Florida Keys

Florida Keys Travel Guide

The Yankee Freedom II takes visitors from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park. The 70-mile excursion aboard this high-speed-catamaran takes a little more than two hours, and guests have about four hours to enjoy Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas beaches.

Check exact tournament dates with the tourist office, or if you want to fish year-round, they'll help you rent a charter.

The National Marine Sanctuary–owned museum, devoted to the largest coral reef in North America, opened in January 2007; permanent exhibits highlight the Keys' 11 habitats, the living reef, and local weather patterns.

East Sister Rock has a three-bedroom house with a wraparound veranda and a small dock.

2008 is the “International Year of the Reef,” so escape the heat while you pay homage to wonderful works of nature by snorkeling, scuba diving, or riding a glass-bottomed boat in the all-underwater John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Catch an art film at the nonprofit Tropic Cinema (founded, in part, by writer Jean Carper and George Cooper, a retired law professor and author).

Captain Jim Sharp takes groups of up to six anglers on saltwater fishing expeditions in the Florida Straits with his boat Sea Boots. The boat's light weight and streamlined design make it agile in the quick-changing weather.

Get a glimpse at the ruins of an early European settlement and some secluded waterfront sands.

Pick up cartoonlike sculptures (fish in red high heels, anyone?) and bright beachscape-painted tables and chairs at this boutique filled with handmade crafts by Floridian artists. All evoke a cheery Key West sensibility.

This two-room bookstore feels and smells like an attic, but the collection of mostly used books is worth a visit. Peruse the teetering stacks for Cuban literature and biographies of local luminaries: Harry Truman, Ernest Hemingway, and Tennessee Williams among them.

Feeding the tarpon ($3 for a bucket of bait) off the dock of this water-sports center is a Keys rite of passage.

At the improbably first-rate theater, local boy Richard Wilbur once helped out with Molière translations.

Hop the ferry to the Dry Tortugas National Park; the seven islands, 70 miles west, are the last of the true Keys. Evocative Civil War–era Fort Jefferson is spooky to explore (Samuel Mudd was jailed here for his supposed part in Lincoln’s offing). Snorkel in the coral reefs 10 feet from shore.

Grab a beer and discuss the day’s haul at this rough-and-ready bar.

Key West natives take their nightlife seriously, though not literally, as many begin their reveling at 3 p.m. Join the party early at this indoor-outdoor martini bar; three-man bands and solo guitarists serenade fortysomethings under a shimmering disco ball.