The 125-mile-long island chain is particularly popular with visitors for its wide-open spaces, on-the-water activities and picturesque scenery. Even winter in the Florida Keys is sunny and typically offers the warmest winter weather in the continental United States.
FlixBus, offers a convenient new car-free option, six days per week, for travel to the Keys from Miami and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood international airports. Visit flixbus.com or the company’s app.
Everglades National Park is planning its 75th anniversary, kicking off this spring with a monthly Everglades Iron Ranger Challenge series and events throughout the year - culminating on the anniversary of the park’s founding 6 Dec 2022. A new 24-unit Flamingo Lodge & Restaurant joins the existing eco-tents for “glamping” and there are 42-foot houseboats available for overnight stays. Ninety-minute Flamingo Bay Boat Tours are offered multiple times daily to explore the stunning landscape flamingoeverglades.com.
2022 marks the 200th anniversary of the island’s first permanent settlement (March 25, 1822). Attractions include the creation of a time capsule; talks and events highlighting the island city’s history; a parade; a celebration of baseball and a Heritage Festival with stage performances, eco-friendly silent drone fireworks and festivities set for Saturday, March 26. Activities celebrating Key West history, culture and community will be ongoing - visit keywest200th.com.
The Custom House Museum is to unveil “Key West 200” the exhibit highlighting Key West’s people, culture and community. Key West 200 is to chronicle history by decade and showcase glimpses of Key West life through development, immigration, industries, culture and education kwahs.org.
Choice of Accomodation
An expansion at Grassy Flats Resort & Beach Club, celebrating two years on the Middle Keys’ Grassy Key, features 28 new oceanfront guest rooms providing guests with a memorable tropical escape. Visit grassyflats.com.
At Sugarloaf Key/Key West KOA Holiday campground, 44 new vacation suites at the full Lower Keys campground have reopened after extensive upgrades and renovations. The RV campground amenities include a pool, air-conditioned café, pub offering live music, private beach, marina and watersports rentals. Visit koa.com/campgrounds/sugarloaf-key/.
In Key West, Mellow Ventures Backcountry Outfitters plans to unveil three off-the-grid vessels for overnight accommodations. The new "outposts" are to be built on 50-foot catamaran hulls. The all-inclusive, customised Backcountry Eco Vacations are to include on-the-water stays, experiences and healthy meals, with overnight trips to Marquesas Keys. The expanded Mellow Café & Gastropub offers outdoor picnic-table seating, serving vegan fare, artisan tacos, exotic meats and craft beer. Visit mellowkw.com/eco-vacations.
Margaritaville Beach House Key West, features a Tin Cup Chalice Bar & Chill full-service restaurant, lagoon-style pool, 24-hour fitness centre, provision shop and family-friendly activities. Amenities include complimentary welcome cocktails, daily poolside refreshments, concierge service, complimentary airport pickup and drop off, shuttle service to downtown and non-motorised watersports. Visit MargaritavilleBeachHouseKeyWest.com.
Attractions and Tours
On Big Pine Key, Grimal Grove —the first and only breadfruit grove in the United States — is offering 90-minute guided tropical fruit excursions. Participants can sample sweet and sour exotic fruits and learn the story of 1950s-era hermit Adolf Grimal, who designed the Old Grimal Estate - visit grimalgrove.com
Key West's Hemingway Rum Co. Distillery has unveiled a new centre for hosting events. The distillery also offers private "Papa's Cocktail Classes" with a tour, tasting, mixology class and cocktail glass - visit papaspilar.com
At Islamorada’s offshore Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, ranger-led tours are available. Visitors can learn about Lignumvitae Key’s 65 species of rare native trees and shrubs and take a self-guided tour at the park, accessible by private charter and from nearby marinas including Robbie’s Marina. Visit Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park | Florida State Parks.
In Islamorada, Florida Bay Forever Save Our Waters Inc. has unveiled its new home, at Green Turtle Hammock Nature Preserve, with nature trails, a kayak launch and direct access to Florida Bay. Florida Bay Forever is planning educational programming at the centre. The organisation hopes to establish the site as a gateway to Everglades National Park, billed as “the largest wilderness area east of the Rockies”. Visit floridabayforever.org.
The Looe Key Reef Resort and Dive Center, is the only dive operator to offer trips to the 210-foot Adolphus Busch, intentionally sunk in 1997 as part of the Florida Keys Wreck Trek. Visit looekeyreefresort.com