Monthly Archives: December 2017
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 Resort, 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.”
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.
With your Florida vacation at Parrot Key Resort sparkling on the horizon, we have some of the best insider tips for making the most of your drive along the Overseas Highway to reach Key West. The trip of over 100 miles takes around three hours, however with so much to see along the way, we recommend allowing a whole day to soak up the spectacular scenery of the Sunshine State’s stunning island archipelago. After all, there are some important pit stops to make along the way to sample the delights of freshly-caught seafood and Key lime pie. Call 855-327-7200 to speak with an onsite vacation planner, chat with us or Book Online Now >
Ready, Set… Key Largo!
Once you’ve entered Key Largo, you’re officially in the Florida Keys and the unbroken blue horizons of ocean and sky will stretch out before you. Start your road trip off in style with a leisurely breakfast at some of Key Largo’s most talked about dining spots, including Harriette’s Restaurant (Mile Marker 95.7) which offers a warm and welcoming service, wallet-friendly prices and huge muffins to help keep you refueled until the next stop. Doc’s Diner (Mile Marker 99.6) is another tempting breakfast option, popular among locals for its generous portion sizes including tropical French toast and breakfast burritos.
Next Stop: Islamorada
Continue your drive from Key Largo to Islamorada, which sits between the saltwater wilderness of the Everglades National Park and the deep waters of the Florida Straits. Stop at the Rain Barrel Artisan Village (Mile Marker 86.7) which is impossible to miss with its giant fiberglass lobster standing proudly at the entrance of this fascinating sculpture art gallery. There are individual shops all nestled under a canopy of giant Banyan trees selling a tempting selection of unique homemade gifts including unusual jewelry, pottery and ceramics, so allow enough time for some all-important perusing.
Is your stomach rumbling again? It’s nearing lunchtime after all, and if there’s one place in which to indulge over a memorable lunch in Islamorada, it’s Lorelei (Mile Marker 82). As popular for its daytime menu as its evening sunset celebrations, this restaurant and Cabana bar offers one of the best views of Florida Bay which you’ll no doubt happily soak up over seafood tacos or the “Lorelei’s World Famous Fish Sandwich,” all washed down with a Keys-style frozen drink.
The sparkling ocean is looking calm and the afternoon sun is stretching its rays across a cloudless sky; it’s looking too good outside to hop back into your car, so take some time to unwind on one of Islamorada’s finest beaches. Anne’s Beach (Mile Marker 73) is a perfect stretch of paradise, conveniently located next to the Overseas Highway so you won’t struggle to find it. The beach is an ideal spot for sunbathing, switching off for an afternoon nap, cooling off in the shallows, or just taking in the beautiful ocean views.
Marathon or Bust
Your relaxing lunch will set you up for the next stretch as you cruise down Highway 1 to the Middle Keys which are anchored by Marathon, a 10-mile-long island with a family-friendly reputation and a rich fishing heritage. Take a break from your car and stretch your legs by taking your pick of several attractions in Marathon. First, you will come across the Dolphin Research Center (Mile Marker 59) in Grassy Key where you can interact with dolphins and learn about exciting dolphin research.
Also nearby way is the new Aquarium Encounters (just after Vaca Cut Bridge at Mile Marker 53). Here, you will find an interactive Florida Keys aquarium experience with daily shark feedings, stingray encounters, and the opportunity to swim among fish on the attraction’s coral reef. Or if you prefer an outdoor nature experience, nearby at Mile Marker 50 is Crane Point, a nature center with walking trails through a tropical hardwood grove. Further west is a wildlife lovers’ paradise at the Turtle Hospital which is dedicated to helping injured sea turtles return to the wild (Mile Marker 48.5).
Seven Mile Bridge
The Middle Keys not only signal the halfway mark in your Overseas Highway road trip; it is also the point at which you can stop to capture images of the impressive Seven Mile Bridge soaring over the Gulf of Mexico. Running alongside it is the Old Seven Mile Bridge, the hurricane-battered railroad built by Henry Flagler in the early 1900s which is now a popular spot for fishing. After its destruction in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, it was later rebuilt in 1978 and features a rising arc in its center so you’ll feel like you’re driving right off into the sky! There are plenty of places to pull over and take some photos, enjoy a stroll and watch the wildlife fly by.
Just south of Marathon lies the tiny island of Pigeon Key which is well worth a stop, particularly if you’re after a taste of Florida Keys history. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Pigeon Key is a five-acre property which served as a home base for railroad workers operating the Old Seven Mile Bridge. You can reach Pigeon Key by bicycle or foot along the historic bridge (a 2.2 mile trek) or by ferry service which departs from the Pigeon Key Visitor Center and Gift Shop on Knight’s Key (Mile Marker 47).
The Lower Keys
The further south you drive, the more beautifully remote the scenery becomes in the Lower Keys. For some much-needed leg-stretching, stop off at Bahia Honda Key (Mile Marker 37), a tropical island home to one of Florida’s southernmost state parks with beautiful beaches, magnificent sunsets and excellent snorkelling. As you drive south into Big Pine Key (Mile Marker 29) there are plenty of places to pull over for a pit stop if your hunger pangs start kicking in, including No Name Pub on Watson Boulevard which serves up great pizza and pitchers of beer.
For classic Keys-style dining, try The Wharf Bar and Grill at Mile Marker 25.5 on Summerland Key. You can enjoy freshly-caught fish and vegetables grown from the restaurant’s organic garden, all served up in a peaceful waterfront setting with indoor and outdoor seating. If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, head further south in Sugarloaf Key at Mangrove Mama’s (Mile Marker 20) for a generous slice of Key lime pie on the sun-baked, palm tree-lined patio, or try Baby’s Coffee (Mile Marker 15), which is famous for its Cuban roasts and Key lime pie to-go.
Final Destination… Key West
As the afternoon starts merging into evening, your last leg of this world-renowned road trip will end in Key West just where the true vacation begins. You’ll arrive just in time to find a spot for your first Key West sunset perhaps on Parrot Key Resort’s sunset pier, and you won’t be disappointed.
Check-in at Parrot Key Resort and refresh before stepping outside to celebrate the moment the golden sun dips into the ocean. Tomorrow marks the start of your Key West vacation in this place known as paradise, so dine out and enjoy the moment until it’s time for a much-needed rest, surrounded by the simple luxury and comfort of your Parrot Key Resort guestroom, suite or villa. Sleep tight and let the Key West fun begin tomorrow!
Three reasons to visit Key West this year, include three amazing bedrooms, spread over three floors with plenty of space for your entire party. Sprawl out in style with room for eight family members or friends in our three-bedroom Key West villas. Enjoy sun, sea, serenity… and space; along with some exciting villa offers as well! Call 855-327-7200 to speak with an onsite vacation planner, chat with us or Book Online Now >
Traveling with family or a group of friends means a Key West vacation packed with plenty of fun surrounded by your favorite people. It can also mean the need for a little extra space to avoid feeling too cramped and ensure that everyone has some much-needed privacy. Even the closest of friends and happiest of families can end up feeling under each other’s feet in the wrong type of accommodation, so it’s important to select where you spend those precious vacation days, carefully.
At Parrot Key Resort, we have created spacious three-bedroom villas with families and groups of friends in mind. You can all enjoy each other’s company in the exclusivity of your own three-bedroom villa overlooking the sparkling Gulf waters or our tropical gardens, without compromising space. Each villa is unique with a combination of different bed types, so everyone can sleep up to eight people comfortably based on the needs of your party.
If it’s a waterfront Gulf view that you prefer, choose a three-bedroom villa offering space, privacy and luxury including pristine white sand terraces. Every bedroom has an en suite bathroom, so there will be no family fights to get to the bathroom first each morning in Key West!
The villa includes different bed type combinations over three floors so that you can decide how best to keep your friends or family well-rested each night in Key West.
Each room has is own flat screen TV for when you need time out to switch off and recharge. However, bringing the party together will also create some of the best highlights of your vacation, which is why our living rooms are perfectly designed to ensure everyone has enough leg room to sit back and watch the latest entertainment on a 42″ flat screen TV.
From the blue views of our waterfront Key West villas to the serene green of our tropical garden views, you will be surrounded by paradise whichever view you choose. The porch entrance to each of our three-bedroom garden view villas is surrounded by towering palm trees and lush tropical foliage, helping you to feel a million miles away from the urban sprawl you left behind.
Our garden views offer the same level of luxury, comfort and space as our waterfront villas, the only difference welcoming you are the garden tree top balconies. You and your family or friends can truly feel on top of the world. Call 855-327-7200 to learn more about our three-bedroom villas.