All the Reasons to Take the Kids to the Keys

All the Reasons to Take the Kids to the Keys

In partnership with our friends at VISIT FLORIDA

The Florida Keys make up the dreamiest stretch of barely touched, emerald coastline in America. Maybe anywhere. Drive an easy ninety minutes due south from Miami and you arrive at a series of islands—connected by scenic bridges and surrounded by bathtub-clear water, coral reefs, powder-perfect sand, and the palms trees you see in beer ads. And if you need further incentive to book a flight, load the kids, and roll down, consider this: The villas at Moorings Village are luxuriously airy and endlessly inviting, and the restaurants really do fry up the fish you caught yourself that morning. Floridians are a warm bunch who are eager to embrace out-of-towners, maybe even whisper a few secrets of their island hideaways. And yes, you really can swim, paddleboard, and snooze the lazy, lazy days away. Remember, you’re on vacation, the itinerary is entirely yours to make…or not.

More Worthy Stops

  • Alabama Jack's

    Alabama Jack's

    Seafood is understandably abundant here, and there’s really no better place for conch fritters than Alabama Jack’s in Key Largo. But you should come here just as much for the ambiance as the food as it’s a bit of a haul from Key West. It looks like a standard roadside dive (there are dedicated motorcycle parking spots out front) except that it sits on a floating barge with insane views of the creek and neighboring mangroves. Come on a weekend for live music and dancing.

  • Casa Marina

    Casa Marina

    This is a big, beautiful, Deco-style resort that somehow manages to strike a balance between the glitz of a Waldorf Astoria property and local clout: The structure has been here since the ’20s and is listed on the National Register for Historic Places. The massive, 300-plus-room compound sits on a private beach, so you can retreat to a lounge chair, or your beautifully appointed guest room, or the world-class spa, whenever the craziness of Duval Street, which is walking distance from the hotel, gets to be too much.

  • Hemingway Home

    Hemingway Home

    Visiting Key West without making a pilgrimage to the Ernest Hemingway Home and gardens (with its resident family of six-toed cats) is kind of blasphemous. Much of the interior and a smattering of personal possessions from Hemingway’s years on the estate are lovingly salvaged originals. Don’t skimp on the tour as the guides are extremely well-versed in Hemingway trivia.

  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

    John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

    The tropical waters of Key West are home to some of the most protected living coral reefs in the country. There are tons of outfits offering kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and even glass-bottom boat tours, but we like the in-house folks at John Pennekamp, which is a massive underwater park (statues, sculptures, and the like) that justifies the drive. They’re also nicely attuned to visitors’ wishes and skill levels.

  • Kino Sandals

    Kino Sandals

    Look no further for a fittingly kitschy but wonderfully practical Key West souvenir. You can watch your sandals being made, and some of the styles are legitimately cute—plus, they’re sturdy and really reasonably priced.

  • Ocean Key

    Ocean Key

    The Ocean Key resort sits at the very top of Duval Street on one side and the lively Sunset Pier on the other, making it a convenient home base from which to explore. The décor is fittingly perky—with pops of turquoise and rattan accents scattered throughout the rooms; the on-site restaurant, Hot Tin Roof (killer sunset-watching spot); and the rooftop pool—but just enough so as not to be overwhelming.