Crossing over from mainland Florida to the Florida Keys feels very much like leaving the country in a brief instant. The 150-mile stretch of Florida litters with islands, emerald waters, and communities that could have fallen out of the Caribbean instead. With the sea being the Florida Keys’ main attraction, this corner of the U.S. proves ideal for honeymooners looking to explore the water, whether by boat, snorkeling, swimming or kayaking.
The classic Florida destination has been the inspiration for many artists and writers, including no other than Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway found a home in Key West and his famous words, “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end,” rings true on the entire drive down the Overseas Highway to the southernmost point in the U.S. Otherworldly, lively and most of all relaxing, the Florida Keys should top your honeymoon destination search merely by design. If you need more convincing, we have laid out a complete guide for a honeymoon in the Keys.
When To Go
Seldom will you find a bad time of year to visit the Florida Keys, making it an easy honeymoon destination no matter when your wedding may be. The high season falls between Christmas and Easter when temperatures aren’t quite so humid and hot. Prices raise and the crowds swarm during this time of year. At the same time, summer does have its perks in the Keys. While a hot and humid season in the Keys, many festivals and events take place during the summer months. Hurricane season should be considered too when planning your Keys getaway. Officially, the season stems from June to the end of November with more activity generally from mid-August to October.
How To Get There
The Florida Keys has two airports, Key West International Airport, and the Florida Keys Marathon Airport. With few flight times to choose from and steep ticket costs to boot, most travelers to the Keys fly into Miami and make the drive down. The drive is part of the attraction to the Florida Keys where you cruise the 110 miles Overseas Highway, otherwise known as U.S. 1. The engineering marvel provides a fine thoroughfare to reach the southernmost point in the U.S., passing over many bridges along the way.
What To Do
Snorkel & Dive
You would miss the point of the Florida Keys if you never dipped your toes in the water. What lurks beneath the waters of the Keys is just as much of an attraction down here as lies above. Snorkelers and divers rejoice at spots like John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The first underwater park in the U.S. boasts a rich sea life and coral reef. Considered to be the best spot to dive and snorkel in Florida, the park is famously home to the Christ of the Deep statue, a 2-ton sculpture underwater. You’ll want to have your underwater camera ready for this one. If you don’t like flipping your fins and snorkeling and diving, you can also go on a glass bottom boat ride to explore the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
Be a Beach Bum
Despite appearances, the Florida Keys aren’t known for their beaches. However, you can still be a beach bum on several standout beaches. Bahia Honda State Park is one of the Keys’ best beaches. The 2.5 miles of sandy coastline provide a fine venue to swim and kayak. The 524-acre park spans both sides of the highway. Anne’s Beach on Islamorada is also a popular beach bum hangout. The small ribbon of white sand is considered one of the Key’s best beaches in addition to Bahia Honda State Park.
What To See
Most come to the Florida Keys for the endgame, Key West. Located 150 miles from Miami and just 90 miles from Havana, Key West is the end of the road to the U.S. and the Florida Keys. Filled with restaurants, galleries, shops, and museums, it boasts the most activity in the Keys. Duval Street has become the nightlife center on Key West, crawling with bars and shops. In addition, couples frequently saunter over to Mallory Square for sunset views and a drink or two.
For a bit of culture, you can visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. Built in 1801, Hemingway lived here from 1931 to 1942. He wrote around 70% of his life’s work right on site. Tours are offered of the residence or you can roam at your own pace. Other important historical markers include the Harry S. Truman Little White House Museum. The 1890 landmark functioned as the winter White House for presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy. Then again, most travelers indulge in wandering the streets of Key West as enough of an activity, admiring its colorful, coastal homes where a front porch is practically mandatory on each.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Roughly 70 miles west of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is a must-see for any Florida Keys vacation. The 100 square mile park sits in the open water with seven small islands part of its grasp. Only accessible by boat or seaplane, the national park’s main structure is Fort Jefferson. Once a Civil War prison, the fort dramatically floats in crystal clear waters. While you can tour the 19th-century fort, most come to the Dry Tortugas National Park to swim and snorkel around its almost 16-acre reef.
While Key West might get all of the fame and glory, other keys like Islamorada are worth a gander. Home to several islands, Islamorada also holds two state parks only accessible by boat, Indian Key, and Lignumvitae Key. Islamorada provides a more quiet Florida Key experience. It also happens to be one of the world’s top sportfishing destinations.
Seven Mile Bridge
If you decide to make the drive down the Keys, you can’t miss the Seven Mile Bridge. Linking Marathon Key with the Lower Keys, the bridge is easily the most famous in all of the Keys. While you must drive across the bridge to reach popular spots like Key West, you will have a hard time resisting snapping photographs along the way.
What To Eat
If you don’t like seafood, you may as well just go home. The Keys are known for their fresh seafood. Conch, yellowtail snapper, mahi-mahi, hogfish, and lobster are all staples throughout the Florida Keys. In addition, you will find many restaurants serving up cuisine that harks on the area’s proximity to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Caribbean inspired dishes reign supreme in spots like Blue Heaven in Key West. Dessert is also not to be neglected in the Florida Keys. Key lime pie is available pretty much everywhere you dine. The yellow custard pie usually features a graham cracker crust. You’ll find it in slice form or even the more out there, frozen, chocolate covered and on a stick varieties.
Where To Stay
Finding luxury accommodations in the Florida Keys is far from a challenge. Couples won’t be hard press to find a spot to relax and unwind after their wedding. Beginning in Islamorada, honeymooners can hole up at The Moorings Village and Spa. The 18-acre resort boasts 18 cottages and homes to choose from for a more private stay. Occupying the grounds of a former coconut plantation, the resort is home to one of the largest private beaches in the Keys as well. Fans of the Netflix series Bloodlines will find the Moorings to look quite familiar. It has acted as a film location, featured as the Rayburn Inn throughout the series.
If you want to stay in Key West, luxury resorts and cozy bed and breakfast cover the island. For a post-wedding getaway, the Marker Waterfront Resort provides the right amount of luxury and privacy. Rooms are outfitted with their own porches and oversized soaking tubs for optimal relaxation. In addition, you can splash around at not just one, but three secluded swimming pools. The Market Waterfront Resort sits right in the historic seaport of Key West.
Have you made the trek down to the Florida Keys? Share your favorite experience with us in the comments below.