The Florida Keys are a chain of islands that stretch from the southernmost point of the Florida peninsula to the northernmost point of Cuba. The Keys are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and they offer a variety of activities for visitors. The Florida Keys are a great place to visit for a family-friendly weekend getaway. Planning a Florida Keys itinerary for the family is an unforgettable experience.
With so many options, it’s easy to plan a weekend getaway that everyone in the family will enjoy. If you’re looking for unique family-friendly activities in the Florida Keys, you’ve come to the right place. Whether looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway, the Florida Keys provide endless opportunities for a weekend schedule with family fun activities.
Make sure to research the area and create a Florida Keys itinerary for your family. Don’t have the time? We have you covered; the best part is that you can do it all in one weekend! There are many family-friendly things to do and see in the Florida Keys, and this three-day schedule to the Florida Keys will immerse you in the tropical and vibrant location. After completing our Florida Keys itinerary in three days, you will not want to leave the Keys!
Florida Keys Itinerary for Families
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I know you’re probably picturing the wild nightlife in Key West and thinking I am mistaken- but I swear the Florida Keys are family-friendly! You’re in luck if you’re seeking the best kids’ activities in the Florida Keys. It’s an ideal destination for a weekend getaway in the Florida Keys itinerary for the family. With its tropical climate and stunning views, the Keys offer various unique and family-friendly activities.
From water sports to historical destinations, the Keys are full of exciting activities that entertain the whole family. The more adventurous can try deep-sea fishing or airboat rides. Explore the vibrant beaches, wildlife-filled lagoons, and parks for a more relaxed atmosphere to create lasting family memories. Stop at these Florida Keys attractions for families, listed by mile marker, along the Overseas Highway.
Fruit, Pets, and Milkshakes
Mile Marker: Before the Overseas Highway
Address: 19200 SW 344th St, Homestead, FL 33034
If you want to see a fruit stand, petting zoo, and shake shop- you’re in luck. At Robert is Here, Fruit Stand, there is salsa, hot sauce, marmalade, and honey. You can get unique products like mameys (a sweet fruit with a toxic seed) or sapodillas (a tropical fruit that grows on large trees.) The petting zoo allows your family to hang out with goats, get weirded out by emus, and check out actual tortoises.
Giant Lobster Statue
Mile Marker: 86-87
Address: 86700 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL
If there was ever a time to do something for the Gram, it’s today. The lobster statue at Rain Barrel Village named Big Betsy took over five years to sculpt. Richard Blaze built this 30-foot-tall and 40-foot-long lobster in the 1980s.
If you’re into kitschy places, there is also a shark outside Mangrove Mike’s Cafe at mile marker 82.
Theater of the Sea
Mile Marker: 84
Address: 84721 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036
This marine mammal park was established in the 1940s and is an absolute tourist attraction. Swim with bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, sting rays, and sharks. Visit a parrot show, tour reptiles, and check out tropical fish. If you prefer relaxation, check out the bottomless boat ride or lagoon-side beach. Or take a selfie with the oversize conch!
Mile Marker: 48.5
2396 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 33050
The Florida Keys Turtle Hospital rehabilitates injured sea turtles, works with educational institutions to facilitate research, and advocates through environmental legislation to make the oceans and beaches safer for sea turtles. The hospital offers guided tours of its facility to the public every day of the week.
Dolphin Research Center
Mile Marker: 59
Address: 58901 Overseas Hwy, Grassy Key, FL 33050
The Dolphin Research Center (DRC) is located on Grassy Key. Their mission is to promote peaceful coexistence, cooperation, and communication between marine life and humans. From checking out sea lions to swimming with dolphins, the Dolphin Research Center provides incredible opportunities for families in the Keys. If you have little kids, a sprayground at the DRC is essentially a splash pad. The cutest touch is that the sprayground plays dolphin, manatee, and whale sounds. For older kids ( 10+), there are dolphin experiences and Dolphin Theater to get closer to dolphins.
National Deer Refuge
Mile Marker: 30
Address: 30587 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL 33043
Hang out in the National Key Deer Refuge to spend time with the endangered Key deer. Hands down, these are the cutest deer I’ve ever seen. Being from Ohio, where we have whitetail deer in my backyard, these sweet little babies stand about two to three feet tall and are the smallest in North America. Unfortunately, they have little fear of humans, which makes them easy to see but likely contributes to their predicament.
Chickens in Key West
Mile Marker: 0 to 1
Address: EVERYWHERE in Key West
Key West chickens descend directly from the birds found in Caribbean jungles. Luckily (for them), many of these chickens were released after cockfighting became illegal. The chickens are now known as the Key West Gypsy Chickens, and the island is no-kill. Spend some time with them and take some sweet photo ops.
Key West Aquarium
Mile Marker: 0
Address: 1 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
Afterward, head to the Key West Aquarium to learn about the local marine life. The Key West Aquarium is located on Mallory Square at the corner of Front and Whitehead street in historic Old Town Key West. The aquarium is open year-round, even on holidays! Interestingly, it opened in 1935, when a hurricane wiped out the Overseas Highway. The aquarium is pet-friendly for your furry friends! Take a sunset cruise around the island with your family!
Old Town Trolley Tours
Mile Marker: 0
Address: 1 Whitehead St, Naval Air Station Key West, FL 33040
Head to the trolley tours after the aquarium because they are directly next to one another. The Old Town Trolley Tours is a great way to see all the sights in Key West from the comfort of a trolley. The tour lasts about two hours, and you can hop on and off at any stop. You can also purchase tickets for multiple days if you want to explore more of the area.
Check out the hop-on-hop-off trolley tour.
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Mile Marker: 0
Address: 1316 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is an enclosed, climate-controlled butterfly park that is great for kids and adults alike. It’s an indoor butterfly garden with 50 to 60 different species of live butterflies worldwide! It’s also home to one of North America’s largest collections of live butterflies!
Mile Marker: 0
Address: 907 Whitehead Street, Key West, FL 33040
You can also visit Ernest Hemingway’s house. Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West from 1931-1940, so it’s only fitting that his home is open for tours! You’ll learn about his life as a writer, fisherman, and cat lover. His first kitten, Snow White, had six toes. After breeding with other cats in town- she passed her genes down the line. Hemingway had nearly 200 cats at the time of his death, many of them with six toes.
Check out this tour of the Hemingway House.
Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square
Mile Marker 0
Address: 400 Wall St, Key West, FL 33040
Check out these tours of Mallory Square, ranging from a catamaran cruise to a train ride.
Next, head to Key West’s Mallory Square for some shopping and sightseeing at the plenty of shops on Duval Street that offer souvenirs and clothing from around the world. Beware that this is one of the most crowded places at sunset because it is home to the nightly Sunset Celebration. You can not miss the street performers, musicians, and artisans. Whether breathing fire or cats jumping through rings of fire, the entertainment begins about two hours before sunset.
Southernmost Point in the U.S.
Mile Marker: 0
Address: 1400 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
End your weekend with a visit to the Southernmost Point in the contiguous U.S., and take a picture with the iconic buoy. This garish cement structure is only 90 miles from Cuba.
Note: We wanted to visit the Dry Tortugas, but it required 7 am to 530 pm from Key West, and we did not have the time to squeeze it into our itinerary.
Check out this tour of the Dry Tortugas if you find yourself in a similar situation!
Watersports in the Florida Keys Itinerary for Family
For a fun afternoon, try paddleboarding, parasailing, and jet skiing. If you enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving, there is an actual coral reef and an underwater state park. With so much to do, it’s tough to come back ashore!
Key Largo Snorkeling
Mile Marker: 102.5
Key Largo is one of the most popular destinations in the Florida Keys. It is home to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which is one of only three underwater parks in America. Start your itinerary by exploring the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and take part in one of the many guided tours or rent a boat to explore the area. This reef is the only living coral reef in the continental U.S. and the third largest internationally.
This coral reef lies six miles northeast of Key Largo. The park offers snorkeling, scuba diving opportunities, kayaking, and fishing excursions. Visitors can also enjoy biking or hiking on trails along mangrove forests and coastal dunes.
Key Largo is known for the underwater statue of Jesus called “Christ of the Abyss,” which has graced the water since August 25, 1965. The figure depicts Christ in a pose offering peace with his hands and head raised toward the surface and is approximately 25 feet underwater. The bronze statue is the third made from its mold and was commissioned by dive equipment manager Egidi Cressi.
Artist Guido Galletti created the mold for this statue in 1954 to create an underwater sculpture garden that would be accessible to everyone regardless of religious beliefs. The original bronze sculpture from the mold is called “Il Cristo degli Abissi” and is in the Mediterranean on the Italian Riviera. It weighs over nine tons, so it’s not likely to be moved or vandalized.
Check out this snorkeling tour to see the Coral Reef and Christ of the Abyss.
Glass Bottom Boat
Mile Marker: 100
Address: 99701 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037
There are incredible options if you’re looking for a Key Largo glass-bottom boat trip. The Key Largo Princess 2 for daily two-hour tours through John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to view the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary. The 75-foot luxury boat features a full bar with specialty cocktails.
While y felt seasick, hanging out on the air-conditioned enclosed lower deck with the glass bottom upset my stomach. Enjoy the Molasses reef in the only underwater park in the United States.
Check out the glass-bottom boat adventure in Key Largo.
Bahia Honda State Park
Mile Marker: Between 36 and 37
Address: 36850 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL 33043
The first stop on your itinerary should be the Bahia Honda State Park. Bahia Honda is a Florida State Park home to an award-winning beach and offers plenty of swimming, snorkeling, and fishing opportunities. You can also take a guided tour of the park’s historic lighthouse.
Check out this tour to Bahia Honda State Park and the Deer Refuge.
7 Mile Bridge
Mile Marker: 47
Address: Knights Key, Little Duck Key
The Seven Mile Bridge is a must-see for the best family-friendly vacation in the Florida Keys. The bridge is a spectacular sight with turquoise waters and picturesque views. It is the longest bridge in the Keys, offering travelers a unique experience. Families can take a leisurely stroll or fish on the bridge, savoring the beautiful scenery and taking in the ocean air. Families visiting the Florida Keys should get out of their cars and immerse themselves in this tropical wonderland.
For more family-travel road trip advice, we have an entire article about our favorite tips.
Fred the tree unexpectedly grew in the Old Seven Mile Bridge. Despite exposure to the Florida Keys elements, the Australian Pine has thrived without soil. There is even a children’s book about the hope Fred the Tree gave following Hurricane Irma written by Leigh Guest. Nearby, Wilma (or Fred Junior) has also grown and thrived. Nearby, Wilma (or Fred Junior) has also grown and thrived.
What to Eat and Drink on this Florida Keys Itinerary for Family
There are many food and drink options for families on vacation in the Florida Keys. We have you covered if you’re looking for what you can eat in this Florida Keys itinerary for a family-friendly weekend getaway.
Ley Largo Chocolate
Mile Marker: 100
Address: 100470 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037
If you’ve never visited the shop before, you’re in luck. Key Largo Chocolates provides three feet-shaped samples of white Key lime chocolate, dark Key lime chocolate, and rum chocolate. The little feet give homage to a barefoot lifestyle in the Florida Keys. You can snag ice cream, fudge, Key lime pie, pistachio bark, and chocolate alligators. This chocolatier also has a store in Islamadora.
Mile Marker: 100
Address: 528 Caribbean Drive, Key Largo, FL 33037
Skipper’s Dockside has an oceanfront oasis in Key Largo that is perfect for a weekend getaway. This Marina Del Mar Resort and Marina restaurant features an old-fashioned Ice House and a 1940s filling station. The seafood is fresh off the boat with local and offbeat ingredients. You can park your boat at the marina and have them prepare your fresh catch while you toss the scraps to nurse sharks. But since we didn’t go fishing that day, we loved the fish tacos.
There are incredible signature cocktails like the jalapeno margarita. The outside tiki bar is perfect for enjoying marina views while boaters stop. Kids’ meals feature pasta, grilled mahi-mahi fish, and chicken tender with little buckets of french fries.
Mile Marker: 0
Address: 930 Southard St, Key West, FL 33040
If you’re anything like me, vacationing with your children (or an entire family) requires plenty of coffee. And why not make that a Cuban coffee while in paradise? Luckily, 5 Brothers Coffee has some of the best Cuban coffee we’ve ever tasted. This Keys cafe is a no-frills and delicious restaurant that serves authentic Cuban food and delicious Cuban sandwiches. But plan carefully- it’s closed on weekends!
Key West Legal Rum Distillery
Mile Marker: 0
Address: 105 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Key West’s Legal Rum Distillery uses Florida sugar cane and local ingredients, including Key limes from residents’ trees. Each rum barrel is saltwater cured by being submerged in the ocean. Here you can taste a single rum for free or sample a flight of all six.
Where to Stay in the Florida Keys for Families
This itinerary offers many opportunities for those looking for a fun and relaxing family vacation in the Florida Keys. Families should consider staying at one of the many family-friendly hotels when planning a trip to the Florida Keys. These hotels offer spacious accommodations, swimming pools, pool bars, and plenty of activities for the whole family.
Additionally, many of these hotels provide packages that include discounted tickets to local attractions, such as glass bottom boats and aquariums. With so many options available, families can easily find a hotel that fits their budget and meets their needs. Families can enjoy a stress-free stay with a family-friendly hotel in the Florida Keys.
Florida Keys hotels are generally more expensive than those in Miami. Check out Miami hotels for a budget-friendly alternative.
Holiday Inn Key Largo
Mile Marker: 100
Address: 99701 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037
The Holiday Inn Key Largo is located in the heart of Key Largo and offers a wide range of activities for all ages. The hotel has a large outdoor pool with a rocky fountain, a hot tub, and sweeping marina views. The hotel also offers dining at the lobby restaurant or the poolside Tiki Bar.
Playa Largo Resort & Spa
Mile Marker: 94
Address: 97450 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037
The Marriott Playa Largo Resort and Spa is part of the Autograph Collection (aka fancy!) The resort offers a private beach, three restaurants, an outdoor pool and bar, and a luxurious spa. The resort is directly off the scenic Overseas Highway and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State park. There are 177 luxury rooms in these carefree rooms.
Key Palms RV Resort
Mile Marker: 104
Address: 104200 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037
Keys Palms RV Resort in Key Largo is nestled on the waterfront with sunny skies, perfect sunsets, and incredible beauty. The amenities include a private beach, pool, and access to Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The R.V. park has waterfront, pull-in, pull-through, and backup sites.
Runner up: Coconut Cay RV Park and Marina 7200 Aviation Blvd, Marathon, FL 33050
Hawks Cay Resort
Mile Marker: 61
Address: 61 Hawks Cay Blvd, Marathon, FL 33050
This unique 177-room resort on 60 acres in Duck Key is upscale family fun. Their five heated pools feature splash pads, water cannons, raining palm trees, and water slides. There are video games, a casual grill, a tennis court, sand volleyball, and a full-service luxury spa. Beyond that- you can swim with dolphins, go fishing, and jet ski. Finally, if you’re looking for fine dining in the Keys- you have options at Hawks Cay.
Casa Marina Key West
Mile Marker: 0
Address: 1500 Reynolds St, Key West, FL 33040
The Casa Marina Resort (by Hilton) is perfect for luxurious recreation and rest. This resort is tucked into the island’s southern edge and has 1,000 feet of private beach exclusive for guests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can you park in Key West?
Parking in Key West can be a challenge for tourists and residents. The Florida Keys are popular for families, but hard to find a parking spot. Luckily, public lots in Key West are everywhere and cost about $5 per hour.
What are the Florida Keys?
The Florida Keys are a chain of islands that stretch from the southernmost point of the Florida peninsula to the northernmost point of Cuba. The Keys are home to some of the United States’ most beautiful beaches and wildlife. If you’ve never visited, you must stop in the Florida Keys! The best way to explore them is by boat or kayak, but you can also explore them by car or bike. Here are some highlights for those seeking a Florida Keys vacation and travel guide.
Is it Safe to Kayak in the Florida Keys?
Exploring the Florida Keys by kayak is an amazing way to experience the beauty of this unique area. The Florida Keys offer a unique opportunity to explore the outdoors with crystal clear waters, abundant marine life, and lush mangroves. If you plan and take the necessary safety precautions, it is safe to kayak in the Florida Keys. With the proper preparation to plan a trip to the Florida Keys, kayaking in the Florida Keys can be a safe and enjoyable experience for your entire family.
- Bring along life jackets for everyone on your family vacation.
- Make sure to check the weather forecast before leaving.
- Always let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
The Ultimate Florida Keys Itinerary for Family
We just moved from South Florida, which allowed us to visit Disney World or the Keys in a heartbeat. For those looking for a weekend getaway with kids, check out this family-friendly itinerary to the Florida Keys, where this is so much to do and see.