Six-day Florida Keys itinerary with kids

Six-day Florida Keys itinerary with kids

You possibly can spend months exploring the Florida Keys, testing the smaller islands, discovering the household points of interest and simply revelling in that laid-back environment – however in the event you don’t have fairly that lengthy, you may nonetheless pack so much right into a six-day Florida Keys itinerary with children.

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Working for 113 miles, the Abroad Freeway is the one main street by means of the Keys so it additionally makes for a straightforward Florida street journey for households, following the route from the Higher Keys to the Decrease Keys, earlier than heading again north once more.

Our personal journey fitted into round per week, together with flight time, basing ourselves in Key Largo, Key West and Marathon however you may go slower in the event you’ve bought time to spare, with loads of tempting detours to construct in over greater than 800 keys, or you may reduce a few of the actions from this Florida itinerary for youths to cram every part into a brief break.

No matter you select, it’s an awesome place to discover with youngsters – plenty of household points of interest, some implausible boat journeys, seashores to chill out on, excursions to take, historical past to find and a welcoming laid-back vibe (learn on for tips about when to plan your Florida Keys journey to keep away from the crowds).

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Day 1 – Miami to Key Largo

For most individuals your journey will begin in Miami (or presumably Fort Lauderdale) except you’re driving the entire approach to the Florida Keys.

Though there may be an airport in Key West, it’s a straightforward drive from Miami to the Higher Keys and also you get the expertise of driving all the way in which down the Abroad Freeway, together with the great Seven Mile Bridge afterward on this Florida Keys street journey itinerary.

Six-day Florida Keys itinerary with kids

With these sweeping bridges taking you from key to key, as you take in the views of the ocean on the way in which, the journey may be very positively a part of the journey right here.

When you have time to spare, it’s properly price setting apart a couple of days to find the very best of Miami with children as properly, or you may construct in a detour to the Everglades, however in any other case it’s round an hour from Miami airport to Key Largo – ideally suited in case your flight arrives late and also you don’t desire a lengthy journey forward

What to do in Key Largo

Preserve day 1 easy, particularly in the event you’re factoring in an extended drive or jetlag – relax at your resort or head to the seaside.

Harry Harris Seaside and Park on Tavernier is round a 15-20 minute drive from Key Largo, and it’s nice with youthful children. A jetty protects the tender sand seaside from the strongest currents, so the water is calmer and there are many services for households.

The place to remain in Key Largo

We stayed at Reefhouse Resort & Marina (the previous Key Largo Bay Marriott Seaside Resort) with its personal personal seaside, pool and wonderful spacious rooms looking to the ocean.

There are boat journeys from the on-site marina and a dive store if you wish to get going immediately, or the property has two bars and Gus’ Grille all-day eating with its out of doors coated patio if you wish to chill out with one thing to eat.

There are cookies for youths at reception while you check-in (and for grown-ups in the event you ask properly!) plus loads of parking.

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The place to eat in Key Largo

Don’t miss a go to to The Fish Home which specialises in native seafood, together with yellowtail snapper, mahi mahi, grouper, Florida lobster and stone crab.

View of my fish dish with matecumbe sauce at the Fish House in Key Largo, one of the great places to eat with kids on a Florida Keys road trip

I cherished the specialty matecumbe sauce and there are easy choices for youths too – it’s all very relaxed too so nice for households.

Day 2 – Islamorada

Head somewhat additional south for day 2 to find Islamorada – you may additionally make this your first cease from Miami instead primary base within the Higher Keys to start out your Florida Keys itinerary with children.

Take a look at a few of the lodges in Islamorada for households right here

Because it’s barely farther from Miami airport, we selected the shorter drive – it’s simply over half an hour from Key Largo to Islamorada so it additionally breaks up the time within the automotive with youthful children – after which headed again to Reefhouse Resort for the night.

What to do in Islamorada

There are many nice methods to fill a day on Islamorada with children, in the event you don’t really feel like a lazy first morning.

Anne’s Seaside

Fancy some extra seaside time? One other contender for the title of most lovely seaside within the Florida Keys, Anne’s Seaside is right for households because the shallow water is ideal for youths, or you may stroll alongside the boardwalk right here too.

Anne's Beach in Islamorada, one of a string of white sand beaches to include on a Florida Keys itinerary with kids

Historical past of Diving Museum

Islamorada can also be house to the Historical past of Diving Museum, house to a real sixteenth century treasure chest!

The museum additionally shares the function South Florida and the Florida Keys have performed within the historical past of diving, when you can find out about every part from free diving to what it takes to dive into the abyss!

Feed the tarpon at Robbie’s Marina

Head to Robbie’s Marina, with a string of stalls to select up souvenirs, plenty of boat journeys, tarpon feeding and loads of locations to eat. In case you’re feeding the tarpon, preserve an eye fixed out for the pelicans who swoop in to steal the fish – these payments pack fairly a peck.

Big brown pelicans waiting for fish at Robbie's Marina in Islamorada - one of the unmissable stops on a Florida Keys road trip

We stayed a secure distance away at Robbie’s of Islamorada for lunch, with a inexperienced iguana absorbing the solar close to our desk – there’s loads of child-friendly dishes on the menu, in addition to nice fish and seafood. They’ll even prepare dinner your catch in the event you’ve been out fishing.

Take a snorkeling journey

Within the afternoon, head out on a snorkel tour with Sundance Watersports stopping at a few totally different reefs – these can embrace Alligator Reef, Cheeca Rocks, or Hens and Chickens Reef relying on the circumstances on the day.

Whichever reefs you do go to, the tour sticks to the shallower ones, round 7-17ft deep so even newbies will get an awesome view of the fish – you may even be fortunate sufficient to identify a turtle (though preserve an eye fixed out for the moon jellyfish that they snack on).

Turtle underwater above a reef like the one we spotted on a snorkeling tour from Islamorada, one of the great places to including on a Florida Keys itinerary with kids

Snorkel gear is included though you may carry your individual – in case your children have the one-piece full-face masks and snorkel, they received’t be capable to use them although, and can want the normal two piece set

There are different boat excursions leaving from the northern finish of the important thing in the event you’re in search of various snorkeling excursions in Islamorada

Day 3 – Summerland Key & Key West

Head additional south to the Decrease Keys, crossing Seven Mile Bridge on the way in which – your eventual vacation spot is Key West, round two hours from Key Largo and Islamorada, stopping on the way in which at Summerland Key.

What to do at Summerland Key

We timed our go to for one of many public excursions of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Elizabeth Moore Worldwide Middle for Coral Reef Restoration, which occur on Tuesdays at 10am (at 24244 Abroad Hwy).

If this doesn’t match along with your itinerary, you can even go to Mote’s different places in Key Largo and Islamorada which have excursions on different days. Excursions have restricted numbers and have to be prebooked.

Higher with older children than toddlers, it’s fascinating to see the work their scientists are doing to assist revitalise the reefs – the tour takes you inside their labs to be taught extra about why crabs are serving to their work, the ailments affecting the corals and the way Mote is even serving to the corals reproduce.

It’s all made very accessible for the general public, and even my 11-year-old may observe the tour’s data, so in case your children love nature or are all in favour of sustainability and conservation, it’s unmissable – and a reminder that the attractive Florida Keys Nationwide Marine Sanctuary, with its reefs, sea grass meadows and mangrove forests, wants our assist.

What to do in Key West

There are such a lot of enjoyable issues to do in Key West with children, that you simply received’t battle to fill your time right here – we had round 48 hours however may very fortunately have spent longer.

There’s extra time on Day 4 of my Florida Keys itinerary with children so that you don’t need to pack all of it right into a single afternoon!

Begin off with a Key West guided tour to get your bearings – we cherished the Conch Tour Practice to seek out out extra in regards to the historical past of Key West.

Stopping a couple of occasions on the way in which, the route passes a few of Key West’s most well-known sights, together with the Southernmost Level buoy (the southernmost level of the continental United States looking to the Atlantic Ocean) and Mile Marker 0, combined with quirky tales like how the Southernmost Southernmost Home bought its identify.

The Conch Tour Train at one of its stops - the tour is one of the best ways to explore Key West with kids during your Florida Keys family road trip

There’s additionally the Key West Previous City Trolley Excursions, which journey somewhat additional afield, stopping at a few of the lodges farther from the Previous City.

You possibly can spend the remainder of the afternoon wandering round Mallory Sq. and Duval Road, or heading right down to the harbor. There are additionally a number of seashores round Key West, together with Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, plus Higgs Seaside and Smathers Seaside.

There’s additionally a splash pad on the Truman Waterfront park, which is nice enjoyable for toddlers and younger youngsters.

Or take a look at a few of the household points of interest in Key West, together with the fascinating Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, telling the story of his treasure searching adventures.

There’s additionally the Shipwreck Treasure Museum, the Key West Aquarium, the Ernest Hemingway Dwelling, Harry Truman’s Little White Home, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory and nice views from the Key West Lighthouse, to call a couple of others.

For my decide of the very best issues to do in Key West with children, take a look at this submit for the whole checklist

End the day with a sundown cruise – there are a number of to select from though we cherished the Sundown Sail from Sebago Key West with a sunset-themed soundtrack and open bar because the sky turned gold.

A number of the alternate options embrace the possibility to move out on a schooner with Basic Harbor Line, whereas Sundown Watersports has their very own tour.

View of a sailing ship silhouetted against the horizon just before sunset - a sunset cruise is one of the best things to do in Key West with older kids during a Florida Keys road trip

Choose to remain on dry land? Head to Mallory Sq. for the Sundown Celebration, with road performers (often a bit risque), road meals, and stalls promoting tempting arts, crafts and souvenirs that pop up for the night.

The place to remain in Key West

We checked in to Opal Key Resort – the sister resort to Reefhouse Resort in Key Largo – for our two nights in Key West.

Beforehand Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina, plenty of its spacious ethereal rooms overlook the marina or the implausible pool with its poolside bar, plus you may breakfast overlooking the water.

Downtown Key West is true on the doorstep too, so we couldn’t have had a greater location, plus the cool blue-green tones of the rooms handle to really feel luxurious whereas nonetheless being family-friendly.

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The place to eat in Key West

You received’t battle to seek out locations to eat in Key West with children – there are some nice household pleasant eating places, to not point out loads of locations to seize an ice cream.

For someplace actually memorable, head over to Blue Heaven in Bahama Village with its out of doors tables below the bushes, reside music, and Floridian-Caribbean menu.

Hemingway as soon as refereed boxing matches right here, though it’s calmer lately! Well-known for its breakfasts (though go early), there are restricted reservations for dinner that are properly price doing – the Key Lime pie to complete was the scale of my head.

Fish sandwich with fries in Key West - from Floridian specialities to child-friendly favourites like pizza, there are some great places to eat on a Florida Keys road trip with kids

We additionally had some wonderful pizza at Clemente’s Wooden-Fired pizza on Fleming Road, which was nice for sharing in case your children received’t handle a complete one every.

There are additionally loads of locations to seize a fast meal together with fish, sandwiches, tacos and burgers, like Two Associates Patio restaurant on Entrance Road.

Or Cuban Espresso Queen has nice smoothies and breakfasts in addition to Cuban sandwiches.

Day 4 – Key West

With a full day in Key West, you may tick off extra of the family-friendly points of interest and actions that you simply didn’t handle to squeeze in to day 3.

What to do in Key West

There’s no driving to do at the moment (except you need to) so you may take advantage of Key West being so walkable and take a look at extra of its household points of interest – or head somewhat farther from Previous City Key West in the event you’ve ticked off a whole lot of your checklist the day earlier than.

View of Duval Street with its colourful houses on a sunny day - Key West is one of the unmissable places to visit on a Florida Keys road trip with kids

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

You possibly can fortunately spend the morning at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, for instance, testing the historic website earlier than hitting the seaside.

Take a kayaking journey

Round 20 minutes from Key West, there’s a two-hour tour of the mangroves from Geiger Key, close to Boca Chica Key.

This Key West Kayak eco-tour is led by a information specialising within the space’s nature – you may spot dolphins, rays and turtles, in addition to iguanas, birds and different native wildlife, whereas studying in regards to the space’s seagrass beds and mangrove forests.

Couple kayaking together in mangrove river of the Florida Keys - one of the unusual things to do in Key West with kids on a Florida Keys family road trip

Go dolphin-spotting and snorkeling

You’ll be able to simply slot in one other boat journey too, together with the possibility to identify dolphins in addition to snorkeling close to Key West.

One of many stand-out operators is Sincere Eco, which makes use of Key West’s first electric-powered constitution boat, Squid, charged by photo voltaic panels, together with a four-hour dolphin watch and snorkel journey.

However you can even discover comparable journeys with Sundown Watersports andFury Water Adventures, in addition to a snorkeling journey from Sebago Watersports.

In case you’re in search of extra sustainable tourism experiences, the brand new Florida Keys Eco-Expertise Path Move highlights a few of the eco-friendly choices within the Keys, in addition to letting you ebook direct

Day journey from Key West

For an added journey, the attractive Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park is round 70 miles from Key West – it’s worthwhile to journey by boat or seaplane to this archipelago of seven small islands, the place the coral reef and shipwrecks of the nationwide park are good for snorkeling and diving within the turquoise waters.

Aerial view over the Dry Tortugas National Park including the fort and reefs visible through the clear turquoise water - a great day trip from Key West with kids during your Florida Keys road trip

Seaplane Seaside, North Swim Seaside and South Swim Seaside are a few of the finest seashores. This one is finest for households with teenagers and older children, because it takes some effort to achieve and there’s restricted services when you arrive.

The Yankee Freedom Ferry is the official park ferry, together with entrance price to the Nationwide Park and Fort Jefferson, or in the event you’ve bought the finances, the seaplane to the Dry Tortugas has half-day and full day constitution choices.

Day 5 – Key West to Marathon

Time to start out heading again north at the moment from Key West to the Center Keys and Marathon – relying what you like, you may spend a part of the morning in Key West or slot in a cease on the way in which, however the massive exercise at the moment is a go to to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon.

Excursions there run each half-hour till 4pm (and it’s worthwhile to arrive quarter-hour upfront) so plan your day accordingly. It’s round one hour from Key West to Marathon.

What to do – Key West to Marathon

Nonetheless bought some issues to do in Key West to tick off? There’s time to suit some extra earlier than you set off, or strive these concepts for the place to interrupt the journey to Marathon.

Bahia Honda State Park

Cease off at Bahia Honda State Park with its palm-lined seashores in your route north. The small island is simply after Massive Pine Key earlier than you attain Seven Mile Bridge heading north, and it’s a beautiful place to spend a couple of hours.

White sand and palm tree on Calusa Beach in Bahia Honda State Park with the old broken bridge in the background - one of the places to add to your Florida Keys itinerary with kids

There are some beautiful white sand seashores – award-winning Calusa Seaside is particularly beautiful – plus there’s snorkeling, seaside combing, in addition to kayaks and paddleboards to hire. It’s round a 15-minute drive from the Turtle Hospital.

Kayaking at Sugarloaf Key

Cease at Sugarloaf Key as an alternative for a kayaking journey with Get Up and Go Kayaking by means of the mangroves and waterways of the Florida Keys backcountry.

The corporate makes use of clear kayaks so that you’ll get a novel view of the marine life as you paddle.

Marathon Turtle Hospital

One among my daughter’s favorite issues to do in the entire Florida Keys street journey was a go to to the Marathon Turtle Hospital. The hour-long excursions begin with an training phase – and if that sounds dry and boring, suppose once more – overlaying the threats to sea turtles, the analysis being carried out on the Turtle Hospital and the way they work to guard them.

There’s an opportunity to see contained in the working theatre (with vets finishing up procedures on a few of the turtles throughout our go to) after which to satisfy a few of the everlasting and momentary inhabitants who’ve been rescued and are recovering right here.

Together with loggerhead, inexperienced, hawksbill and Kemp’s Ridley turtles, all of them get particular person names thought up by their rescuers – Tater and Tot had been two examples together with Grumpy and Sneezy throughout our go to (Snow White had already been returned to the ocean!)

The hospital itself grew out of a resort with a sideline in rescuing turtles; after a hurricane meant the proprietor may select both to restart the lodging aspect or focus solely on treating diseased and injured turtles, he selected the latter.

Turtle with bandaged shell at the Marathon Turtle hospital, one of the unforgettable stops on a Florida Keys itinerary with kids

The hospital is now believed to be the world’s solely state-licensed veterinary hospital devoted solely to the therapy of sea turtles, the place potential returning them to the wild.

The place to remain in Marathon

Tranquility Bay Resort can be an awesome alternative even in the event you weren’t planning to go to the Turtle Hospital – set proper subsequent door, the lodging contains seaside homes with 2-3 bedrooms (nice in the event you’ve bought a bigger household or are travelling with grandparents) in addition to the tropical backyard rooms.

Set proper on the seaside, there are water sports activities, plus a number of swimming pools together with one massive one on the centre of the resort. Decor is basic Florida seaside, plenty of blues and white rocking chairs on the balcony or verandah, some looking by means of the palm bushes to the Gulf of Mexico.

The right place to unwind (in the event you haven’t already) on the finish of the journey. You should buy breakfast within the foyer (or there are a couple of locations close by to select up one thing to go), plus it has its personal nice restaurant for dinner, Butterfly cafe (learn on for extra particulars about that).

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The place to eat – Key West to Marathon

In case you’re heading to Sugarloaf Key for the kayaking, not far-off on Summerland Key, Mangrove Mama’s is a neighborhood favorite, recognized for seafood and steak plus sides like honey corn bread.

Or on Little Torch Key, Kiki’s Sandbar & Grill is one other native favorite and an awesome easygoing beachfront spot serving fish and seafood, together with blackened shrimp tacos and griller snapper filet sandwich. It’s not removed from Nationwide Key Deer Refuge as properly when you have time for a brief detour!

Endangered Florida Keys deer - one of the local wildlife you can see on a Florida Keys itinerary with kids

In case you’re staying at Tranquility Bay Resort, or close by, don’t miss dinner at Butterfly Cafe – regardless of the identify, that is much more trendy restaurant than cafe, with some scrumptious dishes for all the household and really welcoming to children. One among my favorite locations that we ate on our Florida Keys itinerary.

Day 6 – Marathon/Key Largo to Miami

In case you’re planning a six-day journey as we did, at the moment sadly marks the ultimate day of your Florida Keys itinerary with children – however there’s nonetheless time to slot in one (or two) last actions earlier than heading north to Miami, together with John Pennekamp State Park.

Our personal flight again was late at evening, which meant we had just about all day to discover so relying when your airplane leaves (in the event you’re flying house), simply issue within the drive – round two hours from Marathon, or round an hour from Key Largo.

What to do in Marathon

Go to Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters earlier than you permit Marathon – an aquarium with a variations as there’s an opportunity to get into the water with a few of the creatures dwelling right here.

My daughter walks towards the entrance at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters, one of the most memorable stops on our Florida Keys itinerary with kids

We went for a Stingray Expertise which was one other unforgettable spotlight of the journey – with wetsuit, masks and snorkel on, we sat within the pool with the rays, studying the stingray shuffle (to keep away from unintentionally stepping on any of them) and discovering out extra in regards to the Southern Rays and Cownose Rays within the tank.

Then having been enthusiastically checked out by a few of the curious rays (together with Pancake, who couldn’t get sufficient of blowing bubbles onto me), there’s an opportunity to feed them and to drift within the tank, watching them swim.

Employees had been nice with my initially nervous daughter, who was so wowed by the expertise (in addition to the turtle hospital and coral analysis lab tour) that she’s now setting her sights on a profession as a marine biologist.

All have had their barbs eliminated for safely and – like different experiences, such because the coral reef snorkeling – are appropriate for youths. There’s additionally the nursery encounter in the event you don’t need to get moist, interacting with child stingrays, plus the Massive Shark Bay encounter the place you may safely work together with nurse sharks.

Even in the event you don’t fancy reserving one of many encounters, there’s heaps to entertain the entire household right here. A lot larger than the Key West Aquarium, it’s principally outdoor (though there’s some shade) with talks and feeding occasions going down through the day.

We noticed nurse sharks being fed and checked, tortoises, terrapins and alligators, plus tropical fish galore together with an enormous grouper and a tidepool contact tank, which is at all times successful with children. You’ll be able to select to feed a few of the creatures too – we purchased some meals for the lobsters.

In case you’re fortunate you may even spot a manatee swimming within the open water close by. We ended up spending 4 hours right here together with lunch and will fortunately have stayed longer!

What to do in Key Largo

There’s one other likelihood to get out on the water on the Key Largo Princess glass backside boat tour to discover the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the Key Largo Nationwide Marine Sanctuary.

Turquoise seas and metal structure in the water at John Pennekamp park - the glass bottomed boat tour is a great thing to add to a Florida Keys itinerary with kids

The 2-hour boat journey runs thrice per day, at 10am, 1pm and 4pm, with seats outdoors to benefit from the views or within the air-conditioned cabin.

When you arrive on the reef, there’s commentary that can assist you perceive what you’re seeing by means of the massive viewing home windows – in all, there’s 280 sq ft of glass to look by means of on the marine world below the waves.

When to plan your Florida Keys street journey

It pays to time your break within the Florida Keys with children so that you simply get the very best of the climate and keep away from the crowds – as there’s famously one main street by means of the Florida Keys, you don’t need to spend it caught in site visitors on the Abroad Freeway!

For extra tips about planning a street journey with children, together with what to pack for a household street journey, street journey actions for youths and the very best street journey snacks, take a look at my posts

Whereas March to Could has a few of the finest climate, Spring break wouldn’t be my first alternative for a household journey, particularly round Key West. December to February is cooler however you may nonetheless anticipate temperatures within the mid 70s, which is ideal for exploring with children.

Once we visited in late October/early November, it was heat, the climate was nonetheless usually superb (though often a bit windy for boat journeys) and we weren’t combating the crowds so it’s one other good time to contemplate.

A couple with young child walk along a beach at sunset in Bahia Honda state park in the Florida Keys - my tips on planning your Florida Keys itinerary with kids, including when to visit

Hurricane season sees the worst tropical storms from mid-August to the beginning of October, so it’s finest to keep away from these weeks in the event you can too, in addition to dodging the excessive temperatures and humidity of midsummer.

You too can test when main occasions are deliberate on the Florida Keys Tourism web site, in addition to checking when cruise ships are docked in Key West, as it may possibly make a giant distinction if there’s a bigger ship in.

For concepts of extra issues to do in Key West with children, take a look at my prime picks

Disclosure: This submit comprises affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I’ll obtain a small fee. My journey and most of the actions listed was organized through the vacationer board for the needs of assessment however all opinions stay my very own.

Important picture/Seven mile bridge/Anne’s Seaside/pelican/turtle on a reef/Duval Road/kayaking/Dry Tortugas/Bahia Honda/deer/John Pennekamp park/sundown seaside courtesy of Depositphotos/Shutterstock, all different pictures copyright MummyTravels