Florida Keys Revealed
Travel to the less-visited islands in the Florida Keys.
Where to Stay: Hawks Cay
Located on secluded Duck Key, halfway between Key Largo and Key West, the laid-back charm of Hawks Cay resort extends from its upscale, Caribbean-style villas to its seafood-centric restaurant, beach grill and bars. Relax at one of 5 pools, book a spa treatment, or organize a fishing, Jet Ski or parasailing excursion.
Where to Stay: Little Palm Island
Guests of Little Palm Island, a private, 5 1/2-acre oasis, are greeted with a "Gumby Slumber" cocktail and then led to stay in one of 15 thatched-roof bungalows, each boasting a pair of suites with outdoor showers and verandas with ocean views. A full-service spa offers signature body treatments, and the top-rated restaurant features a chef's table for foodies.
Where to Eat: Keys Fisheries Market & Marina
Stroll through the marina before tucking into a freshly caught seafood lunch at Keys Fisheries. Dig into a pile of stone crab claws and the famous lobster Reuben while sipping a cold beer and watching the sunset.
Where to Eat: Mrs. Mac's Kitchen
Banged-up license plates cover the walls at Mrs. Mac's, and the funky, island-casual vibe extends to the menu, which features comfort-food favorites, as well as a decadent Key lime pie that has garnered international praise.
Where to Eat: Key Largo Conch House
No surprise that diners at the Key Largo Conch House will want to order the conch — it's a Florida Keys favorite. Cover your bases while here, ordering a sampler that includes conch ceviche, cracked conch and conch fritters.
Where to Eat: The Hurricane
A favored party spot in the Florida Keys for more than 50 years, the Hurricane is a local dive that's well worth a detour. Belly up and order a cold beer; then, mingle with the local fishermen and other fabulous oddballs who congregate here as you chow down on the Hurricane's famous chicken wings and conch sliders.
What to Do: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp's grounds include 90-plus square miles of Atlantic Ocean waters, which were designated as the first underwater park in the United States. The bonus? These waters are home to a striking coral reef, and the park offers snorkeling, scuba and glass-bottom-boat tours to admire the sea life.
What to Do: Dry Tortugas National Park
Located about 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico, this 100-square-mile park consists of 7 small islands — one of which houses Fort Jefferson — and open waters rich with corals and other marine life. The remote park, which is popular for diving, snorkeling and fishing, is accessible only by seaplane, ferry, private boat or charter boat.
What to Do: Robbie's Marina
You'll find more than a marina at Robbie's. This iconic boat rental and tour company is a must-stop for visitors hoping to explore the great outdoors via a deep-sea fishing charter or a kayak tour through the mangroves.
What to Do: National Key Deer Refuge and Blue Hole
You may think you know cute, but the miniature Key deer is another thing altogether. This tiny species of white-tailed deer calls the 9,200-acre refuge on Big Pine Key home. The refuge also houses the Blue Hole, a freshwater pond that's home to turtles, fish and birds.
What to Do: Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park's beach is consistently ranked as one of the prettiest in America. Wander along the Old Bahia Honda Rail Bridge for photo ops of the surrounding islands and sparkling water, and pay a visit to the park's nature center. Snorkeling trips can also be organized from the park's concession.