Top 14 Fun Things to Do in Lower Keys, Florida

The Lower Keys, located just 30 miles east of Key West, are a hidden gem in the Florida Keys. This tropical island off the southern coast of Florida is a haven for tourists seeking a slice of paradise. While most visitors flock to the popular island of Key West, there’s another hidden gem waiting to be discovered – the Lower Keys. This lesser-known destination offers a more laid-back and authentic experience away from the bustling crowds of its neighboring islands. So, if you’re looking for a peaceful yet exciting holiday, here are some things to do in the Lower Keys that should not be missed.

Bahia Honda State Park

Named as one of the top ten beaches in the United States, Bahia Honda State Park is a must-visit destination in the Lower Keys. With crystal-clear waters and powdery white sand, this beach is a paradise for swimmers and snorkelers. The park also offers picturesque hiking trails that lead to stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some dolphins or sea turtles!

Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary

For all the scuba diving enthusiasts out there, Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary is a must-visit spot in the Lower Keys. Home to vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life, this sanctuary offers an unforgettable underwater experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, the crystal-clear waters of Looe Key will leave you mesmerized.

Indian Key Historic State Park

Step back in time and explore the fascinating history of Indian Key Historic State Park. This tiny island was once a bustling community during the early 1800s until it was destroyed by a hurricane. Today, visitors can take a guided tour to learn about its intriguing past, hike through the nature trails, or kayak around the island for stunning views.

Pigeon Key Historic District and Museum

Another historic landmark in the Lower Keys, Pigeon Key, was once home to over 400 workers who built Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad. Today, visitors can take a ferry ride to the island and explore the museum to learn about the construction of this iconic railway. The island also offers breathtaking views of the Seven Mile Bridge and is a popular spot for fishing and picnicking.

Veterans Memorial Park

Located on the Gulf side of Big Pine Key, Veterans Memorial Park is a scenic spot for relaxation and reflection. With its tranquil beaches, picnic areas, and nature trails, this park is perfect for a quiet day out. Visitors can also pay their respects at the memorial dedicated to veterans of all wars.

The Dolphin Research Centre

Located in Grassy Key, the Dolphin Research Centre offers a unique opportunity to interact with these intelligent creatures. Visitors can participate in educational sessions and swim with dolphins in a natural lagoon. The center also conducts research and conservation efforts to protect these marine mammals.

National Key Deer Refuge

The Lower Keys are home to the endangered Key deer, and there’s no better place to see them than at the National Key Deer Refuge. Spanning over 9,200 acres, this refuge is a haven for wildlife lovers. Visitors can embark on a self-guided tour or join a guided hike to spot these adorable creatures in their natural habitat.

Grimal Grove

Nestled in Big Pine Key, Grimal Grove is a hidden oasis filled with exotic fruits and rare trees. The grove offers guided tours where visitors can taste unique fruits and learn about tropical agriculture. With its scenic gardens and peaceful atmosphere, Grimal Grove is a must-visit for nature lovers.

The Mangroves

The Lower Keys are known for their extensive mangrove forests, and there’s no better way to explore them than on a kayak. Paddle through the winding waterways and spot diverse bird species, marine life, and even manatees. The mangroves also offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Smathers Beach

Located on the eastern side of Key West, Smathers Beach is a popular spot for beachgoers. With its soft sand and calm waters, it’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or just relaxing with a book. And the best part? The beach offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, making it an ideal spot for watching the sunset.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Literary enthusiasts can’t miss a visit to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West. This charming house was once home to the famous American author and is now a museum showcasing his life and work. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn about his time in Key West and even meet some of the descendants of his beloved six-toed cats.

Marathon, Florida

Marathon, located in the heart of the Lower Keys, offers a laid-back island lifestyle with its charming shops, restaurants, and marinas. Visitors can rent a bike to explore the island or take a stroll along the famous Seven Mile Bridge. And be sure to stop by the Florida Keys Cafe for some delicious seafood and key lime pie.

Florida Keys Cafe

The Lower Keys has an array of delectable delights to offer. One of the must-visit places for foodies is the Florida Keys Cafe. This charming little cafe serves up some of the best breakfast and lunch dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The friendly atmosphere and cozy outdoor seating make it the perfect spot to start your day before exploring all that the Lower Keys have to offer.

Summerland Marina Boat Rentals

Last but not least, no trip to the Lower Keys is complete without getting out on the water. Whether you’re fishing, snorkeling, or just cruising around, Summerland Marina Boat Rentals has got you covered. With a variety of boats to choose from and experienced captains to guide you, this is the perfect way to experience the beauty of the Lower Keys from a different perspective.

So, there you have it – a comprehensive list of things to do in the Lower Keys. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, this tropical paradise offers something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the beauty and charm of the Lower Keys!

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