Oh the Florida Keys…such a magical sliver of paradise. Whether spring break, wedding/honey moon or just a good ol’ fashion getaway- you can’t go wrong with that string of island pearls.
But alas, it can get a bit pricey. Under all that nautical bliss lays the gut wrenching “ching ching” when it comes to hotels, food, alcohol and day time excursions. Well, breathe easy wander lusters, and read on for a guide on how to have the most memorable and affordable keys trip of all time.
Make A List
Kayaks (If you don’t have them, there are plenty of cheap rentals), goggles, masks, fishing gearSunscreen, of courseBathing suit (Optional)A big bottle of Jack Daniels Old No. 7 (Not optional).
Know Where To Go
I would recommend not going straight for Key West- so cliché and touristy. Instead, opt for a key that is close by. That way, if you want to do a Key West day, it’s not too far and you still have access to other keys – each has their own unique characteristics you need to experience.
When it comes to hotels, I like to find the most retro looking places. They are cheap, funky and usually pretty clean. My recommendations:
- Sugarloaf Lodge, Summerland Key
- Edgewater Lodge, Long Key
- Andrews Inn, Key West (Great bed and breakfast in Key West if you want to splurge a little. Just a short trot to Duval Street and next to the Hemingway house to boot!)
No plans, no expectations just see where your head and heart take you! This is what a good Keys adventure is all about. Nix the sightseeing and costly boat trips to reefs and beaches you share with a boatload of other tourists! Take your kayaks and drive. US1 is extremely scenic and there are plenty of little mangrove islands and beaches an easy paddle away. Keep your eyes peeled, pull over at a bridge and drop your kayaks in.
Then, explore to your heart’s content! Find your own little private island oasis! Play in the sun, cast a fishing pole, drink some whiskey and do some skinny-dipping in that crystal clear Florida water! Out in the lonesome mangroves far from civilization, you are bound to see plenty of wild life as well.
So conquer the Florida Keys! Get out there and take a risk- half the fun is not having a plan!
Courtney is a full-time writer covering soccer, travel and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog, www.localtravelgal.wordpress.com.