6 Ways to Welcome Spring in the Florida Keys

Florida Keys

6 Ways to Welcome Spring in the Florida Keys

By Rosalind Stefanac


When the temperatures dip across Canada, and you’re craving some reprieve from frostbite, put the Florida Keys on your sunshine list. In the U.S.A’s southernmost tip, the Keys are a string of tropical islands spanning across the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The best part? On the scenic 182 km-long Overseas Highway, connected by 42 bridges, you can travel from Key Largo to Key West, stopping to explore all the unique regions along the way. Here are some key things to do in the Keys for you and your teen.


Bike the Old ‘7

Andy Newman | Florida Keys News Bureau

As spring blooms across Canada, there’s no better time to head south and explore the Florida Keys. With comfortable temperatures averaging around 23-25 C, the Keys are ideal for outdoor exertion. Rent a bike (or walk) the Old Seven Mile Bridge, which was built more than a century ago as the centerpiece of the Key’s Over-Sea Railroad before being converted into a route for cars. Currently, the bridge is only for pedestrians and bikers and will take you to Pigeon Key, which used to house 400 railroad workers in the 1900s. It’s a fascinating story, given the harsh conditions of the day. Take a guided tour, or explore the area yourself, which includes a museum filled with fascinating artifacts. With no restaurants there, be sure to pack a picnic to enjoy by the waterfront before you head back.


Explore the backcountry

Welcome Spring in Florida Keys

Head to Big Pine Key for some exercise — and adventure — on the water. As a long-time Lower Keys resident, naturalist guide, book author and professional photographer, Captain Bill Keogh of Big Pine Kayak Adventures and his team will lead you as you paddle your way through the Florida Key’s backcountry by kayak or via catamaran, pointing out all the interesting birds, fish and other wildlife along the way.


Stay at Hawks Cay Resort

Welcome Spring in Florida Keys

Located in Marathon (in the Keys’ midpoint) Hawks Cay is a 60-acre family resort with 250 two- and three-bedroom villas, in addition to guest rooms. Kids can snorkel, kayak and paddleboard in the salt-water lagoon on-site or feed the fish at Hawks Cay Marina. There’s also an extensive game room, putting course, basketball and volleyball courts, and daily activities geared specifically to teens and tweens. Canadians who book a stay before the end of 2023 get 20% off their room rate too.


Visit the turtles

Welcome Spring in Florida Keys

While in Marathon, check out The Turtle Hospital where injured sea turtles are rehabilitated and returned to their natural habitat whenever feasible. Treatments include shell damage from motorboat accidents, digestion issues from pollution, and fibropapilloma tumors. In 1986, it became the first facility of its kind in the U.S. Since then, it has helped over 2,000 turtles.


Channel your inner artist

Rob O’Neal | Florida Keys News Bureau

Once you’re in Key West (the southernmost part of the Keys) revel in the fact you’re roaming the same streets where literary legends such as Ernest Hemmingway, Tennessee Williams and Robert Frost lived for many years. Explore the Hemingway Home and Museum, now home to some 60 cats believed to be descendants of the author’s original six-toed pet. Popular children’s authors Shel Silverstein and Judy Blume were Key West residents too. In fact, Judy Blume still lives there, where she owns a non-profit, independent bookshop called Books & Books.


Try the key lime pie—every time

Welcome Spring in Florida Keys

In addition to fantastic seafood, try the key lime pie – which locals say was first invented here and is available in most restaurants. The perfect blend of sweet and tart, this pie is typically made from a graham crust with a custard containing key lime juice and a topping of whipped cream or meringue. It was delicious at every stop, but if you’re in Key West, try the mile-high key lime pie at Blue Heaven or venture to Kermit’s Key (West) Lime Shoppe where you can sample a piece of frozen pie dipped in Belgian chocolate.

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