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Middle Florida Keys Suggestions For Your Bucket List

The Middle Florida Keys are an often overlooked destination. Lying between the Upper Florida Keys where you will find the Diving & Fishing Capitals of Key Largo and Islamorada and the Lower Florida Keys with Big Pine Key’s Key Deer and world famous Key West, the Middle Florida Keys is sometimes referred to as the Heart of the Florida Keys. And yet it has many Parks, Beaches and historic locations to satisfy any visitor. This list provides more venues to enjoy then most could do in an average vacation. Following are some items to add to your Middle Florida Keys bucket list to keep you on track.Pigeon Key Middle Florida Keys

  1. Head out on the water, in a kayak or paddle board or other water craft, at dawn (launch points include Long Key and Curry Hammock State Parks as well as Sombrero Beach) or just before sunset (launch points include the Public Ramp at 33rd St Gulf Mile Marker 49, End of Knights Key just before the 7-mile bridge – NOTE be aware of strong currents in this area), when the sea and the sky meet in a mirrored glaze and the light is otherworldly. Drift along quietly enjoying the changing colors and the aquatic and winged creatures.
  2. Snorkel at the many patch reef in the Middle Keys such as the ones around Coffins Patch and Sombrero Reef. Snorkeling can be managed by almost anyone and is a most peaceful way to enjoy the reef and all the aquatic wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, and of course, if your lucky sharks. (Don’t worry, you’re not on their menu).
  3. Kayak or stand-up paddle along the mangroves- the world’s third largest ecosystem. Visit the many paddle shops for advise on their favorite Mangrove Tunnels to explore or tag along on some guided tours. If you’re quiet enough you’ll see many of 250 species of birds as they roost, hunt, or wade in our coastal paradise.
  4. Go fishing for bonefish (read Camping For Bonefish), tarpon, trout, redfish and snapper in the backcountry waters or grouper, mackerel, dolphin, wahoo and tuna on the Atlantic Ocean.
  5. The Turtle Hospital is a great way to learn about and get close to some sea turtles. They start the tour with a very nice power point presentation (not boring I promise) describing the various types of turtles found in FL waters. They also explain the history of the Turtle Hospital and describe what they do.
  6. Visit one of the dolphin encounter organizations such as Grassy Key’s Dolphin Research Center or Hawks Cay Resort’s Dolphin Connection. You can touch and interact with a dolphin while swimming around the lagoon.
  7. You must visit The Old Seven Mile Bridge which makes a great recreation trail for biking, running, hiking and fishing as well as watching sunrises and sunsets. With over 2 miles of straight, level roadway and no auto traffic
  8. Of course you have to eat and there are so many great places to eat. They include long time favorite restaurants like Keys Fisheries7 Mile Grill, Barracuda Grill, Fish Tales Market & Eatery. Of course you must try some of the newer restaurants like Sunset Grille & Raw Bar, Lazy Days South, Leigh Ann’s Coffee House, and Butterfly Cafe. Just remember to try as many as possible.
  9. The nightlife heavily favors island motifs and music but there are many varied choices for you to enjoy no matter what your preferences. Some can’t miss locations include Dockside Tropical Cafe, Brass Monkey Bar.
  10. Last but not least visit historic Pigeon Key. Most visitors come to Pigeon Key for the guided historical tour. You can also bring a picnic lunch, snorkel around the dock, or fish off the dock. The ramp accessing Pigeon Key from the Old Seven Mile Bridge is currently closed and is expected to reopen “some day.”
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