Florida Keys Revealed

Key West may be the most popular destination in the Florida Keys, but visitors can also find ample wonders throughout the less-visited islands in the chain. Outdoors lovers and travelers seeking a peaceful respite will discover that the other keys and their waters offer far mellower alternatives to Key West's rowdy Duval Street bar scene.

Where to Stay: Hawks Cay
Hawks Cay, resort, tranquility pool, Duck Key, Florida
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.

  • 61 Hawks Cay Blvd
  • Duck Key, FL 33050 US
Where to Stay: Little Palm Island
Little Palm Island, hotel, Little Torch Key, Florida
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

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.

  • 28500 Overseas Hwy
  • Little Torch Key, FL 33042 US
Where to Eat: Keys Fisheries Market & Marina
Keys Fisheries, marina, restaurant, Marathon, Florida
Keys Fisheries

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.

  • 3502 Gulfview Ave
  • Marathon, FL 33050 US
Where to Eat: Mrs. Mac's Kitchen
Mrs. Mac's Kitchen, restaurant, sign, Key Largo, Florida
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.

  • 99020 Overseas Hwy
  • Key Largo, FL 33037 US
Where to Eat: Key Largo Conch House
conch fritters, Key Largo Conch House, Florida
Encantadisimo/Moment/Getty Images

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.

  • 98650 Overseas Highway
  • Key Largo, FL 33037 US
Where to Eat: The Hurricane
chicken wings, The Hurricane, grill, Marathon, Florida
iStockphoto.com/Mphillips007

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.

  • Blackfin Resort & Marina
  • 4650 Overseas Hwy
  • Marathon, FL 33050 US
What to Do: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, Florida
Visit Florida

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.

  • 102601 Overseas Hwy
  • Key Largo, FL 33037 US
What to Do: Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park, Fort Jefferson, Key West, Florida
NPS photo

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.

  • Key West, FL 33041 US
What to Do: Robbie's Marina
Robbie's, marina, boat, Islamorada, Florida
Robbie's

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.

  • 77522 Overseas Hwy
  • Islamorada, FL 33036 US
What to Do: National Key Deer Refuge and Blue Hole
National Key Deer Refuge, endangered, Florida
iStockphoto.com/JLFCapture

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. 

  • 28950 Watson Blvd
  • Big Pine Key, FL 33043 US
What to Do: Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park, beach, Big Pine Key, Florida
iStockphoto.com/Ferrantraite

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.

  • 36850 Overseas Hwy
  • Big Pine Key, FL 33043 US

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The Ritz Carlton, hotel, Key Biscayne, Florida
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