Parks & Recreation Sites are abundant in the Florida Keys.
Conservation museums include Crane Point Hammock, Audubon House, Mel Fisher Maritime Museum and Butterfly Conservatory & Nature Museum.
Preservation Museums include Museum of Art & History at the Customs House, Lighthouse & Keepers Quarters Museum, Fort East Martello Museum & Gardens, Pigeon Key Foundation & Marine Science Center, The Oldest House, West Martello Town and Key West Garden Club.
The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is the only "frost-free" botanical garden in the continental United States. It is home to many endangered and threatened flora and fauna. The Key West Forest & Garden is a special place where you can appreciate biodiversity and learn more about its importance.
To protect a portion of the Florida Keys' barrier reef, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was established off the Upper Keys in 1963 as America's first underwater preserve.
Pennekamp is incorporated into the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, widely regarded as a national treasure, which was established in 1990 by the United States government. The sanctuary encompasses 2,800 square nautical miles of coastal and oceanic waters and submerged lands.
The Marathon Wild Bird Center is one of the leading wild bird rescue centers in the Florida Keys, nestled in 64 acres of lush hardwoods as part of Crane Point Hammock.
The Key West National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1908 in response to a fashion trend that was decimating migratory bird populations, then-President Theodore Roosevelt created this first wildlife refuge of the Florida Keys to protect and preserve a breeding ground for migratory species.
The Lower Keys are home to the National Key Deer Refuge, established in 1957 to protect and preserve habitats for wildlife, most notably the diminutive Key deer. A subspecies of the Virginia white-tailed deer, Key deer range in size from 45 to 80 pounds fully grown.
Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center Located on the Key West waterfront at Truman Annex, the 6,400-square-foot center showcases the underwater and upland habitats that characterize the Keys, with an emphasis on North America's only living contiguous barrier coral reef that parallels the island chain.
Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote offshore preserve that lies approximately 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. The park contains the Civil War-era Fort Jefferson, believed to be the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. Dry Tortugas is the largest no-take marine reserve in the continental United States.
9 Simple Green Travel Tips from Florida Keys & Key West
Book flights with minimal or no connections. Save time as well as avoiding contributing to carbon emissions that are mostly emitted from airplanes during take-off and landing.
Chart the most economical cost of driving, before you leave home.
People visit the Keys out of respect for the natural ecosystems and tropical beauty, however extensive contact can threaten the land and marine habitats such as coral reefs. Be respectful of the islands while using walking trails, exploring national parks, and never walk or stand on the reef while snorkeling or scuba diving. A variety of plants and animals make their home in the Florida Keys.
Florida has a variety of green hotels, bed & breakfasts, or inns to choose from.
Eating locally not only helps promote our communities, it also allows you the experience of tasting local ingredients and amazing new foods
Local shops often feature Keys artisans, which makes for a truly unique shopping and souvenir experience. You can find tropical treasures as well as support the small businesses in the Florida Keys.
Walking tours, trails and hikes maximize the islands' natural surroundings, with minimal impact on the environment.
Conserve on vacation as you would at home: avoid running the water while brushing your teeth, shut off the lights when you leave, turn up the thermostat to reduce air conditioning when you're away, and recycle cans, glass and plastics on property.
Volunteer to help clean up and preserve the local environment. Finding local projects is as simple as reading the newspapers, checking media sites and asking around. There is always something the average person can get their hands on and do, and show positive results in real time, such as island cleanups and coral reef restoration.
Visit Florida Keys & Key West to find out more...
If you must drive down to paradise, the fewer automobiles the better. Not only because of the lack of parking offered on our small island, but carpooling creates fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Better yet, leave your car and travel by water on the Key West Express Ferry Service. The Express is a convenient, relaxing way to travel from Fort Myers,FL(or Marco Island during in-season) to Key West.
Once in Key West, you will find we are a “pedestrian city” where (if in Old Town) you are in walking distance from the best Key West has to offer.
Bicycle rental companies are established throughout the city, if your destination is a bit further than you feel like walking. Even certain resorts, like the Banyan, offer on-site bicycle rentals.
For those of you that choose a more relaxing method of transportation, Perfect Pedicab is at your service taking on a bike tour of the island (or wherever you want to go).
There is always the Bus, Shuttle, & Inter-island transportation available as public transportation. Key West Park & Ride allows visitors to park their car and get free public transportation around Key West, and Electric Cars are available for hire in Key West and along famous Duval Street.
Five Sixes Taxi is the first taxi company in Key West to utilize environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles.
So whether you walk, bike, swim, drive, or fly - we welcome you to Paradise! Please Help us Keep our Island Clean and Beautiful for Years to Come!
While things have slowed down a little bit, there are still some interesting happenings going on this week. On Sunday, June 26th head on to Salute on the beach and check out the 1st Annual Swankey Palooza music festival. Ten hours of music, including Raven Copper, Howard Livingston and the Mile Marker 24 Band, Chas Blakemore and more. In between, local DJ Jimmy V will be spinning the tunes. Tickets are $50 in advance or $75 at the door. If that doesn’t interest you, you can try attending Oktoberfest in June at Martin’s restaurant on Duval Street. The event features live traditional Bavarian music, German food and beer.
One thing you don’t want to miss this week is The Red Elvises performing at The Green Parrot bar on Wednesday and Thursday. If you’ve never had a chance to see this funky band from Russia that dubs themselves “Siberian Surf Rock”, I suggest you run to check them out.
Looking for a great workout while on the water? Enjoy a variety of watersports? You must try paddleboarding!! Similar to kayaking in terms of muscles used, paddleboarding is a great way to tighten up that core and shoulders. Each person has a flat board - similar to a surf board yet heavier/more mass - with a long wooden paddle. The difficult part is standing up (for those of us that are used to kayaking) and keeping your balance.
Hidden away off the beaten path - cross st and 5th - is Cow Key Marina. It is here that you will find Sup Key West. They run 3-4 Paddleboarding Tours throughout the day. One of the guides, Megan (with whom I had the pleasure of paddling with) studied Marine Ecology, so the paddle was not only fun but very educational. She was a wealth of information and I learned so much about the different birds, life cycle of the mangroves, and jellyfish. She actually held a jellyfish in her hands so that I could get a closer look. That's a great watersports tour guide!
We explored the channels through key west and went through the magical mangrove forest. Beware the mosquitoes are hungry, but the beauty of the forest is worth every mosquito bite.
So check them out at www.supkeywest.com
There are many places to go kayaking in the keys and various companies to go with. Everything from kayaking tours in the moonlight to rent your own and go exploring through the mangroves. Group tours are great if you are a first timer and have never gone kayaking before. The tours are educational/instructional and you do not have to worry about where you are going or how to get back.
If you have gone kayaking a couple of times and feel pretty comfortable with your abilities/skills, you may decide to venture out on your own. Take the ocean "by its horns" and see where it takes you. If this sounds like you, i have just the place for you - Sugarloaf Marina. Only a few miles up the keys at MM16, the marina offers kayak rentals for a cheap $30 for a half day (double) or $25 (single). The launch is conveniently placed, so you don't have to worry about lugging the kayak anywhere.
The area is beautiful with paths cutting through the mangroves. The area is pretty quiet and relaxing, although you may hear a boat every once in awhile. Great workout, beautiful area, and cheap fun - I'm Sold!
Looking for something romantic to do while in Key West? Tired of the bar scene nightlife? Love to be on the water when the sun sets? Take your sweetie on the Danger Charters Wind & Wine Sunset Sail.
The evening begins with a brief introduction of the crew and safety. Once on the water, the friendly staff serves a variety of wines, from chardonnay to merlot as well as some delicious appetizers to tease your pallet. As you tour around the ocean, the view of the sunset will take your breath away. The sail runs approximately 2-2.5 hours and costs $70 per adult. Advance reservations are needed, since this trip is very popular. Interested? Let's us know and our front desk will set it all up for you.
Interested in becoming a "greener" hotel, but don't know how to start? Here are 6 easy steps to get your hotel and its guests on the right path.
- Turn fans, lights and appliances off when not in use or not in the unit.
- Set your air conditioner to 78 degrees or higher when you leave for the day.
- Conserve water by utilizing a towel and linen reuse program.
- Turn water off while brushing your teeth.
- Ask your guests to report any lights illuminated during the day, faucet drips or other inefficiencies to the Front Office.
- Provide your guests with a recyclables container (and a list of what is recyclable in your area), as well as a garbage receptacle. Post instructions on how to properly recycle items and what is (not)recyclable.