Did you know there are 800 keys (or 1,700 depending on who you ask) in the Florida Keys? Most of those are inhabitable, but it goes to show how big this part of the Sunshine State is.
If you have enjoyed a Florida Keys vacation before, you will know it is a fantastic place for snorkeling and eating great seafood. But with so much to see in this part of the state, it’s likely that you still have plenty more Florida Keys attractions to tick off your bucket list.
Not sure what those are? Here are all the cool and quirky things to do in the Florida Keys to get you started.
1. Taste Key Lime Pie (With a Twist)
Key lime pie is one of Florida Keys’ signature dishes. It’s a delicious dessert made of lime juice, eggs, and condensed milk with a graham cracker or pie crust. It is either topped with whipped cream or meringue.
The origins of key lime pie are up for debate. Most credit a cook named Aunt Sally as being the creator of the pie in the 1800s. She used condensed milk to make the pie so it wouldn’t spoil as refrigeration wasn’t common in Florida at that time.
You will find no shortage of great, classic key lime pies to taste while you are visiting the Florida Keys. But why not try a key lime pie with a twist?
The Green Turtle Inn in Islamorada makes their key lime pie with a macadamia nut and Rice Krispie crust. And at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe, you can buy a strawberry key lime pie, a coconut one, or even a gluten-free version.
2. Take a Helicopter Tour Above the Florida Keys
Anyone can witness the Florida Keys from the ground. But seeing it from the air is a completely different experience. Only from the air can you appreciate the vastness of this awe-inspiring archipelago.
On a 25 to 60-minute helicopter tour, you could see amazing places like the Seven Mile Bridge and Bahia Honda State Park from the air.
And if you want to take the tour during a magnificent Florida sunset, you can find a tour that also does sunset flights. It is a fantastic experience to share with your kids and perfect for a romantic couples’ break.
3. Buy a Ticket to Fantasy Fest
You will want to leave the kids at home if you decide to attend Fantasy Fest in the Florida Keys this year. But it will be 100% worth it.
It is an adult-only, 10-day festival over Halloween with an annual theme. In 2000, it was Circuses and Sideshows and in 2010, it was Habitat for Insanity. The entire island of Key West gets involved and there is a parade, street fair, and lots of partying.
The festival started back in the 1970s when some local business owners wanted to attract tourists during the off-season. If you’re wondering what to do in the Florida Keys during your visit this fall, put “buying tickets to Fantasy Fest” at the top of your list!
4. Hop Aboard the African Queen Boat
The African Queen is a movie from 1951 set during WWI in Africa. The title of the movie is the name of a riverboat that the main characters, played by Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, sail on.
Would you believe that same boat from the movie is now docked in Key Largo? It is, and you can book a water cruise on it, too. The 90-minute cruise departs around five times a day down the Port Largo canals.
If you are a movie buff, this is one of the Florida Keys attractions you cannot miss.
5. Hang Out With 40-50 Feline Friends
All frequent visitors to the Florida Keys know that the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum on Key West is one of the area’s main attractions. The troubled and celebrated author lived here from 1931 to 1939 with his wife and wrote many of his best works here.
But that is not the only cool thing about this house. Nope, the unique thing about The Hemingway House is that it is also home to dozens of cats.
Around half of the cats on the property are polydactyl, meaning they have six toes. Legend says these cats descend from a six-toed white cat owned by Hemingway, but his family disputes this.
Regardless, the cats are cute, well looked after, and you can visit them while in the Florida Keys!
6. Visit the Iconic and Unique Bars
Key West, in particular, has a thriving nightlife scene and some great bars.
If you are looking for a unique bar experience in the Florida Keys, head to The No Name Pub on Big Pine Key. Aside from its quirky name, it was a general store and a brothel before becoming a bar in the 1940s. It has some unusual decor: people have plastered it in dollar bills, covering the place from the ceiling to the floor.
Another great bar to try in Key West is Sloppy Joe’s Bar. It opened in 1933 and was a regular haunt of Ernest Hemingway. Orson Welles even references the bar in Citizen Kane (1941).
7. Head to the (Fake) Southernmost Point of the Continental USA
Going to the “Southernmost Point of the Continental USA” marker on Key West is popular with tourists. But the truth is, it is not the southernmost point of the 48 states.
In fact, it is not even the most southern point of Key West. That title goes to the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.
The real southernmost point is 10 miles away at Ballast Key. But the public cannot travel to this island because it is private property, so Key West might have to do.
Don’t Miss These Quirky Florida Keys Attractions
Snorkeling and beach-hopping in the Florida Keys are great. But you will have a much deeper appreciation of the local culture by doing some of these off-the-beaten-path activities. You will no doubt discover that there is so much more to the Florida Keys than most people think.
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