Picture of the Florida Keys Islands
A chain of islands south of Miami, the Florida Keys are connected to one another by the Overseas Highway and 43 bridges along the way. Each region, from Key Largo down south to Key West, has its own collection of Florida Keys attractions that includes historic museums, natural areas, parks, shops, and other places of interest.
Many Florida Keys attractions are found beneath the sea. The combination of coral reefs and top-notch local operators offers a ready-made vacation. Snorkeling requires little equipment and little training, which means visitors can easily start exploring at many of the beaches and state parks. Some sites require more equipment and skill, but those who take the chance to go diving will be rewarded with peeks into amazing underwater worlds.
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary encompasses the waters of the entire Keys from Key Largo south to Dry Tortugas National Park, in addition to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This undersea park includes the bronze statue, Christ of the Deep, and colorful coral reefs. Back on land, the park, one of the most visited of all of the Key Largo attractions, offers nature trails and beautiful vistas. Dry Tortugas, which is accessible by ferry or plane, also offers many things to do, such as camping, hiking, beachcombing, and a Civil War fort to explore.
Divers and those taking glass-bottom boat tours can see the Spiegel Grove, a sunken US Navy ship that’s now an artificial reef. Other shipwrecks include a sunken Spanish galleon, the centerpiece of the San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve, one of the more interesting Islamorada attractions. Another, the Theater of the Sea Marine Mammal Park is a favorite place for dolphin swims.
Travelers interested in the lore of shipwrecks, pirates, and other seafarers will find an array of Key West attractions to interest them. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum showcases treasures from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha and other sunken ships. Pirates come to life with the costumed staff, tours, and exhibits of the Pirate Soul Museum. At the Audubon House, travelers can see the paintings of the famed naturalist in an elegant home once owned by a wealthy family who made their fortune by salvaging shipwrecks. In that vein, the Key West Shipwreck Historeum explains how wrecking was important to the early history of the area.
These are just a few of the places to include when sightseeing in Key West. The list of Florida Keys attractions also includes places to connect with the arts, history, and famous faces. The local Cuban heritage is preserved and shared at the San Carlos Institute, an affiliate of the Smithsonian and one of the cultural Key West attractions.
When sightseeing in Key West, travelers can learn about literary history at the Key West Heritage House Museum and Robert Frost Cottage. Other luminaries, including Tennessee Williams, wintered here. Author Ernest Hemingway’s legacy lives on with tours of his home and visits to the bar where he spent a lot of his time.
The Harry S. Truman Little White House Museum is another one of the Key West attractions with a connection to a famous person. While embarking on tours to go sightseeing in Key West, visitors can climb to the top of a lighthouse, admire art in a Civil War fort, and see an eclectic collection of works at the Key West Museum of Art & History. Many local tour companies lead narrated tours on foot, by boat, and on a trolley, both of the city and of the other islands of the Keys.