Picture this: you're cruising down a sunny, tree-lined road. Long and narrow, it seems to go on forever-but you don't mind, because dazzling water views to your left and your right make it a mesmerizing experience.
You're in the Florida Keys, and there's no better place to take a weekend adventure.
Hop aboard with Stonewood as we take the trip down south and explore some of the most unique vistas and attractions along the way! Just read on to get started.
Explore a new kind of beach
Here in Florida, we've all been to the beach. There's room enough for volleyball nets, lots of sunbathers and, in select spots, cars, too!
Down in the Florida Keys, beaches look a little different-but their allure is as strong as can be. Because the islands that form the Keys are actually built on exposed coral reefs, they don't have the same shoreline characteristics that mainland Florida (or the rest of the US) is known for. But we think that's a good thing! Beaches are more secluded as a result-they're tucked-away, surrounded by leafy trees and coastal scrub and offer small sandy clearings with just enough room for the family and a few beach blankets. The view is beautiful and unobstructed, and you can't help but feel like you've stumbled upon your own private oasis or resort cabana. (Ann's Beach in Islamorada is just one beautiful example of this kind of beach… head up or down the Keys to find more!)
Because of the coastal makeup, the water itself is different, too. It is a lot shallower and, as you might come to enjoy, quieter, too-wave action is calm (to nonexistent) here because of the protective nature of the reef, forming small bay-like stretches of water as opposed to more open expanses, like the ones off Miami or Fort Lauderdale. As a result, surfing might not be king here-but other water diversions like angling or snorkeling are only bettered by the calm, crystal-clear surface.
Like we just mentioned, fishing is a beloved pastime down in the Keys! While each unique destination along the island chain offers up a chance to fish, none are quite as renowned as Islamorada, the aptly-named "Sportfishing Capital of the World." See how the village earned this title by checking it out for yourself! You can charter a boat to head offshore for big biters, or stick to the coast for some fly fishing in the flats. You never quite know what's lurking in plain sight, and the clarity of the water presents a welcome alternative for fishers who are used to murky lakes and rivers.
Indulge in Floribbean fare
One of the most must-do activities in the Keys would have to be eating… indulging, specifically, in the famous "Floribbean" food that blends flavors from the mainland and islands to the south.
What makes food Floribbean? You know it when you see it! Up and down the island chain, entrees-especially seafood, and even sometimes gators themselves-are spiced with delicious, flavorful medleys and garnished with tangy citrus sides (there's a reason why they call it the "Key" lime, after all!). Don't go home without indulging in a Key lime pie or conch fritters, too.
Visit the Hemingway Home
Acclaimed author Ernest Hemingway made a home for himself in Key West. The now-famous "Hemingway Home" and museum still stands, and offers visitors a chance to explore the one-of-a-kind slice of paradise where Hemingway found inspiration for To Have and Have Not, a story that takes place on the water between Cuba and the Keys. When visiting, you can also get to know the 40-50 polydactyl, or six-toed, cats that call the area "home" (many of which are likely descendants of a six-toed cat Hemingway received as a gift).
Hemingway himself loved Key West, and was even known to spend time at a local bar. If only you could sit where he sat and enjoy some of his favorite drinks…
Cap it off with refreshing fun
We couldn't finish up our trip without a look at some of the Keys' most unique, colorful bars! They're the perfect place to cap off your day in the sun. Hemingway himself enjoyed Key West's "Sloppy Joe's," and even suggested the name itself-it used to be called Russel's, and then the Silver Slipper, before settling on its now-famous name.
Sticking around the northern end of the Keys? You can't go wrong with a visit to Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar! This choice coastal spot is a little slice of Florida heaven, offering patrons a chance to park their boat at the dock-so they never have to drive on dry land! Delicious tropical drinks and dazzling sunset views await. It's a local favorite for a reason.
For Florida locals and visitors alike, the allure of the open water and dreamy island vistas are closer than you think. You don't need a passport to explore this slice of paradise-just a pair of shades and your best company.