A beach view at the Parrot Key Hotel and Resort in Key West
If you look at the Florida Keys on a map it is really quite interesting. All of these islands off of the tail of Florida floating out in the waters between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean and someone decide to take a bunch of roads and bridges and connect them all to the mainland.
A few months ago I had the opportunity to do a short whirlwind trip of the Florida Keys starting in Key West and heading back towards Miami, finishing in the Islamorada area. There was a lot to see and do and enjoy in the Florida Keys but out of everything that we saw and did there were four particular things that really stood out to me as being the best things to do in the Florida Keys.
Tasty Key lime pie at the Blue Heaven Cafe in Key West
1. Eat Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie is featured heavily EVERYWHERE in the Florida Keys. (It also might have helped that Jerry who was leading our trip might also slightly be obsessed with it.) You can eat Key lime pie for every meal of the day there and in-between snacks as well. You can also eat Key lime pie in a variety of different ways, with lots of meringue, a little meringue or no meringue, dipped in chocolate on a stick, deep friend, as a cookie, as a cupcake or even as a milkshake. Every way that you could think of to enjoy Key lime pie they have it.
The biggest merengue ever on Key lim pie
All of the gift shops were full of Key lime everything as well. I even happened to buy a few small bottles of the juice for myself and for a food blogger friend of mine. I shipped it all the way to Not Quite Nigela in Sydney, Australia so she could enjoy the tastes of the Florida Keys as well.
If you visit the Florida Keys you MUST try Key lime pie at least once, and I bet you have it several times.
Ernest Hemingway’s House and Museum
2. Visit the Ernest Hemingway House and Museum
When I told people I was headed to the Florida Keys and was looking for suggestions of things to see and do most people told me that I should visit the Ernest Hemingway House. I of course know of him, but have never really been much of a “reader” or fan of literature so the idea of visiting his house wasn’t that exciting to me.
A polydactyl Ernest Hemingway cat
BUT then I learned about the cats and I probably couldn’t get there soon enough. When you visit you can get a tour of the house and property and learn about some great history about Ernest Hemingway, I enjoyed most of the tour until I got to distracted by the cats and wandered off on my own. The Ernest Hemingway House and Museum has become a cat sanctuary and is home to roughly 60 cats, the majority of whom are mostly polydactyl.
Polydactyl meaning six toes so these cats are extra adorable with their paws looking like baseball mitts. Ernest was a cat lover himself and fell in love with them on one of his many trips to Cuba. He was gifted one by a ships captain and the rest is history. People even say that the majority of the cats in Key West are all most likely descendants from Hemingway’s original cats from back in the day.
The Southernmost point in the continental US
Tourist souvenir shops and the world’s smallest bar
3. Enjoy the many cute towns/keys and boardwalks
The Florida Keys are filled with great places to stop and enjoy by foot. Key West in particular is a great area to walk around and explore or rent a bicycle to tour around on. You can visit the Southernmost Point of the Continental US, go bar hoping, enjoy lots of tasty and fresh seafood, do some shopping, buy local art and a lot more.
4. Visit the Turtle Hospital
The islands that make up the Florida Keys are actually a coral cay archipelago and when you have corals and reefs you also have a LOT of sea turtles of all kinds. Unfortunately due to humans and their garbage and boats and other unforeseen circumstances often the many turtles that call the Florida Keys home get tangled in nets and injured and become sick. Thankfully the Turtle Hospital has been created to rescue, rehabilitate and release as many of these adorable creatures as possible.
Located in Marathon the Turtle Hospital is a small non-profit that is open to the public to visit and tickets along with donations help keep them open and running and help them to be able to take care of all of the turtles that they can. They also do their best to educate the public on how to help prevent more turtle injuries.
To see more of my suggestions for the best things to do in the Florida Keys watch my video all about them!
Special thanks to the Florida Keys for inviting me to visit, as always all views and options expressed are my own as is all of the Key lime pie in my belly.