Top-Rated Sight-Seeing Destinations in the Florida Keys (2023)
Closer to a string of islands along with the most scenic causeway drives, vacations in the Florida Keys takes you towards once in a lifetime kind of experience. The mesmerizing islands of Florida Key are spread between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, covering 113 miles. The journey from North to South here will begin with Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, the Lower Keys, and finally, towards the Key West. However, what it holds within is not only the string of island but much more to it.
Florida Key feels like a paradise from the World away with unlimited sights that one cannot cover in a single vacation. Thus, out of uncountable beauties, here we have shortlisted the Top-Rated Sight-Seeing Destinations to Visit in the Florida Keys for a secluded sightseeing experience. Going further, we make sure that you get to choose the best for your trip without overlooking the most astonishing destination in Florida Key.
7 Top-Rated Sight-Seeing Destinations in the Florida Keys
1. The Overseas Highway
A Marvel of U.S. Engineering, the motoristsaccess to the entire beauty within the keys, and one of the most scenic causeways drives in America, is the Overseas Highway. The journey over the highway brings you close to the aquamarine water, Robinson Crusoe-Esque islands, historic bridges like Long Key Bridge Bahia Honda Bridge, and popular fishing spots. It is an ideal spot to witness one of the most dramatic sunsets where a giant fireball immerses into the lap of blue sea and spreads radiant shades of pink, orange, and purple across the sky and water.
2. Dry Tortugas National Park
In the Gulf of Mexico, along with the West Key, the Dry Tortugas National Park comprises 7 marvelous islands, beaches, an assortment of birdlife, a 19th Century Fort Jefferson, a lighthouse, and protected coral reefs. Located about 70 miles west of the West Key, the Dry Tortugas National Park is only accessible by a seaplane or a boat. It is said that the park is more than 90% inside the water and is counted amongst the most remote National Parks in the U.S. The 19th Century Fort Jefferson here is composed of 16 million bricks and is noted as the largest brick structure in the entire western hemisphere.
The Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida Keys features an official bird list of 299 common and rare species of which quite a lot frequently net within the park. April is the best time for birdwatchers to witness the most numbers. The trip to Dry Tortugas will take you towards picaresque backdrops, various sea life views from the clear water, kayak geocaching. Though bringing a private boat here requires a permit. There’s no network, no essential supplies, and even a limited washroom approach for campers being in the remote location but a worth gateaway from the busy city life.
3. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
One of the Top-Rated Sight-Seeing Destinations to Visit in the Florida Keys, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, is an underwater park that takes the visitors near the mariners life and coral reefs. The site can be explored through scuba diving, snorkeling, or viewed from the big glass-bottom boats. Visitors here can indulge in fishing, hiking, swimming, canoeing, wildlife viewing, and kayaking.
The Christ of the Abyss, a bronze submerged statue of Jesus Christ, is the most famous and magnetic site within John Pennekamp Coral Reef. The statue is 8 ½ ft., weighs around 4000lbs and is a popular site for snorkelers and scuba divers. Being here, one can walk over the short trails through tropical hammocks. The Visitor center here exhibits several large and small saltwater aquariums and multiple films and documentaries showcasing the ecosystem, biological communities, and history of this underwater marvel.
4. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Visiting the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Florida Keys is one-of-a-kind experiences that let you immerse into U.S. history, live closely to the nature’s magnificence and explore inside the waters. Fort Zachary Taylor is a National Historic Landmark and a State Park that played a crucial role in the Spanish American War and the Civil War. Around the abundant region of the Fort, there lies the buried guns and ammunition from the era of the Civil war.
The beach of Fort Zachary Taylor is undisputedly the best in the Key West, with excellent depth, clarity, and water flow. It offers one of the best swimming experiences along with tropical fishes, live corals right where the Gulf meets the Atlantic. It is an ideal spot for scuba diving and snorkeling, along with witnessing huge tarpon, baitfish, or even the giant groupers. Moreover, Fort Taylor takes you towards the best fishing experience off-shore along with the bewildering sunset.
5. Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
A glass-enclosed, climate-controlled habitat with more than 60 different birds’ species in the most stunning colors is what the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory offer. More to that, the conservatory is home to species of butterfly-friendly “free-flying” birds, trees, flowering plants, and waterfalls that combinedly transforms it into no less than a recreational spot. The glass-enclosed habitat is designed right so that the butterflies can fly freely over leafy trees and tropical flowers. It is no less than tropical heaven that holds butterflies of all shapes, sizes, colors, and shades.
Moving forward, the conservatory also has an art gallery where science and art meets. The gallery exhibits one of the brilliantly colored butterflies who have lived their livesand are now preserved into clear acrylic airtight cases for display. Further, the learning center here teaches about butterfly species, their anatomy, life cycle, and caterpillars wrapped within the cocoons in different phases and their journey of turning into a prepossessing butterfly. Along that, the path past a babbling brook takes you towards a streaming waterfall covered with lush greens and flowers, a sight not to be missed.
6. Mallory Square
Mallory Square in Florida Keys never sleeps as something is happening every minute here. It is a town square adjoining the cruise ship port, facing towards the Gulf of Mexico, on the waterfront in the Key West’s historic old town. The site is famous for uncountable reasons, of which the most loved is the “Sunset Celebration.” The celebration begins 2 hours before the sunset, every day with food carts, street performances, art shows, craft exhibitions, and everything that can add to the entertainment.
Mallory Square is an ideal spot for witnessing West Key’s commercial and social life, infusing the celebrative hours in the peaceful life of Florida Keys. For an enjoyable evening, Mallory Square has it all, from the classy restaurants to shopping paradises. Apart from this, the town square also has a Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden with 39 busts and a 20-foot monument titled “The Wreckers,” which all seem so lifelike. Walking through the garden, you can feel as every bronze bust is smiling over you.
7. Seven Mile Bridge
The Seven Mile Bridge in Florida Keys is originally a combination of two parallel bridges: the older one was completed in 1912 but was immensely damaged by the infamous Labour Day Hurricane. The newer one is slightly shorter than the original but offers an equally magnificent experience. However, the older bridge was later repaired and is now a famous track for cyclists, pedestrians, and even motorists, who want to trail along the spectacular humanmade ocean trail. Drive and some halt over the bridge are ideal for visitors who wish to capture sky, sea, and sun in their best forms.
The Best time to plan your vacation on the Florida Keys is from Mid-December to May. However, these are the peak holiday months around Keys but ideal from the weather perspective. The summers here are less crowded with better hotel deals but with humidity all around. Avoid the official hurricane season from July to November end. Both the hottest and coldest months there are pleasant enough to enjoy your vacations.
The ideal way to explore Florida Key is through rental cars. Both Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are the nearest air destination from the Florida Keys with regular shuttle services and the best rental car options. We hope this list of Top-Rated Sight-Seeing Destinations to Visit in the Florida Keys will help you plan the most enjoyable vacations.