Florida Keys Stories and Tips

Tips and Hints

* The average year round temperature is 75 degrees fahrenheit. This is due to the Gulf Stream and the south easterly trade winds. Temperatures rarely vary by more than 15 degrees and there is a constant breeze. December to April is the best time to visit. Summer and autumn can be humid and most hurricanes are in August and September. May to October is the wet season, rain falls apparently most days during this time, usually in the early morning. We visited in June and only saw rain one day for about half an hour. Key West is the driest city in Florida.

* Rent a car in Miami for the drive - it takes about 4 hours from Miami to Key West. The exact duration of course, though depends on your location. Do not rush, take pleasure in the wonderful drive down along the islands. I couldn't stop gazing at the blue and green waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. In some places on the road, the ocean and the Gulf are 10 miles apart, but in most places the are just 1-4 miles apart and a lot of the time, must separated only by the road.

* Plan sightseeing and meal stops geographically, otherwise you will waste precious time driving unnecessarily. There is only 1 road into and out of the Keys. The street signs are interesting - they are mile markers. This, plus "Bayside" or "Oceanside" are all you will need to find most places. Our son found it a lot of fun once he got the hang of it. Mile marker signs begin near Florida City at MM127 and go down to MM0 which is the Green Parrot Bar - the first and last bar on US1 which is in Key West.

* The food is very good, served a lot in funky little shacks. It was always very fresh with a laid back atmosphere everywhere. The shrimp are amazing, we also had crab, conch, mahi mahi (called dolphin here), grouper, snapper, wahoo and yellowtail. Conch is a meaty mollusc served in chowders and fritters. It is a speciality of the Keys. It is actually a protected species here though, so the fritters you are served will be made from conch imported from the Bahamas. I still loved them though!

* Be sure to try the Key Lime Pie. This is the birthplace of that delicious dessert - it bears little resemblance to what you get in the rest of the USA, but is so yummy. We particularly loved it "on a stick."

* The Keys, despite a lot of people thinking otherwise, are really family friendly. This is such a wonderful place to holiday with children. The accommodation is child friendly and there is so much to keep them amused and entertained.

* Crime is not a serious concern at all. We were advised to watch out for pickpockets and purse snatchers - but found nothing at all to worry about. Avoid deserted areas at night though and do not go into public parks at night.

* Poisonous and benign snakes are found in Florida and the Keys. Be alert, use caution and always stick to marked trails.

* Bring lots of bug spray - I found the mosquitos were ferocious here and had to make sure I was sprayed at all times.

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