The Florida Keys...they are truly as picturesque as one would imagine! I wasn't actually planning on going to the Keys until my buddy, Adam, invited myself and a bunch of his friends to hang out there for his birthday...so I was definitely on board! It was a quick, 2 night trip, but we certainly made the most of it!
We arrived at our Airbnb in Key Largo in the early afternoon, immediately changed into our bathing suits, and went driving to find somewhere to jump in the amazing, turquoise water! The first place Adam wanted to go was Robbie's in Islamorada to feed the tarpons off the dock. If you've ever seen the videos circulating Youtube and Facebook, it's exactly like that! If you do it right, they jump way out of the water and can chomp down on your arm if you're not quick (but they don't have teeth so it won't hurt)! The water around the dock was not only swarming with tarpon, but also annoying pelicans that would steal the bait right out of your hand if you're not alert! Eventually, Lia picked up the pole that was on the dock to keep them away! Here's some shots with our tarpon friends:
Now, it's kind of understandable, but also somewhat surprising that there really is no public beach to swim at or relax on anywhere in the Keys...pretty disappointing, huh? You either have to pay a fee or find somewhere to park on the side of the road and jump in wherever there's an opening! We chose the latter...and it was perfect because we were the only ones there! We swam out about 50 feet to a sand bar, and I got to have a mini couple session with my friends! We actually got to see a good amount of sea life during out short time out there too! A couple of unknown creatures made some splashes around us, a massive crab almost clipped Adam's finger, and a nurse shark was cruising by as well. Here's some photos from that incredible spot:
By the time we made it back from our "off road" stop, we were all pretty hungry, so we found dinner at a place called Sharkey's Pub and Galley Restaurant that had very chill vibes and great food! After filling out stomachs and watching a beautiful sunset, we called it a night to rest up for the next day! It all started with an awesome breakfast at the cutest place called Cafe Moka! Then we arrived at John Pennekamp Coral Reed State Park for our snorkeling tour! They took us to the location where the "Christ of the Deep" statue is, and we were in the water for about an hour. If I'm honest, I wish we saw more of a variety of marine life...I didn't see too much, but maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough! The water, however, was absolutely beautiful, especially looking at it from the top deck of the boat!!! Here's some of our snorkeling trip photos:
By this point in our day, I felt like we did so much already, but it was hardly over! After snorkeling in the beautiful Key Largo water, we showered and changed, and started the drive all the way to Key West! (It is quite a drive, I must say...) Of course, we had to stop to see the "southernmost point of the U.S." buoy like all the tourists do...we, however, did not care to stand in the line to take a picture next to it! We got there just as the Mallory Square festival was starting, where we watched a few different street performers, got a smoothie from one of the vendors, and walked around the area. It didn't last too long though, because we were so hungry! We walked around to see what appealed to us, and we stumbled upon Island Dogs Bar. Honestly, anything at that point would have tasted great, but I had a killer Caribbean burger (they also had great key lime pie!)! All of our spirits were drastically lifted after sitting in some A/C and filling our growling stomachs! We were ready to continue enjoying Mallory Square and watch the amazing sunset! Finally, as it got dark, and as Batman (Adam's dog) became pretty exhausted, we made the drive back to Key Largo.
On a personal note...Key West made me very nostalgic and gave me all the feels! It's where my boyfriend of over 4 years first told me that he loved me. I remember everything we did that evening, including where we were, swinging on a dock, when he let out those perfect words that I couldn't wait to tell him in return!
Alright I'm done...
Overall, it was a very fun trip with really awesome people to enjoy it with! I will say though, I think I've done everything there is to do in the Keys (without owning a boat), and I'd be okay if that was my last time there. I have very fond memories of the Florida Keys, and I can't wait to explore more of the world!