Nestled within the Atlantic sits the Florida Keys, 110 miles of existential calm with nothing but brilliant blue water surrounding the southern coast. It’s the ideal place to slow down and enjoy a plethora of water recreation and discovery.
Where to stay
The Kona Kai Resort is a quiet haven tucked away off of U.S. 1 in Key Largo. An unassuming sign sits off of the highway, leading to a chic luxurious setting landscaped with botanical gardens.
Kona Kai is a picturesque postcard where you have your own private white-sand beach furnished with hammocks and beach loungers. A pier offers a close intimacy with the waters as lounge chairs face the horizon.
Each if the 13 guest houses offer cozy, beach themed interiors. Imaginative landscapers have created what looks like coral reef lining along one of the guesthomes with orchids, palms and bamboo surrounding the resort.
There are kayaks, paddleboats and paddleboards available for guests. Paddle along the mangroves and discover the surrounding areas via your choice of water transport.
Things to do
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park offers visitors some of the most affordable options for water recreation. The park opened its doors in 1960 and is named after John Pennekamp, a pioneer in underwater preservation who served as an editor with the Miami Herald. It is the first undersea park in the U.S and stretches three miles into the Atlantic Ocean and offers 25 miles of underwater discovery. A 4,000-pound bronze statue of Jesus entitled “Christ of the Abyss” sits beneath the waters and can be viewed through the park’s scuba diving excursions. Snorkeling, kayaking and boat tours are also offered.
Glass bottom boat tour
The Key Largo Princess Glass Bottom boat tour is the most leisurely way to view underwater scenery, with a lower air-conditioned compartment. .A guide provides fascinating facts about the world beneath. The upper level is open air offering full bar service.
Driving along the Keys: Places to visit
Theater of the Sea
Delight in live performances by dolphins, a sea lion, parrots and more at this lively venue filled with entertaining shows, aquatic displays as well as interactive opportunies. It’s a treat for all ages with impressive shows.
Of course, a must is key lime pie. But how about a Key Lime muffin? Harriette’s, in Key Largo has been around for over 35 years, offers amazing food including these decadent muffins with a surprise tangy bite in the center.
Splash into the Caribbean waters and discover the colorful and vibrant world below with a snorkeling tour through Sebago Watersports. It begins with a dreamy cruise over clear turquoise waters. The snorkeling excursion is perfect for beginners and aficionados, offering spectacular views of coral and colorful fish. After snorkeling, the tour offers complimentary cold drinks, beer and wine.
Where to eat
While in the Keys, take advantage of brilliant and innovative cuisine at Blue Heaven. The venue delivers some of the finest flavors in the area. A suggested starter is the carrot and curry soup with mango. It’s the perfect blend of spice with a creamy texture and rich flavor. A unique salad is the Miso baked eggplant with goat cheese, artisan greens and topped with a refreshing citrus vinaigrette. The Yellowtail Snapper is one of the best on the island. Cooked to perfection, Chef David Dorsty has mastered this mildly sweet fish explaining that it’s the layering of flavors in the citrus buerre blanc that create the magic. Save room for the Passion fruit cashew cheesecake. “This dessert is dairy gluten free and raw. The smooth cashew texture is decadent and the tropical flavor pops with the passion fruit accented by sea salt sprinkled on the plate. The crust is made with dates, pecans and coconut,” explains Dorsty.
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum brings insight into the life and works of the writer extraordinaire. His home is a treasure of well-maintained furnishings, portraits and artifacts, which take guests into Hemingway’s world.