Upper Florida Keys sunset
  • Visitors can discover the unparalleled land-and-water environment of the Florida Keys, and become inspired to protect it, during "unplugged" visits to the island chain. (Photo by Bob Krist, Florida Keys News Bureau)

     

  • By: Laura Myers
  • May 1, 2019

It’s easy to “unplug” in the Florida Keys & Key West. But a visit to the Keys is also a memorable experience for travelers seeking to “Connect & Protect” with the matchless and precious environment — the southernmost islands in the continental United States.

Connect & Protect Florida KeysHere are four earth-friendly options and activities to consider for an upcoming trip to the Keys.

RENT AN ELECTRIC CAR. If you’re driving an electric vehicle, you might be surprised to discover that charging stations can be found throughout the 125-mile-long island chain. They’re positioned in various locations along the Florida Keys Overseas Highway as part of Tesla Motors’ Destination Charging program, created for convenient travel in an electric vehicle.

(FYI, routes can be found at tesla.com/destination-charging or by downloading the free PlugShare app through plugshare.com).

So where can you charge your car? In Key Largo, Bungalows Key Largo and Tradewinds Key Largo Plaza have charging facilities. In Islamorada, they’re located at Casa Morada hotel, Cheeca Lodge & Spa, Marker 88 restaurant and Pierre’s Restaurant & Lounge.

In Marathon, you’ll find charging stations at Florida Keys Marathon International Airport and at Hyatt Place’s Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club.

4ocean environmental bracelet

Eco-conscious shoppers can support the removal of one pound of trash from the ocean and coastal areas with the purchase of a signature blue 4ocean bracelet.

In Key West, they’re handily located at resorts and inns including 24 North Hotel Key West, Hilton Garden Inn Key West, Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa, Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina, Ocean Key Resort & Spa, Orchid Key Inn, Pier House Resort & Spa, Silver Palms Inn, the Conch House Heritage Inn, the Gardens Hotel, the Gates Hotel, the Marker Key West and the Mermaid & The Alligator.

BUY ENVIRONMENTAL JEWELRY. Looking for a meaningful take-home souvenir or inexpensive gift? Consider colorful accent jewelry that supports the destination’s environment.

For example, you can support the removal of one pound of trash from the ocean and coastal areas with the purchase of a signature blue 4ocean bracelet. These sea-friendly pieces are made from recycled materials and typically priced from $20 each.

Coral-colored bracelets support the Key Largo-based Coral Restoration Foundation and its efforts to grow and replant endangered coral species throughout the world. Other colored bracelets support research and conservation of sea turtles, manatees, sharks and more.

Nearly 20 outlets in the Keys currently carry the worthwhile bracelets — including dive centers, retail jewelry and clothing shops, watersports operators, attractions, restaurants and resorts. To find out more, visit 4ocean.com.

DISCOVER A WAKEBOARD CABLE PARK. Want to learn how to wakeboard? In the Middle Keys, OTHErside Adventure Park & Keys Cable on Grassy Key is the Keys’ only venue where you can learn with the assistance of cables on a wakeboard lake, outfitted with a double-sided ramp.

OTHErside Adventure Park and Keys Cable botanical garden

As well as learning to wakeboard, visitors to OTHErside Adventure Park & Keys Cable can view an appealing botanical garden.

Other activities at the facility include lessons in kiteboarding, wake skating, stand-up paddle boarding and foilboarding — a technique modeled after tow-in surfing. The park also has a new upgraded kite boat, outdoor murals and a botanical garden promoting sustainability. Visit KeysCable.com or othersideboardsports.com.

EXPLORE BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK. A new interpretive and historical trolley tour of Bahia Honda State Park, conducted by the Friends of Bahia Honda State Park, runs four times daily at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The park is a 524-acre gem located in the Lower Keys. It’s one of the island chain’s most popular camping and recreation areas with deep near-shore waters for swimming and snorkeling, picnicking areas, watersports, a marina and rental cabins.

The Sandspur Trolley tour begins at the park’s Sand and Sea Nature Center and journeys to nearby Sandspur Beach, scheduled to reopen in 2020 after an extensive restoration. Along the way you’ll learn about the park’s ecosystem and unique history.

Length of the tours is currently contingent on activity of nesting shore birds. Suggested donations of $5 per person go to the Friends of Bahia Honda to be used for park beautification. For details, click here or call the Sand and Sea Nature Center at 305-872-9807.

Interested in other earth-friendly and sustainable activities to enhance your Keys vacation? Just visit fla-keys.com/sustain/, and have an unforgettable getaway.

 

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