, Do & Eat in Key Largo
1. ✧ Paddle board the Mangroves at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Located in Key Largo, this excitingly serene park extends three miles into the ocean and has coral reefs, seagrass swamps and mangroves within its confines. The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is home to a flurry of activities and attractions that are excellent for adults and children alike—From glass bottom boat rides to sunbathing at the beach, snorkeling and kayaking. I should also mention that it is home to the Nation’s first underwater park!
If you visit with the mind for adventure, then you should rent a kayak or paddle board and go exploring through the mangroves. There are many little water paths that meander through these dense forest like mangroves. Keep an eye out for underwater life and the gorgeous birds that call the Florida Keys park home!
2. ✦ Take a Ride on the African Queen
Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn made the African Queen steamboat famous when they starred in the 1951 movie by the same name that was filmed in Uganda.
From then on, the African Queen, docked at the Marina Del Mar marina has become home to relaxing canal cruises in Key Largo and romantic dinner cruises as well. You can even ask the Captain for a turn at the helm while underway the one and a half hour cruise. I did!
3. ✧ Spend the night at Jules Undersea Lodge
The Jules Undersea Lodge is true to its name, it really is underwater—you actually have to dive 21 feet below the surface to enter! How’s that for bucket list worthy? You can choose to stay for just a few hours or be more adventurous and stay overnight. Don’t worry though, there are all the modern amenities. Plus, you can cozy up with a book or movie and watch the fish go by through the large round windows.
4. ✧ Take a Jetpack Water Flight
5. ✧ Visit the Wild Bird Sanctuary in Key Largo
The Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary which is only a few minutes’ walk from the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park really should be on the bucket list for bird lovers. In fact, even if you are not as enthusiastic about birds, you might find a tour of this sanctuary illuminating.
There is no official charge to get in but you are politely requested to donate whatever you can; these monies all go to the care of wounded wild birds within the sanctuary (so a very good cause!). Within the aviaries you will see owls, pelicans, hawks and a wide variety of other wild birds that are majestic and unique to say the least.
WHERE TO EAT IN KEY LARGO: You won’t go hungry in Key Largo, there are plenty of great restaurants. Eat the coconut cake at Buzzards Roost, hit up Skipper’s Dockside for an outdoor lunch and the Fish House for dinner, plus don’t forget to get the key lime martini at Sundowners.
What to See, Do & Eat in Islamorada
6. ✦ Shop at the Rain Barrel Artisans Village
Ah, what would the Florida Keys be without a unique shopping experience?! The first thing you will notice about the Rain Barrel Artisans Village is the 40-foot-long lobster named Betsy that will lure you in for an unforgettable photo-op off the Overseas Highway. Once you stop, you can’t leave without at least browsing through the stalls.
The artisans in this village are experts who create sculptures, paintings, collages, jewelry, home decor and almost every other type of accessories in such creative ways that you will definitely find something worth buying.
7. ✧ Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s Marina
In Islamorada of the Florida Keys, there is a place called Robbie’s Marina where you can feed tarpon! These bony salt-water fish have a ‘strong’ smell, but as long as you are not looking to eat them then that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. They gather by the dozens at Robbie’s Marina waiting for you to feed them fish snacks which is a pretty exhilarating thing to do considering some of these fish have mouths almost as big as a five-gallon bucket.
8. ✧ Visit the History of Diving Museum
If you are a scuba diver, then definitely don’t miss a stop at the History of Diving Museum. With contributions from more than 30 countries, the museum has the world’s largest collection of armored suits, diving helmets and other diving accessories.
9. ✦ Drink the Local Beer
You will find the Florida Keys Brewing Company’s beer all over the Keys, but why not get it straight from the source at in Islamorada? The breweries new beer garden has 20 of their own brews on tap, plus Mead and house brewed Kambucha.
10. ✦ Stroll the Third Thursday Art Walk
Time your beer visit (see above) correctly and you can stroll through the Morada Way Artwalks. Every third Thursday of the month the Morada Way Arts District hosts an outdoor walk where talented artisans set up booths along the street. It’s the perfect place to pick up souvenir jewelry, handmade candles or paintings. The event happens to be right next to the Florida Keys Brewing Co., so stop in and get a beer, then do some shopping.
Hey! I’m Annette—an experience collector, blogger, author and restaurant owner, living my bucket list. Homebase is NorCal. 50 Countries, Countless Adventures. Learn more.
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