Often considered to represent the southernmost tip of the United States, the Florida Keys is famous for its natural beauty and mild climate. Temperatures rarely fall below 70 degrees fahrenheit (20 degrees centigrade) here. Although there was a hurricane in the Keys last year, the area is recovering well and you shouldn’t be worried about visiting in 2018. Spring breakers already flocked to the Keys in March and April. Most of the hotels are back to normal. In fact, many look even better thanks to upgrades during refurbishment. A lot of the tourist attractions have also been improved.
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Do some reading before you jump into online trading feet first, as there are some risks attached. The good news is, there’s nothing stopping you from researching your vacation now, even if you are still saving up the cash. Let’s take a look at some of the top things to see and do in the Florida Keys this year.
It only makes sense to mention the beaches first, as these tend to attract the largest number of tourists. The Lower Keys are normally extremely popular, due to the warmer waters that surround them. The ocean around these islands is noticeably shallow, meaning activities such as scuba diving are possible. Despite being the hardest hit by the hurricane, a handful of prominent Lower Keys beaches have now reopened. Calusa Beach is a favourite, although one portion remains closed for the time being. Key West is also recovering well, where Higgs Beach and Smathers Beach are back to normal for the 2018 summer season.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The waters in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park are protected by law. Therefore, they provide a great place to encounter endangered species, such as sea turtles plus many rare species of coral. In fact, it is said that John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park represents the only living coral reef in the US!
The park suffered some setbacks during the hurricane, but the glass-bottom boat tour is back on a regular schedule for 2018. It takes you through lush mangrove forests and canals to reach the open seas where you can see an array of vibrant fish and coral beneath you. Generally this site is popular with snorkelers and scuba divers, and the good news is that most companies have managed to reopen. You could consider bringing your own equipment to paddle around and swim with the fish here as well.
Dry Tortugas National Park
This large national park is found approximately 70 miles to the west of Key West. Its most prominent feature is a massive fort. Interestingly enough, the park is actually an archipelago consisting of seven islands and it can only be reached by seaplane or boat. The best part is that you are less likely to encounter crowds during your visit. Be sure to schedule reservations in advance in order to secure your spot. While the park is open again, it is wise to be cautious since construction continues on the docks and there may still be hazards in the water.
Turtles in Marathon
Marathon is home to a Turtle Hospital, a not-for-profit centre that looks after sea turtles. The hospital has been busy helping the turtle population to recover following the natural disaster. In particular, hatchlings that were stranded have been brought in. Marathon Turtle Hospital has tours open to the public, and they are really trying to attract visitors in for the summer. Consider supporting them with a trip in 2018 – any proceeds go to helping the rescued turtles.
There is no doubt that many tourists will arrive at the Florida Keys to enjoy a bit of sport fishing too. Marathon is one of the top spots on the east coast of the United States. Although it is always possible to fish from the shore, others instead choose to charter a boat or a yacht. Most companies are in full operation again.
These are just a few examples of the Florida Keys attractions that are back on schedule for 2018. You might also want to check out Theater of the Sea in Islamorada, or wait until the fall so that you can visit a new nature center planned for Big Pine Key. Call ahead or check online if you want to see something specific but you aren’t sure whether it is open.