If you’re looking for an island holiday but don’t want to leave the United States there is an option.
It’s the Florida Keys. The city of Key Largo is only an hour from Miami but it feels like you’re a world away from the US.
The Florida Keys go all the way down to the most southern point of America in Key West. It is a slow, picturesque and relaxing drive and the perfect way to decompress after the heady nightlife of Miami or the daily routines of most US cities. By the time you’re crossing over the Seven Mile Bridge with views of a coral reef and the glorious ocean all around, you’ll already be in an island frame of mind.
Getting to The Florida Keys is quite convenient. For most people the easiest would be flying into Miami International Airport and renting a car. Then taking a lot of deep breaths before heading out. I’ll warn you the Keys are very relaxed and you’ll have to kick back a notch or two if you’re going to fit in.
Because the Keys are so laid-back you don’t dress up. It is shorts and T-shirts anywhere and everywhere. And you know what on the right vacation, it is kind of nice not to have to worry about what you wear.
The Florida Keys are very underdeveloped as the local leaders have placed many restrictions on buildings. The goal is to keep the area natural, laid back and very inviting. The Keys really do feel quite different from the rest of America.
If you drive the entire length of the Keys you get to experience many small islands and little communities along the way. Places like Key Largo, Tavernier, Islamorada, Marathon, Lower Keys and finally Key West all have their pluses and minuses. One thing to note is that most restaurants and hotels in this part of the world don’t have consistent service. The Keys are one of those places where people come and go and service staff tends to drift in and out from one season to another. But don’t worry, dinner will be served eventually and you’ll probably enjoy it. This is just another reason to relax and get into that island frame of mind.
Key West has much more of a variety of restaurants and shops than the other communities. Cruise ships come in here so it becomes very busy when in season, but don’t let that dissuade you. There are also more choices for accommodations with hotel chains like Hyatt and Hilton. One thing that is a must; drinking. Sloppy Joe’s is the iconic bar to hang out in and have a margarita and really it’s worth doing the touristy thing here. It is a lot of fun. There’s some great little restaurants in town so take a walk around and find your favourite
The Florida Keys are very unspoiled. It’s kept that way purposely. My advice is to rent a boat and get out on the ocean because that’s what the Keys are all about, fishing, grilling and chilling out.
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.