Day 1 You'll See:
Day 2 You'll See:
- Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center
- Founders Park
- Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
- Theater of the Sea
Day 3 You'll See:
Spend 3 days driving along Overseas Highway and seeing the best that the Florida Keys has to offer, from Biscayne Bay to Key West. You will stop at all the major nature preserves, beaches, and recreational attractions along the way, making this a truly unforgettable journey!
Biscayne National Park
This park protects a rare combination of waters, islands, and reefs, all of which come together to tell the tale of over 10,000 years of human history here. Learn all about the area's past, which includes pirates, shipwrecks, pineapple farms, business tycoons, and presidents. Take a guided tour or participate in an eco-adventure while here, with options to snorkel shipwrecks along the Maritime Heritage Trail or explore Jones Lagoon. For a more formal touring and education experience head to the Dante Fascell Visitor Center, showcasing exhibits and films covering the natural wonders within the park, as well as its history. Of course, you can also choose a more relaxed way of visiting and simply swim, sunbathe, snorkel, wildlife watch, paddle, boat, or camp while here!
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Unlike most state parks, visitors must take to the water to enjoy the beauty of the park. By glass-bottomed boat or swimming through the calm cerulean waves, thousands of yearly visitors explore the stunning marine beauty from the schools of tropical fish to stingrays and sea turtles gliding over the colorful coral reef. Hop on a canoe or kayak for a rewarding ecotourism activity, though John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park's most popular activity is diving. In diving, visitors will encounter something unexpected, an eight and a half foot tall statue of Jesus, Christ of the Abyss, designed as a twin to Il Cristo Degli Abissi in the Mediterranean Sea. Sitting in 25-foot water, visitors often snorkel or scuba dive to the incredible statue, and observe the peaceful beauty of nature meeting art.
The African Queen Dinner Cruise
Surely you've heard of or seen the classic film The African Queen, a 1951 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Well did you know that this film's main star, The African Queen, is an actual steamboat you can visit and ride in the Florida Keys? That's right, this local Key Largo movie star sits docked at Marina Del Mar, near mile marker 100. A timeless classic sitting on the United States Register of Historic Places, The African Queen provides daily Canal Cruises and Dinner Cruises along the Port Largo Canal area, the latter of which lasts 2 hours and takes you to dock at the Pilot House Marina and Restaurant, where you will enjoy a delicious 3-course menu. This is the perfect way to end your first night on the Florida Keys.
Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center
The Bird Sanctuary itself is named after the 'Bird Lady' of the Florida Keys, Laura Quinn. She had quite the legacy rehabilitation wild local birds and eventually partnered up with Dr. Robert Foley, a local veterinarian. Together they fixed wild birds' broken wings, removed fishing hooks from them, and even raised any orphaned birds found. This legacy of rehabilitation continues today at the sanctuary, which houses around 90 non-releasable wild birds. You can learn all about them during your visit, as well as walk the boardwalk and take part in bird feedings. The other half of this complex, the Mission Wild Bird Hospital, is actually only open to staff, but there is an onsite Gift Shop and Visitor Center you can visit with your group to continue the experience.
Welcome to the center of Islamorada's park system, Founders Park. This 45-acre public park space provides locals and guests alike with sports facilities, recreational activities, aquatics, camps, and public events regularly, this park being a very popular local gathering spot. During your visit, your group can choose from several different activities, one of the most popular being swimming. You can swim in either the onsite Olympic sized pool, which is 50 meters by 25 years, 4-12.5 foot deep, or in the ocean, as this park also has great beach access. You can also enjoy picnic pavilions, sand volleyball, children's playgrounds, a splash pad play area, tennis and basketball courts, soccer fields, a golf driving cage, an on-site amphitheater, and a coral-lined fishing jetty.
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
Welcome to Windley Key State Park, the geological park that is known for producing Key Largo Limestone, or 'Keystone', as well as showing off gorgeous fossilized coral. Historically speaking, this land was sold to the Flagler East Coast Railroad (Henry Flagler) in the early 1900s, but it continued on as a quarry until the 1960s. Today you can walk along the 8-foot high quarry walls, hike the 5 different trails available, or tour the Alison Fahrer Environmental Education Center (open Thursdays-Mondays). The education center shows displays on the Flagler railroad, local hardwood hammocks, and the geology of this park in general. If you choose to hike while here there are 1.5 miles total, the trails going through tropical hardwood hammock, showing off 40 species of native trees and plants. Many people enjoy birdwatching here, as well.
Theater of the Sea
Swim with the dolphins in the safety of this incredible wildlife park and have a blast with the animals! Play in the water not only with the quirky and intelligent Atlantic bottlenose dolphins but California sea lions, sea turtles, and stingrays as well. Watch the dolphins perform skillful feats of dexterity, see the sea lions paint with their mouths, and even swim with the sharks! Not only can you encounter the most traditional marine wildlife at the Theater of the Sea but also Florida natives including tropical reef fish, American alligators, and Cuban-American crocodiles, iguanas and parrots, birds of prey, and so much more. Take a leisurely stroll through the park and along the interpretive nature trails, participate in a program or educational encounter, and experience the magic and wonder of a live animal show.
Bahia Honda State Park
There's so much to see and do at this incredible park that your group is never going to want to leave! Stay overnight and camp under the stars with the sounds of the ebb and flow of the sea to lull you off to sleep and in the morning, kayak or canoe in the crystal clear water, beachcomb or simply relax on the award-winning beaches. Biking, hiking, and park programs offer more land-based activities though you can always skip down to the water's edge and swim or even fish. Park rangers would be happy to take your group on a tour of the park over the natural and historic cultural sites and topics of Bahia Honda. Aside from the designated campsites, the park also has cabin lodging, a gift shop, and a snack bar serving deli sandwiches and even pizza.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
In gorgeous, tropical Key West you'll encounter an enchanted wonderland of colorful butterflies as they flit about their protected habitats to be observed and admired. Over 50 species of international butterflies are in attendance as are a number of tropical birds and a veritable jungle of plants in the stunning conservatory. Walk through the glass covered conservatory and become enthralled with the magic of the indoor paradise! Like an oasis, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory protects a number of butterfly and butterfly-friendly bird species including cordon-blue finches, Chinese painted quail, and red-factor canaries.
Along Duval you will find a great mixture of high priced stores and bargain shops, selling every beach product imaginable from authentic Cuban cigars to towels and flip flops. You can find the best jewelry and local beads, gifts and souvenirs, clothes and swimwear, and even artwork while here, the entire street a great place to even just window shop. When it comes to eating here on Duval you are in for another treat, this step holding many deliciously famous restaurants and bars. Try Sloppy Joes (a favorite of Ernest Hemingway), Turtle Kraals, Fogarty’s, or Bull and Whistle, just be sure to save room for Kermit’s Sky West Key Lime Pie Shoppe, what many argue to be the best key lime pie around.
Welcome to Mallory Square, the area’s premier waterfront square surrounded by many different quality eateries and shops. Specifically located on 400 Wall Street, Mallory Square is well known for crowds of people gathering here to watch the sunset each evening, this spot being one of the best places to see the pink and orange colors light up the Gulf horizon. The Sunset Celebration is a nightly festival at Mallory Square with a variety of events, performers, and live music. You can see magicians, jugglers, clowns, psychics, artists, food vendors, and so much more here, the entire place also being a great social gathering spot to enjoy your night, enjoy your surroundings, and people/sunset watch.