With sunny weather and warm temperatures year round, not to mention tranquil, pale blue water as far as the eye can see, Key West is a natural destination for active adventure types. Here are 10 ways you can enjoy an active adventure amidst Key West’s natural beauty.
With the world’s third largest barrier reef just seven miles offshore, snorkeling is the ultimate Key West active adventure. Expect a canyon-like reef in about 20-feet of crystal clear water teeming with subtropical marine life like yellowtail snapper, parrotfish, damselfish and loggerhead sea turtles. Fury Water Adventures departs three times daily to snorkel the reef, in addition to a wealth of combo trips that include snorkeling. This NOAA Blue Star operator has also partnered with Mote Marine Laboratory on intensive reef restoration projects ensuring that the natural beauty of Key West’s coral reefs will be preserved through the ages.
For a more high-octane active adventure, consider a 28-mile Jet Ski tour around the island complete with plenty of time to make waves in open water. These powerful machines zip through the water at top speeds for an adrenaline-pumping experience and an incredible way to see the island and its sights. One of the favorite places to visit on a jet ski tour are the Cold War submarine bunkers. The water is hundreds of feet deep with a dark and murky feel which makes it seem like your floating on an abyss.
See Key West and the aquamarine waters of the Florida Straits from a bird’s eye view from 300-feet in the air strapped to a parasail. It’s less a thrill ride than you might expect and more a simply stunning way to see the island with smooth takeoffs and landings and even a fun dip in a water. This is a must for anyone’s active adventure bucket list.
Go 70 miles offshore
In Key West, you’re already 150-miles from mainland Florida and closer to Cuba than Miami, but did you know you can get even more remote? Schedule a daytrip to Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas National Park 70 miles west of Key West with Yankee Freedom. You’ll traverse unspoiled aqua-green waters and multiple uninhabited mangrove islands on your journey to arrive at stunning Fort Jefferson. Tour this fascinating Civil War fort and snorkel in its crystal clear waters.
For the truly intrepid active adventurer, you can even choose to camp overnight at Dry Tortugas. It takes some advanced planning because there are no food vendors (or fresh water) on the island and its primitive campgrounds. For those up to the challenge, it’s an incredible experience and the stars at night are unreal. Yankee Freedom can assist in arranging your overnight camping adventure and reserve your spot on their fast cat to and from the fort.
Self-guided bike tour
The best way to traverse Key West’s charming historic Old Town is on bicycle. Many guesthouses offer bike rentals and there are various rental companies throughout the island, like Eaton Street Bikes. Grab a map of the island, but plan on getting lost down charming streets lined with pastel conch cottages, bright riots of bougainvillea and tall palm trees swaying in the breeze. There’s so much to discover beyond Duval Street in this island paradise.
Standup (SUP) Paddleboarding
Standup paddleboarding is an active adventure that’s reached a critical mass in the Florida Keys. With Key West’s tranquil, shallow waters and plenty of marine life to discover, standup paddleboarding is an ideal recreational activity and a great core workout that will improve your strength and balance. Head to Hurricane Hole and Lazy Dog Adventures to rent your standup paddleboards, sign up for a guided tour or lessons.
Key West, with both deep sea and flats fishing galore, is a world-renowned paradise for anglers. No matter what kind of day on the water you’re looking for, there’s a fishing guide on the island who can make it happen. Head to Charter Boat Row to inquire about full and half day fishing charters.
Flyboard & Jetpack Adventures
By now you’ve probably seen pictures of people floating above the surface of the water with the help of a flyboard or jetpack, like something out of a Sci-Fi movie. Well, Florida Keys Jetpack can give you the thrill of a lifetime in the Key West Harbor. They’ll strap a flyboard or jetpack onto you with some basic instructions and set you loose to feel like you’re flying.
With Key West’s tangle of mangrove islands, shallow water and fascinating marine life, kayaking is a natural active adventure sport on the island. Go out with Lazy Dog at Hurricane Hole or consider Fury Water Adventure’s Island Adventure that combines snorkeling with a kayaking tour of offshore mangrove islands and plenty of time to chill on a sandbar beach.