Top 5 Best Ways to Explore Nature in Key West

From the moment you arrive in the Florida Keys, you will be surrounded by the sights, sounds and scent of nature at its most beautiful. First, there’s the turquoise Gulf of Mexico sparkling under the golden sunshine, alongside the vast stretch of white sand beaches.

Dive a little deeper into your Key West vacation, and you will soon discover an even more colorful world of natural beauty with a huge variety of marine wildlife, spectacular coral reefs, aquatic birds, and tropical flowers. Here are the top 5 best ways to explore nature in Key West:

Discover a Wonderful Water Wonderland

Top of the list of natural wonders to discover on your vacation in the Keys is the underwater world surrounding Key West. Choose a dive or snorkel adventure from our watersports packages available at Parrot Key and come face-to-face with tropical fish as you explore the colorful coral. If you’re on vacation in Key West around the August 7 or September 7 full moons, you can experience an underwater phenomenon during a night dive when coral polyps release millions of gametes (eggs and sperm) in synchronized mass-spawning rituals. Join a coral-spawn night dive with a professional dive operator – we can help point you in the right direction.

Spot Dolphins in the Wild

Venture off into the big wide blue in search of a delightful pod of Atlantic bottle nose dolphins in their natural habitat. Sail away on a three-hour cruise which includes dolphin spotting, coral reef snorkeling, and ends with a spectacular sunset as you unwind with an evening drink on your return journey.

Glide Through the Waters

At Parrot Key Hotel & Villas, you can rent a paddle board or kayak and set off right from our dock. Create your own adventure by gliding through the winding mangrove creeks where you can get close to marine life including sea cucumbers, tropical fish, sea stars, crabs and aquatic birds.

Explore Florida Keys’ Native Plants and Animals

Take a journey through the unique world of the Keys’ indigenous plants and animals at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center in Key West. Featuring interactive exhibits and a mock-up of Aquarius, the only underwater ocean laboratory in the world, the center is the go-to place for exploring the extraordinary ecology of Keys’ habitats. Marvel at the mangrove shoreline, look at the Living Reef exhibit, and stop by the center’s theater to watch the excellent short film, “Reflections of the Florida Keys.”

Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center in Key West.  Photo by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

Visit Dry Tortugas National Park

One of the world’s most unique eco-attractions is just a boat trip away from Key West. Take a day out to visit Dry Tortugas National Park, home of the historic Fort Jefferson, and indulge in shallow-water snorkeling as you find majestic coral, colorful fish, queen conchs and so much more. This protected marine sanctuary is easily accessible directly from the white sand beach. The park is also home to migrating birds traveling between South America and the United States, so watch out for ruby-throated hummingbirds and peregrine falcons.

For more information about visiting Key West, click here.

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