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Key West Fishing

 The 220 miles of coral reef the run the length of the Florida Keys and beyond Key West to the Dry Tortugas form the backbone of the most diverse and abundant marine ecosystems in the Western Hemisphere. Visitors here enjoy countless activities related to the coral, reef, but nothing compares to the thrill of Key West fishing. From bonefishing on the flats to hunting the big game fish that run offshore and all the coral reef fishing in between, Key West fishing will make your vacation one the most exciting vacations you’ll ever experience!

 Exciting is the perfect word for Key West fishing- just ask anyone who’s had the pleasure of heading out to sea in a sport fisher for a day of chasing tuna, marlin, wahoo, or mahi mahi. Or ask the flats fisherman who tosses out a lure in front of a bonefish and watches it grab the lure and take off. Salt water sport fishing is serious fun, and the fish are serious fighters. You gotta be strong to live in the ocean!

 Key West fishing can also take you to the back country, where anglers target permit, tarpon, sharks and bonefish. There are dozens of tiny uninhabited islands covered in mangroves and set in shallow water. You could spend weeks, even months exploring the rich abundance of life that lives in the back country, and your Key West fishing guide will show you how to target each species. From the elusive bonefish who requires precise placement of the bait or lure, to the might bottom-feeding sharks that cruise around, there’s a special method and a unique thrill to catching each one. Key West fishing guides will take you there and coach you through each technique until you feel the thrill of an awesome catch on the line.

  While on vacation in the Southernmost City, why not try each type of Key West fishing? Wreck and Reef fishing, flats fishing, offshore fishing, or back country fishing- they’re all different but the one thing they have in common is great thrills and excitement that make for the best memories ever.

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Key West Diving

key west diving

Miles and miles of coral reef, dozens of explorable shipwrecks, and plenty of marine life to observe…what’s not to love about Key West diving? We’re blessed with North America’s only living coral reef and the abundancy of sea life that exists around this incredible ecosystem. Key West diving makes this tiny island a true paradise, if you ask any diver!

And now, Key West diving is even more exciting because there’s the newest artificial reef, the USS Vandenberg. Sunk in May 2009, this 327 foot ship sits in 130 feet of water six miles south of Key West. All the dive companies in town now feature Vandenberg dive trips – book online for better deals and discounts.

If you’re new to diving, then you can opt for a resort course. Learn the basics of diving in a day, and you can be out on the reef exploring the amazing underwater world in no time! The marine world and its incredibly beautiful creatures are not to be missed – imagine yourself on vacation in Key West, exploring a whole new world! Sea turtles, rays, schools of tropical fish, curious and harmless barracuda, eels, and the occasional pelagic fish like mackerel will make appearances on the reef or wrecks frequented by Key West diving boats.

From complete beginners to advanced technical divers, Key West diving has something for everyone. Some of the shipwrecks are in deep water with strong currents, like the Curb Wreck. Curb is 180 feet down, so only advanced divers can attempt this wreck. The Vandenberg is also deep, but even if you can’t go that deep, you can still enjoy this new artificial reef. The satellite towers come up to 50 feet from the surface so even snorkelers can see them when the visibility is good.

Why miss out on one of the best things about the Southernmost City? Key West diving is one of the top ten activities here, and it’s accessible to almost anyone who wants to try. From resort courses for novices to advanced technical dives for those of you who’ve been diving for years, we have a dive package for you. Come and witness the beauty of the underwater world of Key West and rediscover how exciting your vacation can be!

Key West Boat Rentals

Cruising the open seas, zipping around the Back Country, finding your own private spot on the reef for snorkeling or diving… it’s all part of the perfect tropical vacation in Paradise, and made possible with Key West boat rentals. Go where you want to go and on your own schedule and choose from a wide range of reliable, comfortable rental boats. From a 17 foot to a 30 foot center console, you can get exactly what you need to pursue your dreams of diving, snorkeling, Boat Rentals or private sunset cruises in Key West.

Key West boat rentals are available daily, weekly or monthly. It’s the perfect complement to a vacation rental with a boat slip! If you come to Key West for water sports, Boat Rentals, or any activities that involve getting on the water, then an Key West boat rental can even be an economical choice. We know it’s more fun and more convenient to rent your own boat rather then relying on charter Boat Rentals boats or dive and snorkel tours. But if your goal is to be at sea or up in the back country as much as possible, tour guide and charter prices can really add up! At $1000 for a full day of Boat Rentals with a guide, a Key West boat rental really makes sense, budget-wise.

While it’s convenient to keep your Key West boat rental at your vacation rental that comes with boat slip, this is not an option for everyone staying in Key West. Compared to the rest of the Florida Keys, Key West has relatively few waterfront homes with boat slips. There are only two canals and most of the homes those two streets are not vacation rentals.

There are hotels in Key West the feature boat slips. One is Banana Bay, located on North Roosevelt. Down the street and take a right onto Eisenhower Street, is Harborside Motel and Marina. In Old Town at the waterfront, you have pricier options like the Westin Hotel and Marina, and the Galleon Resort and Marina. Key West is full of options for everything, and you can tailor your vacation to your own desires and budget…. start planning now and get ready for your dream vacation. Book online for Key West boat rentals and save money!

Key West Bed and Breakfast

Key West is famous for a lot of things: best sunsets, great scuba diving, the Duval Crawl, Conch style architecture, and a general all around fun place to be. But of all the characteristics Key West is known for, perhaps the one you’ll find most appealing day after day is your Key West Bed and Breakfast. We call them “guest houses” here, but whatever you call them, they’re world class when it comes to hospitality, style and charm.

Escaping to your favorite Key West Bed and Breakfast enjoying a personal experience from the moment you check in. Most of the Key West Bed and Breakfasts are privately run by owners who put every ounce of their energy and every last minute of their time into creating the best possible experience for their guests. Not only do you enjoy wonderful service, you also retreat each night to an exquisitely decorated room or suite, stocked with fine linens, plush towels, and all the amenities you would expect of a small guest house on a tropical island.

That means poolside cocktails each night- on the house! And poolside breakfast if you choose. Choose a Key West Bed and Breakfast with a garden courtyard and pool for a lush tropical retreat at the end of each day. It’s not hard to find this- so many guest houses have these features. Some guest houses occupy an entire block or part of a block in Old Town, with conch-style buildings set in a square around a central garden and pool. They might also offer social mixers or cocktail hour each night, to encourage a friendly atmosphere if you want to make new friends. If not, then a thoroughly private experience is as simple as skipping the cocktail hour at the pool, and having your breakfast in your room!

Each Key West Bed and Breakfast has its own charm and style, and there’s one that perfect for you and your friends or family or special loved one. Half the fun is researching your private retreat on the internet, then booking online for deep discounts. Click on our pictures that say “Book Here” and find your own personal escape in Paradise at a Key West Bed and Breakfast.

Key West Activities

So, you need to banish the cold weather doldrums and escape to a tropical island? Key West is the perfect solution to your winter blahs. Watching the sun melt into the horizon after a day of playing in the sun and in the warm sub-tropical waters on our coral reef system will chase away even the hardest case of the winter blues. And with dozens and dozens of Key West activities, to choose from, you’ll never be bored!

From Key West Activities to Duval Street bars and shopping, the list of fun things to do in Key West runs the gamut. You can choose Key West activities that require you to just show up and enjoy the ride, like trolley tours of Old Town. Or you can join in adventure kayaking trips, snorkel adventures, or salt water sport fishing.

If you’re in town for more than a day, then you have even more Key West activities to choose from. At night, join a Key West Ghost Tour, which takes guests through the dark streets of Old Town, past haunted houses and winds its way to the Key West cemetery. Bicycle tours of Key West are also a wonderful and eco-friendly way to discover the secret corners and tiny lanes of Old Town.

Booking online for Key West activities will definitely save you lots of money. By booking in advance, you get discounts and a low price guarantee. Just click on the “Book Now” pictures you see on this website and you’ll be taken to our sister booking sites. It’s an easy way to get started on planning your Key West vacation. Those winter doldrums will disappear the minute you arrive in Key West!

Dry Tortugas Fort Jefferson

dry tortugas

Dry Tortugas is a group of ten islands west of Key West. When the US decided there was a need to control the traffic through the Gulf of New Mexico, they decided to construct a fort on the ten acre Garden Key of the Dry Tortugas, so named because there was no fresh water available. The result was Fort Jefferson, a unique six sided fort using over sixteen million bricks to construct a perimeter fifty feet high and eight feet thick, and the largest brick building in the western hemisphere. This fort at Dry Tortugas was a behemoth in its day.

 

The fort at Dry Tortugas was used as a prison for Union deserters during the Civil War, as well as housing prisoners such as Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was arrested as a co-conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. It’s later history included a quarantine station for infectious diseases.

1935 saw Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas declared as a national monument by President Roosevelt, and it became a national park in 1992.

Today, Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park is open to the public for tourists, and over 70,000 people make the trip each year. However, it can take some planning to get there.

There are a couple of options to get to the Dry Tortugas, either by boat or by seaplane. There are both public ferries and sea planes in daily operation. You can also charter or take your own boat.

dry tortugas sea plane

The Yankee Fleet operates the Yankee Freedom daily to the Dry Tortugas, departing from the Historic Key West Seaport at the northend of Margaret Street and arriving at Garden Key. Departures are at 8am (you must check in by 7:30am) and returns at 5:30. The ride to the Dry Tortugas is 2 hrs 15min each way, and the trip includes breakfast and lunch. Snorkeling equipment and a 45 minute tour of Fort Jefferson are also included. Reservations are recommended www.yankeefleet.com

Seaplanes of Key West offers a quicker trip for up to ten passengers to the Dry Tortugas, with a 40 minute flight each way. Passengers can choose either a four hour trip or an eight hour trip, and snorkeling equipment is also available so you can explore more of the Dry Tortugas. Reservations of at least a week in advance are recommended. www.seaplanesofkeywest.com

Both Yankee Fleet and Seaplanes of Key West offers a unique camping experience for the self-sufficient camper who wants to stay longer at the Dry Tortugas. Campers must bring all their own food, water and supplies, and can stay for a maximum of fourteen nights. There is also a $3 fee per night, payable to the National Park Service. There are eleven first-come first-served camps sites available at Fort Jefferson, each with a picnic table and grill (using self starting charcoal only) for camper’s use. There are restrooms available, but no sinks or showers. You must also remove all garbage with you when you leave the Dry Tortugas.

Key West

key westKey West isn’t the only place in the Florida Keys that offers resorts, or sportfishing, or museums, historical attractions, fine dining, fabulous sunsets, galleries and bars, but it is the only place that offers allthese things in multiples, plus more, in one place. Key West is the most happening place in the Keys, it’s the most populated, the most visited, and has the most preserved historical buildings in the Florida Keys. For some, this is the only destination in the Keys, and for most, it’s at least one spot they hope to visit while on vacation, discovering the Florida Keys.

Key West is the only real city in the Florida Keys, and boasts famous resident writers, artists, and pirates throughout history. There are more galleries, restaurants, museums, shops, guest houses, hotels, watersports outfitters, bars, live entertainment, and general partying going on here than anywhere else in the Keys. There are beaches, parks, bicycle paths everywhere, every kind of watersport rental you can imagine, and of course the famous Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square each night, where everyone gathers to cheer the setting sun over the water. What a way to kick off the evening! There is a constant parade of events here, such as Fantasy Fest, Hemingway Days, Conch Republic Days and too many fishing to even list. There’s a communal party-like atmosphere on Duval Street, which is Key West’s main hub of activity. Cruise Duval for bars, shops, restaurants, galleries, ice cream, and other surprises to get your vacation started. There’s a lot of discovering to do right from Duval, and then explore the side streets of Old Town for beautiful Conch houses, the epitome of Key West architecture, and for which Key West is famous. You might even be staying in a historic conch house that now serves visitors as a guest house. There are dozens of them in Key West and you can’t miss them as you stroll down the streets off Duval.

Key West has a charm that’s unique to this special part of the Florida Keys, and indeed the Conch Republic, was born here, with the Florida Keys having seceded from the US in the early 1980s. The dispute was over border issues and Cuban immigrants, but things have settled down since those days, and today the Conch Republic is more of a fanciful quirkiness and symbol of civic pride rather than a serious attempt to separate from the United States.

Key West really isn’t like any other place in the US, for it has a unique combination of historical preservation and love of freewheeling fun and anything goes attitude that some people find refreshing and others find strangely unsettling. This is a fun-loving town, and there’s no better way to witness the wonderful strangeness of Key West than to visit during Fantasy Fest, the week leading up to Halloween. This is Key West at its best, with parades, costumes, floats, and parties all week long. Book early, since accommodations fill up early. This is a popular event!

From tours of historical conch houses, to trolley car rides around the city to top tourist attractions, from offshore Key West fishing charters to dive and snorkel excursions, from deluxe resorts to quirky guest houses, from Key Lime Pie ice cream to exquisite shrimp feasts, Key West has so much to offer to everyone who visits. Discover Key West and you’ll have the time of your life!

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Big Pine Key

Big Pine Key is is the second largest Key in the Florida Keys, after Key Largo. It’s also got more trees and deer than most of the other Keys, and features a large preserve for both. The tiny deer are federally protected and stand less than three feet tall. Mid-twentieth century hunters nearly decimated the Key Deer population on Big Pine Key, and cars did a good job as well. There were only about 50 Key deer left by the 1940s, and there was great publicity over the fate of the tiny deer. You could say the seeds of the conservation movement started with the Key Deer. Tight rules governing behavior around Key Deer, including low speed limits on Big Pine Key, have saved the species, thank goodness. Today, one-third of Big Pine Key is controlled by Fish & Wildlife Service to the benefit of the Key Deer. You can visit the refuge, located at Mile Marker 31. It’s one of the most pleasant places in all the Keys for a leisurely bicycle ride because of the wide sidewalk that runs parallel to the road.

The geologic structure of Big Pine Key is such that there are sinkholes all over the island. Sometimes alligators live in the sinkholes, which fill up with fresh water. Mainly, the great thing about Big Pine Key is the large expanses of natural Keys vegetation, the taller trees (the Pines here are taller than most other Keys foliage), the Key Deer, and the major lack of development. It’s just different from the rest of the Keys.

 

Nature Trails

Big Pine Key has a few nature trails that serve well to educate visitors about the natural flora and fauna of the Florida Keys. One such is the Jack Watson Nature Trail. It’s an easy loop trail that doesn’t even go for a mile. You can read the signs which match up to various trees and plants along the trail. Learn about poisonwood trees, palms, and other native Keys trees.Big Pine Key

Watson’s Hammock is also connected to a trail, which is off Higgs Lane. Explore the backcountry marshes and evidence of previous mosquito control programs such as canals that would hold special fish that ate the larvae of mosquitos. The trees in Watson’s Hammock are fifty feet tall, and, being a hammock, it’s full of hardwood trees. Look for a gumbo-limbo tree with its goopy, sticky sap. Keep an eye out for giant spiders!

No Name Key

If you head north deeper into Big Pine Key, there’s a road that branches off to the right and over a bridge to No Name Key. The concrete bridge is popular for fishing. The road leads to the other end of the small island and then just ends. Look for Key Deer beyond the boulders marking the end of the road. There are a few small roads or perhaps they are just driveways, on No Name Key, but mainly the attraction is the bridge for fishing.

 

Nature Trails

Big Pine Key has a few nature trails that serve well to educate visitors about the natural flora and fauna of the Florida Keys. One such is the Jack Watson Nature Trail. It’s an easy loop trail that doesn’t even go for a mile. You can read the signs which match up to various trees and plants along the trail. Learn about poisonwood trees, palms, and other native Keys trees.

Watson’s Hammock is also connected to a trail, which is off Higgs Lane. Explore the backcountry marshes and evidence of previous mosquito control programs such as canals that would hold special fish that ate the larvae of mosquitos. The trees in Watson’s Hammock are fifty feet tall, and, being a hammock, it’s full of hardwood trees. Look for a gumbo-limbo tree with its goopy, sticky sap. Keep an eye out for giant spiders!

No Name Key

If you head north deeper into Big Pine Key, there’s a road that branches off to the right and over a bridge to No Name Key. The concrete bridge is popular for fishing. The road leads to the other end of the small island and then just ends. Look for Key Deer beyond the boulders marking the end of the road. There are a few small roads or perhaps they are just driveways, on No Name Key, but mainly the attraction is the bridge for fishing.

Big Pine KeyUpper Keys

After Big Pine Key, as you’re heading west towards Key West, you will then hit a series of smaller Keys, like Ramrod Key, Little Torch Key, Middle Torch Key, and Big Torch Key. These islands are sparesly populated and few vacationers go here. There’s Little Palm Island, which is home to a giant expensive resort. Ramrod Key is where you can get a boat to Looe Key, which lies several miles offshore and it’s where you find perhaps the best reef system in all of the Florida Keys. It’s a sanctuary so no spearfishing. You can take dive trips out to Looe Key.

Continuing westward towards Key West, you’ll hit Summerland Key, which has a little more development on it, including the Mote Marine Laboratory. Cudjoe Key is small and there’s not much going on here. There are a few homes and a cool restaurant that’s a favorite with locals even from Key West, Mangrove Mamma’s.

Then you’ll hit Sugarloaf Key, with the famous Perky Bat Tower, a favorite amongst tourists who like the unusual and the strange. The bat tower was supposed to rid the area of mosquitoes, which the bats would eat. Well, it didn’t work because the bats never came. Vacationers still tread out to see it, batless and all. Also on Sugarloaf Key is Sugarloaf Lodge and Sugarloaf Marina. There’s a great old road on Sugarloaf that’s overgrown but perfect for cycling. Also nude sunbathing and swimming on some old development canals off Sugarloaf Boulevard. They call this the nude canals.

Finally, before hitting Key West, you have Saddlebunch Keys, Big Coppitt, Boca Chica, Geiger Key, Shark Key, and Rockland Key. The last few Keys are really environs of Key West, with Big Coppitt housing many Navy people, Rockland home to much industrial activity like the UPS station and trucking warehouses. Last but really part of Key West, is Stock Island, just over the bridge from Key West. Stock Island is where much of the workforce of Key West lives, and lots of commercial fishing is based out of here as well.

Marathon Attractions

Many of the things to do in Marathon, Florida center around the ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Marathon is situated at the halfway point of the Florida Keys, and both the ocean reef and the Gulf of Mexico are easily accessible. If Key West is Mile Marker 0 and Key Largo is Mile Marker 100, Marathon is Mile Marker 50. This means if you stay in Marathon for your Florida Keys vacation, you can easily drive to any point in the Keys for a day trip. For example, if you spend lots of time on the water or in the water, and you need a day on land, you could drive to Key West for a day, since there aren’t really many things to do in Marathon on land except eat out. Marathon is also easily accessible to Islamorada and Key Largo, In Key Largo you have John Pennekamp State Park, which has some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world because of the coral reef and the very clear water. Islamorada is known for its sportfishing, but really the fishing in Marathon is super as well.

So if you plan to stay in town and you are looking for things to do in Marathon, let’s take a look. Chances are, if you chose to spend your vacation in Marathon, Florida, you plan on either fishing, snorkeling, diving, or going to the beach. All of these activities are easily accomplished in Marathon. For anglers, Marathon is where the Florida Keys first open up to the Gulf of Mexico. North of Marathon, in Islamorada and Key Largo, you have Florida Bay to the North. Starting in Marathon, you have the Gulf of Mexico to the north. This opens up many new fishing opportunities. The Gulf is deeper and there are much larger fish out there. The Gulf side in Marathon is excellent for shark fishing, for example! Fishing is one of the most popular things to do in Marathon because of access to the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the other very popular things to do in Marathon is diving. Scuba divers can visit Sombrero Reef, which is good for beginners and snorkelers because there are some very shallow areas on this site. Other dive sites in Marathon include the Adolphus Busch wreck, Thunderbolt wreck and Coffins patch.

There are also things to do in Marathon on land, One of the greatest things about Marathon is the Seven Mile Bridge. Driving across the bridge is in itself a lifetime experience. This gorgeous span across the flats supplies views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. In Marathon, at the beginning of the bridge, pedestrians have access to the old bridge, which has been preserved for a quarter of a mile to provide walking and cycling space for people. The old bridge leads to Pidgeon Key, which has historic structures on it, preserved for visitors to enjoy. If you want to tour Pidgeon Key, you can buy a ticket and take their trolley out to the island for a look around. The island was used to house railroad workers who built the original railroad across the water, visible from the new Seven Mile Bridge.

Marathon Florida

Marathon Florida

Marathon Florida is the halfway point in the string of islands called the Florida Keys. It’s Mile Marker 50, with Key West at Mile Marker 0 and Key Largo more or less at Mile Marker 100. It’s home to the Seven Mile Bridge and anglers know this is the place to be in Spring for Tarpon fishing. Marathon Florida, as the heart of the Florida Keys, is an excellent home base for exploring all the Keys, if you have wide horizons and much ambition during your vaction. You can visit Long Key State Recreation Area, at Mile Marker 67.5, or even Key West for an ambitious day trip.

The fishing and snorkeling are marvelous in Marathon Florida, with its miles and miles of flats, as well as many bridges, which make excellent fishing hot spots. If you’re vacationing here without a boat, there are quite a few sneak spots under bridges in the area, where you can set up for the day from shore and see some fishing action. Charter a boat for a day, or join a budget-conscious fishing party boat for a morning. Marathon Florida is also an excellent place to view birds, who hang around on flats waters and look for meals in the washed up seaweed. From Marathon Florida you can drive the other way, back towards Key Largo, to Islamorada, which is the Sportfishing Capital of the world. Marathon Florida is also a short drive from other Middle Keys attractions such as Bahia Honda State Park, which features the best beach in the Florida Keys.

Marathon Florida

The most famous attraction in Marathon Florida is the Seven Mile Bridge, and the drive over this bridge is one of the most beautiful drives you may ever take. It spans across miles and miles of flats water, arching above the blue water in one section of the bridge, bringing some excitement after miles and miles of flat driving on the mountainless roads of Southern Florida and the Keys. The bridge was constructed during the 1908s, replacing the old bridge that had been there for decades. They preserved some of the old bridge, on the Marathon side of the span, and today you can walk out on the old one, for two miles to Pigeon Key. Pigeon Key has some lovely historical buildings left over from the old railroad-building days. You can either walk the four-mile round trip out to see them on the old bridge, or ride a trolley out. The trolley leaves from a spot just across the Overseas Highway from the beginning of the bridge on the Marathon side. On windy days, if it’s too rough to go out fihsing, the walk on the old bridge makes a nice way to get out and enjoy the weather and get some exercise while on vacation. You can look down from the bridge into the shallow water and see eagle rays and sharks!

One of the best spots in Marathon is Sombrero Beach, which is free and lies on the ocean side of Marathon. You can drive or ride your bicycle, since there are wide sidewalks that serve as good bike paths. The road isn’t so busy that you couldn’t ride in the road, anyway. The beach is clean and, for the Florida Keys, wide. There’s a roped-off area for swimming and very modern and clean facilities here.