Go windsurfing on Smathers Beach; explore the marine life at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; or taste some of the best Cuban food at El Siboney. Explore Key West and the Florida Keys.
Spend the day on the 10-mile-long, family-friendly island of Marathon, <a title="Florida" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/florida" target="_blank"><em>Florida</em></a>. Beachgoers have a choice of Sombrero Beach and Coco Plum Beach -- which is more of a natural beach area with an adjacent wetland area. Both beaches are popular spots for turtle nesting.
Take a dive and explore the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in Key Largo. It’s the world’s 3rd largest barrier reef with more than 6,000 species of marine life -- the perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling and fishing. And in case you didn’t know, the sanctuary also protects pieces of our nation’s history such as shipwrecks and other archeological treasures in the area. There are an estimated 1,000 shipwrecks off the Florida Keys.
Hop on a bike and go shopping along Duval Street in Key West. The famous street -- which runs north and south from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean -- has many famous restaurants and bars, including Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. On certain nights the fun doesn’t stop on this popular street until the wee hours of the morning. Duval Street is a popular pub crawl spot.
The beach at Fort Taylor is the best in Key West. During the high season, enjoy a relaxing session of Yoga on the Beach. Tourists can also take a tour of Fort Zachary Taylor. It was built in the mid-1800s, and it played an important role in the US Civil War and the Spanish-America War. Aside from a guided tour, visitors to the state park can bike, fish, hike picnic and snorkel to pass the time.
Enjoy the soaking tub ritual bath at SpaTerre at Ocean Key Resort in Key West. The well-renowned spa offers a variety of services, including a key lime margarita pedicure, volcanic earth clay ritual, morning dew facial, sacred stone massage and a milk and honey body wrap.
Head to Hogfish Bar & Grill to enjoy fresh seafood, panoramic waterfront views and outdoor dining. Located in Safe Harbor, Stock Island, this popular spot for locals has several menu favorites, including the World Famous Killer Hogfish Sandwich, Baja Fish Tacos and the Lobster BLT. There’s live music on the weekends and happy hour specials during the week.
Looking for some outdoor fun? Lazy Dog Kayak, Key West Extreme Adventures, Blue Planet Kayak and Clear Kayak Adventures are just a few tour companies where tourists can rent kayaks or take an eco-tour of some of the most beautiful waterways in the Keys.
Go windsurfing on Smathers Beach, Key West’s largest public beach. The half-mile-long beach is located on the south side of the island off of South Roosevelt Boulevard. There are restrooms, ample parking, concession stands, chair rentals, bike paths, picnic tables, volleyball nets and watersports rentals for jet skiing, parasailing and windsurfing.
The Christ of the Deep statue is one of the many things adventurers will see when diving into Key Largo Dry Rocks, a fairly shallow site that givers tourists a close view of the marine life. The statue is 1 of 3 statues made by Italian sculptor Guido Galletti. It was donated to Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park in 1966.
Aside from a bicycle, a moped is another form of popular transportation in the Keys. So why not make a pit stop at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, located at the corner of Greene and Duval Streets since 1937. This popular restaurant and bar has live entertainment that begins at noon, and it’s just one of many restaurants that really come to life after dark. The band usually rocks until 2am, and the tables are cleared to make room for patrons to dance until 4 in the morning.
Some of the best Cuban food can be found at El Siboney, located in the heart of Key West’s Old Town. The family-friendly restaurant offers the best in authentic Cuban dishes, including popular menu items like the Cuban Mix Sandwich, Paella Valenciana, Siboney Steak and the Roast Pork -- with plantains, black beans and rice (pictured).