5 Overlooked Activities in Key West that Beat a Day on the Beach, Hands Down
Ah, Key West – the United States’ own historic paradise with sparkling water that rivals Caribbean islands and exotic foreign shores. No passport necessary, either – just board a plane or make the 100-mile+ drive from Miami to the southernmost tip of the country.
But what do people DO in Key West, an almost-middle-of-nowhere town? They unwind on white sandy beaches. They go deep sea fishing. They eat their weight in delicious food and enjoy strolling through unique boutiques. They look for signs of Jimmy Buffett or feel like Hemingway’s spirit is still lounging about.
Here’s the thing: there’s a lot more to Key West than what you’ve probably heard. These five less-than-common activities are must-dos when you visit this little slice of Old Florida:
#1 – Take a Backcountry Eco Tour
One of the best ways to experience the real Key West is to leave dry land and head where most humans never venture. Backcountry eco tours allow you to explore untouched nature from a standup paddleboard or kayak. You can explore the beautiful mangrove ecosystem that is home to a variety of native wildlife, including seabirds, iguanas, rays, dolphins, turtles, and plant life.
Tours are limited to small groups and directed by an experienced nature guide who can help you get the most from your experience.
Venturing into the area’s backcountry is an adventure unlike any other. It’s a far cry from the paved streets, noise, and modernization of the town, and you’ll appreciate the chance to get close to these natural wonders.
#2 – Scuba Dive in a World of Sunken History
Key West is a town rich in history, with famous landmarks like Hemingway’s house, the Key West lighthouse, and the West Martello Tower. But many visitors don’t realize the chapters of history that are far below the water’s surface.
Take the Vandenberg, for example. This latest addition to the Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail is just seven miles off the coast of Key West and offers scuba diving opportunities for novice and seasoned divers alike. The former U.S. military missile-tracking ship is now an artificial reef and a treasure in itself.
There are several other historic shipwrecks throughout the Keys just begging to be explored. Whether you’re a certified scuba diver or just starting out, this is a thrilling opportunity you shouldn’t pass up.
#3 – Go Wreck Fishing
Hanging on the same side of adventure as scuba diving the shipwrecks, you can also enjoy these sunken vessels from above the water. Each shipwreck, including the recently downed Vandenberg, is home to fish, sharks, and other marine life.
Book a wreck-fishing adventure with Seize the Day Charters. You not only have a professional guide to take you to the wreck site, but he also helps you see the most action possible. Always armed with the right kind of bait for the right wreck at the right time of year, you’ll be hard-pressed to come back to shore empty-handed.
#4 – Snorkel in Crystal-Clear Water
Key West is famous for its clear water and abundance of wildlife, and snorkeling lets you enjoy both. You can book a charter to take you offshore to reefs and smaller islands so you can swim and explore undisturbed. They provide all the equipment you will need, along with a trained guide that will take you to the best places to view marine life and the best underwater sights of Key West.
You can also combine snorkeling with another excursion, such as a dolphin encounter, fishing, or a day at Dry Tortugas National Park.
#5 – Explore Other Islands
There are several islands around Key West that you can visit via kayak or boat ride. Private, pristine beaches, local wildlife, beautiful views, and even entire resorts are tucked away on these secret islands. They’re usually great places to snorkel or just soak up some sun.
Key West may be a popular tourist hotspot, but there are plenty of offbeat places to visit and things to do that don’t require you to fight off crowds everywhere you turn. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with spending your entire trip lazing on the sand. But once you experience what’s waiting for you offshore, you’ll wonder why so many people never leave the beach.
About The Author: Alli Hill is a content writer for NoStop, specializing in SEO, marketing, and all things digital. Alli currently lives in Northeast Georgia with her husband, two toddlers, and golden retriever.