I’m hooked on Key West. There. I’ve admitted my problem. I went for the first time in May and then decided I needed a return trip to make sure the magic of the Keys was real. So, I used a mother/daughter getaway as an excuse, and guess what? It is still awesome! Now I get it. Everyone I meet there is from somewhere else. It is one of those places that calls to the soul, begging you to return again and again until you finally move there for good.
On that note, here are a few things to do in the Florida Keys that are family friendly.
1. Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square – Each evening at sundown in Key West, the area is filled with street performers, vendors, and palm readers. Families can stroll the pier and see sights such as a catch jumping through a ring of fire, or a kooky lady swallowing an entire balloon. Don’t try this one at home!
2. Snorkeling – The clear waters of the Florida Keys are the perfect place to take the family on a snorkel trip.
3. Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s – This Islamorada stop is located at mile marker 77 and half at Lignum Vitae Bridge. This insane experience will make the kids squeal when dad dangles a cigar minnow and one of the tarpons jump up to get it. Be sure to take a picture of his hand INSIDE the mouth of the fish. And hold on to the minnows or the pelicans will scoop them up before you even know what happened.
4. Kayak in Key Largo – Guide Bill Keogh shares his knowledge with visitors as he takes the entire family on trips through the mangroves or out in the ocean. Kids learn about the flora and fauna without realizing they are learning.
5. Introduce the kids to Hemingway – I love Hemingway, so of course this is on the list. The Hemingway House in Key West is a must for lovers of literature and this larger than life author. You may even get a glimpse of the descendants of his polydactyl cat. If you look around enough, you might even see Hemingway’s “last” penny near the concrete in the pool. Be sure to ask Diamond Dave the story behind this coin.
6. Buy a pair of Kino Sandals – Okay, I know how this sounds. Buy sandals? These are no ordinary sandals, my friends. I little birdie told me about this place (thanks, Sheri) where these cute little old ladies make sandals. Yes. HANDMADE LEATHER SANDALS from Key West. Wanna guess how much they are? Try less than 20 bucks a pair. They have sandals for the entire family and you can even watch the ladies sewing them.
7. Feel like a fairy at the Butterfly House – This magical stop will have parents and kids gasping in delight. I know I sure did. When I walked in, all these colorful beings were flitting around. I felt as if I was in a fairy wonderland (or Lord of the Rings).
8. Eat breakfast with the chickens at Blue Heaven – This colorful Key West restaurant is open aired and a delight in the morning. Their lobster eggs benedict is to-die for, but the pancakes are pretty awesome, as well. The roosters and chickens hop around from roof to table umbrella. Every once in a while they hit the ground and walk amongst the customers. It is a delightful place to start (or end) the day.
9. Take a fishing trip – There are so many charter services out there, but I did notice that Cheeca Watersports was taking out a lot of father/son groups and even a few families. I wish I would have had time to take LCM fishing when we were there.
10. Enjoy the sunset on an evening cruise – This is quite simply, the ultimate way to enjoy a final evening (if not every evening) in the Florida Keys.