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New Florida Keys Eco-Experience Trail Pass Connects Visitors to Natural World

Green Scene
This Green Scene story spotlights an environmentally focused attraction, event, person or place that enriches the Florida Keys

January 2024: Visitors to the Florida Keys can now discover the island chain’s unique eco-attractions and rich natural world by tapping into the free Florida Keys Eco-Experience Trail pass.

The mobile-exclusive digital pass enables users to find and check in at local businesses while exploring the environment and wildlife of the continental United States’ southernmost island chain.  The easy-to-use pass features only-in-the-Keys attractions, sites, and marine adventures, all designed to help visitors connect with the natural surroundings.

Created by the Florida Keys tourism council and technology company Bandwango, the Eco-Experience Trail pass includes nearly 50 geo-tagged, bookable activities that encourage engagement with the Keys’ environment and sustainability initiatives - from wild dolphin watching in Key West aboard Honest Eco’s purpose-built electric boat to going behind the scenes at Plant a Million Corals on Summerland Key. Further activities and offerings are to be added in 2024.

After accessing the pass via fla-keys.com/experience, users can begin exploring state parks and nature tours, wildlife centres and refuges, coral restoration opportunities, eco-adventures and more, from Key Largo to Key West. Also featured are fishing, diving, and snorkelling tours in the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that protects the continental United States’ only living barrier coral reef — many conducted by sanctuary-certified Blue Star operators.

Users can filter experiences by location, activity type or attraction, choosing from kayaking the backcountry waters of the Lower Keys, to uncovering wildlife refuges, or spotting endangered species such as Key Deer, the smallest subspecies of the North American white-tailed deer. Upon checking in at a location on the pass, users also receive points based on the level of the experience. Once a specific number of points is earned, passholders can exchange them for Keys-focused prizes. In addition, some participating businesses provide value-added offerings or incentives.

“The Eco-Experience Trail pass is an easy-to-use, mobile-based ‘passport’ that introduces visitors to the best of the Florida Keys’ natural attractions,” said Rita Irwin, chair of the Keys tourism council. “Once they connect with the island chain’s environment, they can make eco-conscious choices that help protect it.”

Key Largo Snorkelling Credit: Rob O'Neal

Key Largo Snorkelling Credit: Rob O'Neal

This article was updated on February 29, 2024 at 3:14 PM