The South Florida Weather as you probably know is humid tropical in nature. In the areas of the Florida Keys and all over the state of Florida is warm most the time. We have sunny days and crowded beaches all year.
We are in the tropics and the days are hot, with plenty of sun, blue sky…and this is…tropical weather.
The average temperature in South Florida during the summer is 80 F or (27 C)…Yes it get hot down here! Is beach time all over Southern Florida. It also rains a lot during the summer month.
The average temperatures during the winter months of November, December, January and February are 65 F (18 C) to 75 F (23 C). (But normally are 70 F to 75 F). Is this really winter?
As you can see the winter temperatures are moderate, but in some days you might need a light jacket. It’s common to have one or two days of colder temperatures and then back to 70 F or 75 F degrees. These are also the dry season months, when it does not rain in Southern Florida.
The average warmest month is August, and January is the coolest. The highest average rainfall is in September. And the highest temperature ever recorded was 100 degrees.
About the rainy season
The rainy season in South Florida begins with the summer season, which begins around June and it should be ending around October.August and September are the months with more rain.It’s normal to have rain every day, for the greatest part in the afternoons during August and September becoming more scarce at the end of September.
Sometimes the rains are accompanied of thunderstorms and winds.
Avoid distractions..! Keep eyes on the road and hands on the wheel!
Tips for driving with bad weather and heavy rain: Make sure your head lights and windshields are on. Check them before getting on the road.Increase the fallowing distance and slow down a bit. It takes longer to stop during rain and the road could be slippery when wet. Reason why the breaks should not be pressed to hard if you need to slow down… Slow down gradually.
The Florida weather has the characteristics of the tropics and sub tropics, where hurricanes come and go as fast as they can, sometimes causing trouble, but this is only during the hurricane season, August, September or October…and there has not been any major hurricane here since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 or the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.
The rest of the year we have the freedom of waking on the beaches.
We have some great weather forecasters here, for all to be aware of mother nature’s next steps! We see them in the evening news on TV all the time informing us of what is to come ahead.
It’s normal to have temperatures of 70’s or 80’s during the month of December. I was on the beach for Christmas and boat sailing two weeks later…No wander they call Florida the Sunshine State!
Florida has been blessed with this characteristics, these are the reason for having so many beautiful tourists on our beaches at all times.
You see people that come here every year during the winter months to sun bathe on our beaches……
From all over the world we got friends, and we are proud of it!
They love the South Florida Weather as much as we do!
Regarding Beaches of Key West, the first thing that comes to mind is …Are there beaches in Key West? Yes, we have beaches here! Not so many but just a few.
As you probably know that being the Florida Keys a coral archipelago the beaches are scarce and mostly what we have are rocky shores, and the action here is mostly concentrated around marine activities like diving into the coral reefs, exploring the ship wrecks, sunset sailing cruises, kayaking along the shores, and sport fishing.
The southernmost city in the continental U.S is not so notorious for the beaches like other cities of South Florida are, but it’s very rewarded for the culture and the festive ambiance prevalent. There is always a party going on here, or some kind of event or celebration.
You come here to have a good time for sure! Probably during Spring Break, Fantasy Fest, or just simply to visit this exotic Caribbean American artistic and colorful town, because Key West is unique!
But what about the Key West beaches?
There are a few here and there. Four that I recommend because they have good quality, and even when they are not on the top 10 list of worlds super beaches they deserve some attention.
But keep in mind that these are not the beaches of the South, Center Florida or the Gulf Coast with the white sand out or under the water, so it’s a good idea to bring a pair of water shoes if you plant to get in the water.
So here are these four best Beaches in Key West
It’s a beach on the south of the town not far from the airport with plenty of white sand (I heard that the sand came from somewhere else which it makes sense since Key West is a big coral rock formation)
There is a party type of atmosphere going on at this beach; alternative life style people gatherings, families parties, singles or couples, foreign and national tourists, the young and old and water sport enthusiasts.
Aquatic sports at Smathers
It’s a free entrance beach, with metered parking along the well-known Roosevelt Blvd. The beach has volleyball courts, bathrooms, showers, and picnic tables, and beach paraphernalia rentals.
Fort Zachary Taylor’s Beach
Fort Zachary Taylor is another important historic landmark in Key West. The fort’s construction was started in 1845 and finish in 1866.
Fort Zach or Fort Taylor (locally known) was used by the U.S military throughout the Spanish-American War and discarded by the army to become a museum and historic landmark after 1947.
And if you believe in ghosts and hauntings Fort Taylor shares the reputation of being one of the towns haunted sites!…Heard voices in the dark room?
On the area behind the fort you’ll find the beach which is a nice beach to sunbathe, picnicking, bike riding, and nature watching, we’ll find families with their children, and on the nearby rocky side of the beach is an area for fishing right by the fishing channel.
In Key West it’s the southernmost beach.
Itâ€™s a small beach right behind the Southernmost Cafe and Bar, famous for its location I guess, being here is special and if you can swim 90 miles you could reach the Cuba’s territory.
You’ll find South Beach at the south end of Duval Street.
South Beach most of the times is quite, but if you go during Spring Break or the Fantasy Fest you will find some party and partial nudity going on.
Clarence S. Higgs Beach (commonly known as Higgs Beach)
Yoga on the beach at Higgs.
You’ll probably find a party or two, people just hanging out and socializing at the beach, reading, sunbathing, yoga groups in practice, people walking their dogs, or with metal detectors combing the sand for a lost treasure.
A great beach for sun bathing.
Beach Information Center:
Monroe County’s Beach and Recreation. 305 295 4385.
To conclude this chapter about the Beaches of Key West, Florida
Make the beaches in Key West part of the vacation package-other points that you might want to visit while visiting this town, Key West is an action packed territory out of the ordinary and a great tourist destination, but just don’t expect to find the the long sandy beaches of the other part of Florida, just that the atmosphere around could be interesting and something new to experience!
Ready for the glass bottom boat rides, kayaking, snorkeling, camping, some fishing and beach time?
Getting to the John Pennekamp State Park early in the morning on any day of the year is always better.
The park opens as early as 8:00 am and it’s fully operational until sundown, all 365 days of the year. In the early morning is quiet, almost empty. This is a good time to explore the areas and get familiar with the environment as well as to get the best parking spaces in the park.
The entrance to the park is at the Mile Marker 102.5 of US 1 in the Key Largo’s main sectioIt’s a flat rate admission fee of $8:00 per vehicle that you pay at the entrance when arriving to the base camp of the park. RV’s and campers pay a different rate.
Look for the big sign where the entrance is in Key Largo.
As the day progresses an affluence of visitors of all ages and from every place imaginable started to arrive…Canada, Europe, Asia, Japan…The last time that I visited the park a bus full of students from a junior high school in lost Angeles, California were there.
Dozens of children and families are swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and participating in just about any of the activities that this recreational facility has to offer.
The John Pennekamp State Park has a treasure to offer…The coral reefs!
This is the first underwater park in the U.S, and is also located in the one and only coral reef barrier in North America. “The Great Florida Coral Reef Barrier” Where else can we go to admire such a thing?
Glass bottom boats, snorkeling, or scuba diving tours are the way to explore these coral formations. From the park you can take a boat tour to the best dive sites in the underwater park. The tours are guided by the tour captain and its crew experts on the field, and they know where the best diving locations are in this vast area of the Upper Florida Keys.
The best coral formations in the Great Florida Coral Reef Barrier are said to be at this Underwater Park. Well preserved and with swarms of tropical fish.So the main attraction to the park are these corals and the abundant sea life that inhabits in this underwater forest. In addition, you probably know by now that Key Largo is considered as the Diving Capital of the World by many! Diving in Key Largo?
Located on the Dry Rocks Reef and near Key Largo is the statue of Jesus of the Deep or the “Christ of the Deep” (a bronze 9 feet toll sculpture of Jesus Christ under 25″ of water)…This is one of the most visited underwater sites in the world!
Scuba diving enthusiasts either begginers or advance might like to check at the PADI 5 Star Gold Palm Scuba Shop located at the head quarters of the park.
They offer courses from the Introduction to Scuba Diving Resort Course to the more Advance Open Water Training Course and Certification.
Getting active at the base camp of the Pennekamp’s park.
Kayaking, canoeing, boating, fishing and bicycling are other ways of getting the feeling of adventure and get active, while exploring the water ways surrounded by mangroves where the white heron, the egret, pelicans and other wild birds of the tropical nature inhabit.
These waters have abundant Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Snapper, Trout, and Bonefish. So anglers come to these flats and shallow waters to have a great fishing experience.
*Our video: Snorkeling the Cannon Beach’s Spanish Wreck, A FloridaKeysXperienceImage on Youtube.
Cannon Beach is the famous beach in one of the two beaches of the park where the remains of an earlier 17th century Spanish shipwreck is sunk at approximately 100 feet offshore.
The camp site at John Pennekamp
The park has one of the best camp sites of the Florida Keys,with capacity for big rigs, RVs, and tents with picnic areas, showers and bathrooms.
What am i missing about the John Pennekamp State Park on this review?Well, remember to follow the rules of the park while you are having a good time here.Keep yourself informed about the weather, the rain could ruin your day…and i will see you around the Florida Keys any time soon!
John D Pennekamp
Miami Herald newspaper editor, daily columnist and passionate conservationist, he leaded the campaign in the struggle to save and establish the Everglades as a National Park in 1947. The 75 mile coral reef offshore underwater park in Key Largo was named after him.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in January of 1897 and died in 1978.
Big Pine Key is a razor larger area when compared to the rest of the Keys in the area.
The speed limit is strictly enforced by the law in these roads because this is the home of an endangered animal species…the famous Key Deer of Big Pine Key!
Big Pine and the Lower Keys covers the area from the southern end of the seven miles bridge, pass Marathon, Sunshine Key, Bahia Honda Key and Spanish Harbor Key. It’s a group of islands that extends all the way to Stock Island, a short distance from Key West.
Eco-tourism is the main attraction of this town.Animal species like the Key Deer (600 to 800 roams these areas) and the Great White Heron(a variety of bird having long plumes during breeding season and long legs, also known as the White Egret)You can see other wild life, alligators, turtles and other species at the Blue Hole, one famous place at Big Pine Key.Looe Key Reef is located seven miles of shore and is considered one of the most beautiful reefs on the Florida Keys.
Exclusive world known resorts like the Little Pine Island, know for the good food, the environment and quietness…a perfect get away!
The fishing is excellent at the Lower Keys, snapper and tarpon are abundant here. Diving, kayaking, canoeing, boating and nature trail hiking are the other activities of preference at the Lower Keys.
The beaches at Bahia Honda are good beaches with beautiful scenarios and plenty of space for privacy.
As you can see in the Big Pine Key map is a large group of island and many have to be reach by boat, taking your time to plan your trip here will save you time later.
The Big Pine Key visitor’s center will give you all the information that you might need.
At 31281 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, Fl. 33040. (305) 872-7447. Or (866) 539-7386.
There are some interesting ghost stories and alleged haunted places in Key West! Every picturesque, charming small size town that I know has surprising stories of spirits and apparitions, as well as legends and popular stories. Key West is not an exception!
A tourist vacation destination with a few stories about spectral spirits apparitions it’s practically a double treat, and this does not mean that Key West is a spooky rotten village with zombies and evil spirits on the prowl!
You can be confident, sheer full and spooked at the same time while snooping around Key West historic landmarks and ghost venues, after all not all ghosts are hostile or out to hurt, and some are said to bring good luck to the fortunate who came across. You can take the Key West Ghost Tours across the town and get to see the beauty of this picturesque historical settlement while going ghost hunting.
Our tour of spooky Key West will begin at a place that has a great ghost story and that possibly inspired the famous Hollywood’s movie “Chucky the Evil Doll”.
The East Martello Museum & Gallery and Robert the Doll
This place is the East Martello Museum, designed after the Martello Towers of Italy and built during the Civil War, as a fort for a military project, its construction was never finish and now is considered one of the U.S National Historic Places.
The ghost story at the East Martello Museum spins around “Robert the Doll”. A life size doll given to Robert Eugene in 1904 as a present by one of the family house servants when Robert was a child. “Gene” named the doll Robert after himself.
The story goes that Robert Gene being a bad tempered person had somehow influenced the doll that after some time became a virtual image of its owner, becoming possessed by evil spirits.Robert Gene became an artist during his adult age and the doll remained with him until his death and now is on exhibit at the East Martello Museum.The doll reportedly had been able to frustrate the intent of photographers on taking his pictures at times and do other mysterious things at the museum.East Martello Gallery-Art and Historical Museum. 3501 South Roosevelt Blvd 305 293 3913. (next to the Key West airport) It also displays the work of artists Mario Sanchez and Stanley Papio.
Hemingway’s Home and Museum
According to the accounts of some locals and visitors the ghost of the famous American author Ernest Hemingway had been appearing occasionally at his mansion in Key West! Hemingway lived and spend time in this house during the earlier 1930’s, traveling abroad and back to Key West many times specially during the winters.
But Hemingway did not died in his Key West mansion, hi did died of a self inflicted gun shot to his head in 1961 in Ketchum, Idaho. Hemingway was suffering from serious mental and physical deterioration during his last days.
The house is now a museum kept and preserved just in the same way that it was when Hemingway was alive and is open to the public daily.
The house had been so well kept and maintained that it gives the sensation that the writer is among us till this years!
His ghost had reportedly been spotted at various areas of the house and the sounds of his typewriter had been heard.
Hemingway’s House & Museum, 907 White Head Street. 9:00am-5:00pm. 305 294 1134. (White Head street is a free parking zone!)
The Key West Hard Rock Cafe
The Key West Hard Rock Cafe. The house where the Hard Rock Cafe is now was built by the Florida’s “first millionaire” William Curry as a gift to his son Robert for his wedding.
Robert had been a poor health person throughout his life, and after inheriting his family’s fortune he was unable to continue with the business oriented family tradition of his father.
Robert committed suicide after losing his family fortune, suffering from strong depression and being emotionally disturbed.
Robert’s ghost had been seen by guests and employees at the Hard Rock Cafe, mysteriously vanishing into thin air and leaving an eerie feeling on those who witness his appearance.
Captain Tony’s Saloon
“Florida’s first bar”, Captain Tony’s Saloon was the Key West morgue during the times of the pirates, wreckers and the first adventurers that came here. And later became the first Sloppy Joe’s Bar and one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hangouts.
During those wild and turbulent times the building was used as the local morgue of the island, and not only that. The tree where murderers, pirates and criminals were hung during executions is right besides the building. The corpses were then kept in the morgue until burial. These are probably the reasons for the Captain Tony’s ghost stories.
Frequent apparitions of the ghosts of the executed had been reported at Captains Tony’ Saloon for many years now!
Fort Zachary Taylor
It is known that many people died at Fort Zachary Taylor over the years, some were executed, others died of the Yellow Fever and other causes, back in the times when the fort was inhabited and used by the military.
The legendary fort had an important role during the American Civil War in 1861, occupied by the Union soldiers under the command of Captain John Milton Brannan, who fought against the Confederacy Army until the end of the war.
Later during Spanish-American War of 1890 the fort became an important army base and played a role on the war. The fort was used by the Army until 1948, being turned over to the U.S. Navy. Now the fort is Historic landmark and a big tourist attraction in Key West.
The apparitions and unexplained occurrences at the fort range from ghosts encounters (the ghost of a young girl with burns over her body had been spotted near the area where the fort’s hospital was) to unexplained cold spots during the summer months at tropical Key West, and ghostly voices heard at times by visitors to the fort.
The fort had been the subjects of studies by paranormal experts, ghost hunters and even Haitian Voodoo practitioners!
Fort Zachary Taylor, 601 Howard England Way. 305 292 6713. (The beach behind the fort is one of Key West most visited beaches and you could visit the fort while at the beach.)
The Audubon House and Gardens
The house was built in the 1800’s by harbor pilot, expert navigator, suspected pirate and successful master wrecker Captain John Geiger who lived in the house with his Bahamian wife Lucretia and had twelve children.
After his dead in 1885 the house was passed down to other members of his family until the last member Captain Willie Smith who passed away in 1956.
Later the house was renamed after the French American ornithologist, naturalist and painter John James Audubon, who visited Key West in 1832. It’s believed that some of the famous of Audubon’s drawings of American birds were made in the house gardens.
The Audubon House Museum and Tropical Gardens was restored establish as it is now in 1960 by Colonel Mitchell Wolfson and his wife Frances.
The ghost story at the Audubon House has to do with the many apparitions of Captain John Geiger at the second story landing gazing at the waters of the Key West channel searching for ships that could be in danger of wrecking.
The Audubon House and Gardens are open to the public and shows the work of John James Audubon, antique furnishing, and the tropical gardens and foliage.
Audubon House and Gardens, 205 White Head Street. 305 294 2116.
Key West Cemetery
Other famous haunted place for spooky ghost stories is the town’s Cemetery, a place where reported apparitions of ghosts approaching the visitors are frequent, especially the ghost of a Bahamian woman who materializes to the visitors who does not show respect towards the dead or miss behaves at the cemetery.
Banyan Resort and Guest House
The ghost of Captain Cosgrove had been appearing around the house where he lived until his dead. While the ghost of a little girl had been stealing the resort’s guests and housekeeper’s chocolates.
Banyan Resort and Guest House, 323 White Head Street. 305 296 7786.
The Crown Plaza La Concha Hotel
The tales about haunted hotels are popular and some had inspired movies and books, and the Crown Plaza of Key West is among those.
According to some of Key West paranormal experts the seven story hotel had been the scene of some suicides; people jumping from the rooftop observation deck to the street to end their lives.
One of the hotels employees accidentally lost his life due to an elevator malfunction falling to his dead from the fifth floor down into the elevator shaft.
Hotels guess had reported seeing and heard this young man falling through the elevator shaft many times after his dead.
Key West Ghost Tours
Key West Ghost Tours. 423 Duval Street, 305 294 9255. Departing from the Haunted Gift Shop at La Concha Hotel on Duval & Fleming Streets.(This tour takes you to all of the places where these ghost stories take place)
Our very personal judgment to the Key West Ghost Stories
We don’t know exactly the reason why the ghosts of Key West are here, or why are they refusing to leave this charming little town.
I had a hard time believing on any of these carried on by the locals “Key West Ghost Stories” “seeing is believing” but been around Key West for so long I confess to have acquire a fascination for the unexplained!
When this happens these paranormal phenomenons and ghost stories becomes part of our Florida Keys Experience.
The Florida Keys lobster season is much awaited here since lobster is such a favored and popular seafood item. Then a multitude of divers show up at the scene to catch the precious crustacean.
The Caribbean spiny lobster, bugs or the Florida spiny lobster lives and reproduce to large quantities on the coral reefs and mangroves of the Florida Keys and the Florida Bay shallow rocky coastal waters.
Their bodies are covered by spines, reason why called “spiny lobster”, and locals call them “bugs”, they are of a color brown, olive green or mahogany with yellow spots on the carapace. Contrary to the other species of lobsters they have no claws and the pair of frontal antennae are longer than their bodies.
The lobster season in Florida
The regular Florida commercial lobster season runs from the 6 of August until the 31 of March, but is a special open sport mini season during the last consecutive Wednesdays and Thursdays of July, just before the regular season begins on August, when divers can catch lobsters with gloved hands by teasing them out of their holes in the rock or reefs with a stick. *It’ s not permitted to spear the lobster.
Caution: Be careful whenhand catching lobsters from holes,there are other living organisms and critters living here, like the fire coral, lionfish, stingrays and moray eels.
Use diver-down flags and floats to warn boaters that the area it’s being used by divers.
Lobster catching methods
To catch a lobster is tricky sometimes due to their natural behavior. Usually the lobster travels forward by walking slowly but when is scared it will flex the tail and spring backwards at high speed getting away from danger.
A good method to use for catching lobster once you have located one under a rock or a hole it’s to use the stick to tab the lobsters tail, antennae or the sides gently causing the lobster to move forward making possible its capture. If the lobster does not move forward you can try forcing the lobster gently out with the stick. Make sure not to do jerky movements that would scare the lobster.
Using a net is another option that works well. As the lobster moves forward after being tickled on the tail with the stick just please the net behind the lobster and tap its forehead and as the lobster spring back into the net gets caught, or simply trap the lobster between the net and the bottom of the ocean floor.
The other popular method for catching the spiny lobster is using the snare. The snare is a device comprised of a hallow metal rod with a rope that forms a noose at one end.Get the nose around the lobster far enough (all the way around the lobster legs) and then tighten the nose by pulling the rope.Either method requires some practice before you’ll become a “champ lobster trapper”.
Steps to prepare for lobster season
Dig into the laws on the Florida Keys lobster season regulations.
Get your Florida saltwater fishing license, together with the craw-fish stamp.
Purchase a lobster snare, tickle stick, lobster bag (the best bags are with the round plastic top) diving or snorkeling gear, gloves and measuring tool.
Come to the Florida Keys during the lobster season and dive for the lobster!
The other methods for catching lobster
The commercial fishing method uses lobster traps baited with dead fish.
*Do not try to get the lobsters out of any trap if you find any traps around with lobsters inside while diving, they belong to some fisherman and could be trouble, keep hands off their prize!
*Spear fishing is not permitted in Florida, but is done in the Bahamas and other areas of the Caribbean.
The lobster likes to hide under the coral and rocks so if not looking carefully you might think that is nothing there and leave the spot, but a careful inspection would reveal the hiding lobsters, often you would see the lobster’s antennas but sometimes don’t. Use a flash light to search into the cavities.
Check into small patch reefs encircled by turtle grass, caves and wrecks, their favorite place to hunt. Also look where swarms of fish are present, the lobster some times is where fish is abundant. Shallow waters not more that 10′- 15′ deep.
Some areas of shallow water next and around to the Florida Keys bridges are great places to fish for lobster but to many groups of hunters go to these more well known areas, then you might need to go out to find good spots.
*Be aware of the strong currents around he bridges and channels for safety.
Tip.-Some good spots for lobstering here are in the Meddle Florida Keys-west of the Seven Mile Bridge-Gulf Bay side-Duck Key-Long Key-Conch Key and Lower Matecumbe but don’t expect to find a secret spot out of a deserted island, chances are that you’ll run into other groups of enthusiastic lobster hunters.
*Check for local zoning regulations and get information from local dive shops and marinas about where these locations are.
The legal size and how to measure a lobster
We have to make sure that the lobster is of legal size ” keeper bug” before pulling it out of the water. For this reason we have to use the gauge or lobster measuring tool. If a lobster is too small or producing eggs you should release it into the water.
The lobster have to be measure immediately after caught before being taken out of the water.There are places where you can learn how to measure lobster during the Florida Keys lobster season once you are here.The lobster should measure (3 inches minimum from the edge between the horns on its head to the rear edge of the carapace).
It will probably take a few try outs and practice before you’ll become a proficient lobster hunter but with time it will get better
There is a legal limit on the amount of lobsters caught per person depending on where you are hunting (limit of 6 to 12 lobsters per person on one day) in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park is 6 lobsters per day while anywhere else in Florida are 6 per day throughout the regular season and 12 during the mini season.
Some other rules and prohibitions apply when it comes to catching lobsters in the Florida Keys. In some areas lobstering it’s prohibited, the Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs), Cardsound Lobster Sanctuary, Biscayne Bay and on many of the coral reefs (patch reef) areas.
Florida Keys lobster season regulations from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Search for Florida recreational lobster season regulations”
Preparing and cooking lobsters
First you have to clean the lobster, just holding the tail with one hand and the body with the other and twisting will separate the body from the tail. Wash the tail with water to clean well.
Next remove the waste track in a similar way that when de-veining shrimp. And rinse the tail with water once more.Storing the tails in the refrigerator will keep the tails fresh for two days but if you want to keep them longer and fresh you have to wrap them on film and freeze them immediately after the cleaning.There are different methods for cooking lobster (steaming, broiling, beaked, grilling, or BBQ)
My advice is to get a good recipe book and try different methods until you find the one of your preference.
This is a basic and easy method to prepare the lobster tails.”Grilled”
2 to 3 / 8 oz. to 10 oz. lobster tails.
4 table spoons of butter.
1 garlic clove.
salt & pepper.
*increase the amount of ingredients if more than 3 lobster tails.
If the tails had been frozen place them in a plastic bag and submerge in warm water.
Prepare the marinate sauce by first melting the butter in a dish or pan, mince the garlic and added to the butter along with one table spoon of lemon juice and stir well.
Cut the tails in a half, length wise. *first you lay the tail on a cutting board with the underside of the lobster tail side up ( shell side down) with a large sharp knife cut pressing down until both halts are separated. *You can use scissors to finish cutting the shell. Baste the flesh side of the tail with with the marinate sauce. *Use a brush.
Preparation of the grill.
* Clean and oil the grill bars to prevent sticking.
* If using charcoal spread the coils to get an even heat.
* If using a gas grill turn to medium-high.
Before grilling the tails baste them once again with the sauce, add some crumbs of salt and pepper, place the tails fleshy side down on the grill 4-5 minutes, turn them shell side down and baste them with the marinate sauce during the next 4-6 minutes until the meat is firm.
The large diversity of fish species that lives in the waters of the Straits of Florida, around the Florida Keys is the reason why these islands are regarded as an “Anglers Paradise” and Islamorada was nick named the “Fishing Capital of the World” by the International Game Fishing Association.
The big fish?..The open sea fish of the deep waters that also lives near the surface, big size predator fish that occasionally swims inshore to hunt for the smaller fish. These are scientifically known as “Pelagic Fish”, these species of fish are the pride of the big league anglers, even though that any type of fish, an just about any catch that you can think of in this waters requires some degree of effort, patience and perseverance on the side of the angler.
But when you set ashore and your catch is a big marlin that raises eye brows because of its large size, and they see that almost does not fit inside of the fishing boat, everyone and just about everyone has to say..WOW! You’re a champ!
These are the gigantic tropical waters big game fish with the elongated and very dangerous spear like long pointed bills, beaks, rostrums, snout or jaws, (normally used to sting pray) and the big dorsal fins. The billfish often reaches the 1500 pounds (800) kilograms of weight and a size of over 12.5″, (4 meters) in length.The billfish is a predatory fish that feeds in smaller fish, and crustaceans, it’s highly migratory, this means that you can find them in any ocean but they usually inhabits in the tropical waters, that’s why it’s so abundant in our coastal waters and around the Caribbean and the Gulf.The billfish’s spear, or beak is like a sword that the fish uses to stung and slash its prey (normally schooling fish) or to defend against sharks but in some occasions they have might be accidentally pierced boats and some fishermen when they were trying to pull in a hooked billfish.
The most common billfish in our waters.
Blue Marlin. Black Marlin. Striped marlin. White Marlin.
Swordfish. Longbill Spearfish. Sailfish.
The other fish species in our waters
We have hundreds of fish species in these subtropical waters at the edge of the Gulf Stream, the Straits of Florida and the Atlantic Coast, and looking into this groups of fish we find those that inhabits in the deeper waters and that for this reason are also considered pelagic fishas the big billfish mentioned above, some area popular catches as the tasty Mahi-Mahi (commonly known as dolphin) The Blackfin, Bluefin & Yellowfin Tunas, the Wahoo, King Mackerel and Bonito.
The fish of the coral reefs
The Great Florida Coral Reef Barrierprovides of a great habitat and environment for many more species of game fish and some of the most popular table catches in the country…like the Red Snapper, Mutton Snapper, Yellow Tail Snapper, Silk Snapper and the rest of the Snapper family, also the sea bases, groupers, barracudas, and sharks.Coral Reefs patches form a complex and diverse echo system that supplies food and shelter for a large number of fish and marine life that feeds and reproduce fast here.
The fish species of the shallows and flats
Other popular fishing grounds in the Florida Keys are the flats, shallows, inlets, under bridges, in shores, mangroves and back country areas of the Florida Bay, the Keys and Everglades. Sea Trout, Cobia, Snook, Tarpon, Jackcravelle, Flounder, Permit, Mangrove Snapper, Cubera Snapper, Sheephead, these are some of the coastal fish species that lives near the coast lines in our subtropical waters.
Even thought that no significant shortage of fish had been felt throughout the Florida Key’s fish infected waters, regulations and laws regarding commercial and sport fishing had to be set by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission “Salt Water Fishing Regulations” to protect our echo system from the largest predator ever known “Man and modern society”
It’s not so hard to find a campground in the Florida Keys as you might think!
I built this guide to the Florida Keys campgrounds and RV resorts with the intention of helping you find the right one, so, you and your family would have the best of times while camping here. I also have used the most recent information available to me.
Key Largo campgrounds and RV parks.
Rock Harbor Marina. (gorgeous oceanfront RV sites, near diving & snorkeling in the John Pennekamp Reefs) Ph (305) 852-2025 MM 97.5 Oceanside. Key Largo. Fl.
Calusa Campground Resort & Marina. (it’s pet friendly, located near the John Pennekamp Coral Reefs, good for boating, fishing, tennis, basketball & biking) Ph.-(305) 451-0232 325 Calusa St Kay Largo, Fl.
Kings Kamp (located on the open waters of Florida Bay, has access to marina, good for vehicles up to 40′ long and also with motel rooms for guests) Ph (305)-451-0010 103620 Overseas Hwy. Key Largo, Fl.
Key Largo Campground & Marina. (on 40 acres of palm trees and tropical vegetation, 24 hour security gate, bath houses, store and laundry, located near a Publix supermarket, fitness center, fishing, scuba diving and more) Ph (305)-451-1431 101551 Overseas Hwy Key Largo, Fl.
Rip Tide RV Park (After Key Largo before getting to Islamorada, on US-1,)(boat launch & dock, small private beach for snorkeling or swimming, free cable TV and Wi-Fi. ) Ph (305) 852 8481 97584 Overseas MM-97.5 Tavernier, Fl.
John Pennekamp State Park. (Snorkeling, scuba, kayaking, fishing, picnicking, glass bottom boats, beaches, swimming, tent camping and RV park, near supermarkets and shopping centers in the heart of Key Largo) Key Largo, Fl. Ph 1 800-326-3521 (305)451-6300 (305)451-1202
The Florida Keys campgrounds and RV parks of Islamorada.
Long Key State Park & Campground. (60 campsites oceanfront with picnic table, ground grill, water and electricity, pet friendly, good for canoe and kayaking, maximum RV size of 45′,) Ph (305) 664-4815 (800) 326-3521 (8 am to 8 pm) or TDD (888) 433-0287 67400 Overseas Hwy Long Key
Sea Breeze RV & Mobile Home Park: (traditional trailer park with bohemian unique Keys style, at MM 87.5 zone of Plantation Key, with boat dock, boat ramp, fish cleaning facility, ocean view picnic tables, pool with large chairs, easy kayak lounge, pet friendly.) Ph (305) 852-3358 87425 Old Highway Islamorada
The Florida Keys campgrounds of Marathon Key.
Grassy Key RV Park & Resort. (305) 289-1606 Email.-firstname.lastname@example.org 58671 Overseas Hwy Marathon Key (this is a waterfront, recently renovated and designed for big rigs, with pool, dockage, WIFI, clubhouse, laundry and great views of the Gulf of Mexico.)
Curry Hammock State Park. (305) 289-2690 56200 Overseas Hwy Marathon Key (is 28 site campground with solar powered hot showers, most sites have gravel parking area and next a sandy area for a tent, with a few exceptions. Tents can be place on any site but the ones with the sandy area are preferred. Each comes with picnic table charcoal grill, water and electrical service, kayaking, canoes, bicycling trails and pets welcome with some restrictions. The maximum RV length is 70′)
Jolly Roger Travel Park. (305) 289-0404 or 1-800-995-1525 Fax 289-7204 Email: email@example.com 59275 Overseas Hwy Marathon Key, Fl. (full hookup water front and water view sites, excellent for fishing, kayaking or snorkeling)
Bahia Honda State Park & Beaches. 36850 Overseas Hwy. Big Pine Key, Fl. 305-872-3210. (Voted the best beach in North America in 1992, Bahia Honda has kept its reputation as an excellent camper’s destination. Boat ramps, boat tours, canoeing & kayaking, nearby scuba diving and snorkeling sites, shopping center & restaurants: camp fires, cabin rentals, picnic pavilion and three camping areas to choose from)
The Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina(800) 852-0348. 38801 Overseas Hwy. Big Pine Key, Fl.(This private island resort, ocean side with a tropical island environment has everything we might need for the best time there. Near marina, snorkeling & scuba diving charters, gulf, and other resort style activities. Rental cottages-you need to call first to ensure availability)
Mastic Trailer Park. (305) 294-0903. 646 United St # 5. Key West, Fl.
Dry Tortugas National Park. At 70 miles from Key West lies this island, the perfect tent camping get away for those who want to go a little farther from civilization. Fort Jefferson is a historic site and this is one of the most spectacular national parks in the U.S. To get there on your own boat or aboard of the super catamaran “Yankee Freedom” departing from Key West. For more information an reservations try: www.yankeefreedom.com/national-park-day-trips or call 1 800 634 0939.
Try making reservations in advance on any of the Florida Keys campgrounds mention above, they get occupied fast during the in season months, from October till April and easier to get from May till October on the off season.
The rates are also lower during the off season and tend to go higher from October till April every year.
But when it comes to quality, and comfort the Florida Keys campgrounds mention on this page have good reviews.
So have your camping experience with us at the Florida Keys!
Tourism makes to world go around, as we go around the world touring!
Which of these Florida Keys tourist attractions might be the best for you and your family on your vacation?…A good question this one! It all depends on your interest, needs, budget, time available, and a few other factors.
I have taken the time on taking note of some of the best attractions here, as well as the most popular destinations of this vast territory, so perhaps you might like to stop by and check them out during your journey.
Key Largo Attractions
We could start our list of places to visit and attractions with “Key Largo” Why? Because this is the first of the Florida Keys that we arrive to when driving south from Miami into the Keys and Miami is a big point of destination from abroad with the largest International Airport in South Florida.
Key Largo, “the first of the Florida Keys”… is home of some very interesting spots.
The John Pennekamp Coral Reef, State Park and National Marine Sanctuary. Great for snorkeling and scuba diving tours to the coral reefs, kayaking, camping, picnic, fishing, boat tours & beach time.
Explore and dive at the underwater statue of “Christ of the Deep “and other dive sites including ship wrecks. Diving in Key Largo.
The Dolphin Cove.Swim with dolphins.
The Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. Walking trails and wild life viewing.
The Jacobs Aquatic Center, children Aquatic playground & the Key Largo Community Park. The children play ground and the baseball field are located next to the Aquatic Center.
The Key Largo Resorts Marina. For scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing charters and to see the famous African Queen. All this is located next to the Courtyard Marriott And the Holiday Inn Hotels.
The Pilot House Restaurant and Marina. Best food and bars.
The Pelican Cay Harbor Marina, RV park, campground and marina.
Key Largo is a great destination for divers, eco-tourists, boaters, anglers *fishing, kayakers and campers, and also has exceptionally good restaurants, bars, hotels and resorts.
What’s in Tavernier?
Tavernier, that is, not too far (a few miles south of Key Largo) has two almost hidden from the public but interesting tourist attractions that we could consider.
The Harry Harris Park and Beach. It’s a family oriented beach and a children playground.
The Florida Keys Bird Center. It’s a rescue and rehabilitation center for injured birds and also a bird exhibit.
Islamorada’s best spots
Islamorada being the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World“… has a lot to offer to the anglers, besides a few other things.
The Theatre of the Sea. Dolphins, birds, and sea lions shows, plus regional wild life exhibits.
The San Pedro Underwater Archeological Preserve. It’s a Submerged ship wreck, great for diving, snorkeling, kayaking and a boating.
Long Key State Park. Nice for camping on the shore line, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and kitesurfing.
Some great underwater ship wrecks and coral reefs diving sites.
The Bay Side Marina and The World Wide Sportsman Center. This marina offers fishing trips, kayaks rentals, nearby restaurants, and the Sportsman Shopping Center attracts a crowd.
Visit the History of Diving Museum. Learn about the history and evolution of diving.
Great island style cuisine it’s served in the restaurants of Islamorada. Boutiques and galleries are the attraction of shoppers and visitors. The Village of Islamorada are a favorite romantic spot for couples on their honeymoon. Or go fishing with the bests! Since the fishing tournaments and events in Islamorada are some of the hottest fishing tournaments in the entire world.
What’s in Marathon Key?
I’ve enjoy being here for the Marathon Seafood Festival. It’s the Florida Keys seafood, the art, the music, and other entertainment in March of each year.
Sombrero and Coco Plum beaches. These family oriented beaches are really good for sun bathing, relaxing and walking your dog.
The Crane Point Museum of Nature Trails. The best place to learn about the Florida Keys wild life, nature and some history.
The Marathon’s Wild Bird Center. The Center it’s located inside of the perimeters of the Crane Point Center, and is a wild bird sanctuary.
Wheels-2-Go Kayak & Bike Rentals. The best place to rent a kayak, jet ski, boat or bike to go around Marathon.
The City Marina. Marathon City Marina offers boat slips, fuel, and other services for boat owner as well as an RV park resort nearby for big rigs, restaurants, fitness center, pool, store and other things.
The Historic Pigeon Key and the Pigeon Key Art Festival. In Pigeon Key Henry Flagler set camp during the construction of the railroad bridge in 1908. The bridges and railroad tracks from the Florida main land to Key West, Pigeon Key at the present time is under the care of the Pigeon Key Foundation, and it’s considered a Florida Keys historic site.
And finally since one of the most obvious of the Florida Keys tourist attractions are the seductive views that we encounter during our journey through these tropical latitudes, I will mention the area at the beginning of the seven mile bridge, by the new bridge and the old bridge, as we are leaving Marathon, traveling south US 1-the scenic highway.
Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys.
In Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys we have a hand full of attractive locations for the naturalists, campers,and nature seekers.
Let’s mention the most significant here!
The Bahia Honda State Park and Beaches. It’s a Florida State Park with beaches, camp sites, boat ramps, kayaking, near diving sites, in a nice natural environment with great views.
The Blue Hole and other eco tourist’s attractions. Mainly because Big Pine Key is an eco-tourist oriented town.
The Winn Dixie Shopping Plaza’s stores and boutiques. Pay a visit to the Big Pine Key’s National Key Deer’s Refuge and Visitors Center located in this plaza to get information regarding anything related to the area.
National Key Deer Refuge. It’s all around the Big Pine Key’s and Lower Keys areas, see the key deer everywhere, at dusk or down every day, around the neighborhoods, on the roads, and fronts and back yards.
Annual Underwater Music Festival. Underwater Music Festival? It’s a wacky event that takes place on July of every year where musicians play music underwater wearing scuba gear and play unusual instruments.
Eco-tourism is one of the leading Florida Keys tourist attractions now and the Lower Keys have these essential elements.
And finally Key West.
Many city attractions in Key West, the city by it self its been a big tourist attraction for a long time.
Duval Street and the Mallory Square It’s the main street and place where most of the action is, the bars and clubs, the restaurants, the museums, and the other streets around the area too.
Arts & Festivals.The Key West local art exhibits, and the festivities and celebrations that take place during the year on this busy town.
Museums and Places of Interests. The city has a great variety of museums, historic sites and places to visit during your visit, it would be impossible to see it all on one day.
Art Galleries and Photography exhibits. The art galleries are mainly in the Old Town area, on Duval, Simonton, and Whitehead streets or around The Sea Port.
Key West Harbor. The Key West Harbor is allawys buzzing with activities and is next to the Old Town.
Shopping. Go shopping if you like for whatever you want, souvenirs, tropical clothing, art, and anything you can imagine.
Restaurants & Bars.( Florida Keys and worldwide cuisine and the bars where Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Boffett, Truman Capote, Harry Truman, and other famous spend time while in Key West)
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and Beach.The presence of the US Army was felt in Key West with the construction on this fort. Key West History.
Street city artists and other attractions.
As you can see Key West or the Conch Republic as the town locals name is one of the Florida Keys tourist attractions all by itself, you would need some time to get the whole picture of the city’s glamor but any time here is a escape from the every day routine.
Use this Map of the Marathon’s group of islands when driving around, and like in any other part of the Florida Keys. Almost every major road will lead you back to US 1 (Scenic Highway) but sometimes you might need to find places of interest or other locations.
Be cautious when driving over the bridges, some areas have only two lines of traffic gone on opposite directions. Speed limits and road signals are very important here and enforced by the law, and have a safe trip through the Fabulous Florida Keys!
The Islands of Marathon are located right at the center of the Florida Keys, half way in between the Florida’s main land and Key West.
At the heart of the Florida Keys is this unique group of islands where you’ll find interesting places like Pigeon Key for example, the tiny island where Henry Flagler planted his base camp during the construction of the overseas railroad and bridges that connected these islands.
Other places of interest for visitors are The Crane Point Museum and Nature center where you learn a great deal about the history and the nature of these islands in general.
The Dolphin Research Center is a good place to learn about dolphins and it offers shows, training, and care…a favorite place for children.
One of the two airports on the Florida Keys is in Marathon. They offer helicopter and private charters plane rides around the Keys, car rentals, and flights to, or from other cities and the Caribbean..
Marathon is a good destination because is located in the mid-point of the Florida Keys, so getting to any destination here is faster flying directly.
Some of the best restaurants I know are in Marathon, a variety of different foods are prepared by the chefs, being the seafood the one specialty that cannot be ignored. All fresh out of the big blue Straits of Florida!