Top 5 experiences in the Florida Keys on the 200th anniversary of the island chain

On July 3, 2023, the Florida Keys will celebrate their 200th birthday, marking two centuries since the founding of Monroe County in 1823. To commemorate this momentous occasion, the Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Authority has curated a list of five must-do experiences for travelers visiting the enchanting island chain.

Exploring the Enchanting Florida Keys on the Legendary Overseas Highway

The adventure begins with a road trip along the legendary Florida Keys Overseas Highway. As travelers traverse the 42 bridges connecting the islands, they are treated to breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. This scenic drive, also known as the “Highway that Goes to Sea,” features the iconic Seven Mile Bridge, a nearly seven-mile stretch across the open ocean. The stunning natural beauty of the surroundings is sure to captivate all who venture on this route.

the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a Water Wonderland of Coral Reefs and Marine Life

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a true treasure for water enthusiasts. Visitors can dive into the coastal waters and explore the only living coral reef in the continental United States. Snorkeling and glass-bottom boat excursions offer a glimpse into the vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful marine life. Kayak tours and stand-up paddling allow for a more leisurely exploration of the pristine waters. For those interested in fishing or diving, the Florida Keys provide top-notch experiences that will create lasting memories.

Top 5 experiences in the Florida Keys on the 200th anniversary of the island chain
A Turtle Hospital staffer, right, shows visitors to the center a female green sea turtle that underwent treatment for intestinal ailments. Visitors to the Florida Keys can tour the world’s only state-certified veterinary hospital for sea turtles located in Marathon, Fla. Photo by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News

Wild Encounters: Discovering Nature’s Treasures in the Breathtaking Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are home to a rich diversity of wildlife, offering unique encounters with nature’s inhabitants. Travelers can spot dolphins in their natural habitat, observe the fascinating Key Deer, small deer native to the area, and marvel at the gentle manatees up close. Native and migratory bird species can be spotted while exploring the islands. A visit to the Turtle Hospital provides an opportunity to learn about the care and rehabilitation of sea turtles, and witness their release back into the ocean. Additionally, a visit to the former home of renowned writer Ernest Hemingway in Key West offers the chance to be greeted by the famous six-toed cats, direct descendants of the writer’s beloved pet.

The backcountry of the Florida Keys

The backcountry of the Florida Keys presents an untouched and vibrant ecosystem. Guided kayak tours through the mangrove islands, turtle meadows, and sponge flats allow travelers to immerse themselves in nature. The hinterland is home to a wide array of plant and marine life, ranging from tiny aquatic animals to lobsters, stingrays, and barracudas. Nature lovers will find the Florida Keys’ backcountry to be a true paradise.

Top 5 experiences in the Florida Keys on the 200th anniversary of the island chain
Credit : Florida keys news

Key West, the southernmost city in continental America

Picturesque palm-lined streets, centuries-old mansions, and a uniquely laid-back lifestyle await visitors. Key West has been a haven for literary greats such as Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, as well as a preferred vacation spot for President Harry S. Truman. Visitors can indulge in unforgettable eco-experiences, partake in a variety of water sports and excursions, embark on culinary tours, immerse themselves in the vibrant nightlife, and enjoy a calendar packed with festivals and special events, including the famous daily sunset celebrations in Mallory Square.

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