Attention, crustacean fans: Aug. 6 marks the start of the Florida Keys lobster season. Given their location surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the Keys are a paradise for lovers of fish and seafood. And topping the list of seafood standouts is the native lobster — often called spiny lobster.
The road unrolls like a long gray ribbon, with vast vistas of turquoise water and paler blue sky stretching endlessly on either side. Driving down the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, it’s clear why this roadway is sometimes called the Highway That Goes to Sea — and a “bucket list” drive that everyone should experience.
Kristie Killam’s love of nature is an underlying theme in her life and career. As park ranger for the Florida Keys’ four national wildlife refuges, Kristie oversees the refuges’ Nature Center, opened last fall, and the nonprofit Florida Keys Wildlife Society “friends” group of volunteers and partners. She’s also a skilled nature photographer.
Conservation-minded divers and snorkelers can enjoy a unique underwater concert that supports reef protection Saturday, July 11, in the Florida Keys — home to the continental United States' only living coral barrier reef. The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival takes place at beautiful Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
The wait is over. The Florida Keys & Key West reopened June 1, and are welcoming visitors again after being closed for more than two months because of the global COVID-19 crisis. While Keys businesses are committed to safeguarding visitors’ health, travelers are encouraged to share the responsibility by adopting local health protocols.
Throughout the Florida Keys, businesses ranging from resorts and restaurants to attractions and watersports charters are making final preparations to welcome visitors back beginning Monday, June 1 — embracing enhanced measures to protect all travelers’ health and safety. The Keys have been closed to nonresidents since March 22 because of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
If you’re craving the Florida Keys during this time of widespread COVID-19 travel restrictions, there’s a remedy for that: recreate your favorite Keys memory while staying safe at home, capture it in a mini-video, and submit the video to the island chain’s new Instagram contest. Hashtagged #FLKeysAtHomeChallenge, the competition continues through May 25.
The Florida Keys tourism council has debuted a social media-based “Safer@Home” program — to entertain and inspire during coronavirus-induced stay-at-home sojourns, and provide a virtual connection between the island chain and people who love it. Fans can tune in to the Keys’ Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for unique live-stream content direct from the destination.
While travel and socialization are largely at a standstill nationwide, one aspect of Florida Keys residents’ lives continues to flourish: their creativity. The Keys are home to artisan sandal makers, jewelry designers, producers of island-inspired beers and spirits, beekeepers and confectioners, and people whose passion is ceramics, woodcarving, metalwork, fine crafts and more.
While the Florida Keys are temporarily closed to visitors, the Lower Keys’ miniature Key deer continue to flourish, untroubled by the global coronavirus crisis. The deer have been protected for more than 60 years in the National Key Deer Refuge — thanks partly to an unorthodox lawman who helped save the species from extinction.