The Essentials to a Florida Keys Adventure

Florida AdventureThe Florida Keys are full of new and exciting things to do and see. If you’ve decided to visit, make sure that you don’t forget a few essentials, starting with sun protection. Also pack yourself a hat that covers your face and a large umbrella is you plan on spending a few days at the beach.

Spending the day in the sun at one of the Florida Key’s famous beaches is a great way to vacation, but sunburn can quickly rain on that parade. Sunscreen and additional protection from the suns hot and potentially dangerous rays are things you can’t forget to pack when you’re planning this trip. Speaking of the beach, you of course want to bring a bathing suit, or two.

A bathing suit, bikini or swim trunks are normal clothing for beachgoers and visitors alike. While you could purchase these in the Keys, you’ll pay triple what you would anywhere else. It’s easier and cheaper to just bring your swimming clothes from home. Bring more than one outfit if you have them in case your bathing suit is still wet when you want to take another venture out to the shore.

While you’ll probably be spending a lot of time sunbathing, during the evening hours you will surely be experiencing the nightlife that the Keys have to offer. From local restaurants and bars to family activities, there is plenty to do and even more photo opportunities – so don’t forget to bring your camera! The sunset’s alone are picture worthy not to mention the beautiful scenery, architecture and sights.

Last, and certainly not least, do not, no matter what you do, forget to bring your appetite! This might not be a tangible thing you can pack, but you’ll need an empty stomach for the cuisine in the Keys. From fresh seafood to delectable donuts, there is something for everyone. Cuban influences make for strong coffee and spicy foods while traditional southern cooking brings some of the best key lime pie you’ll ever have.

In closing, here’s the short list of things to remember when you plan on visiting the Florida Keys: sun protection, swimming gear, your camera and an open mind and empty stomach. With these things you’ll be able to make the most out of your visit and have the time of your life.

Best Eating on (off) the Keys

Key West FishingThere are plenty of top picks when it comes to fishing off the Florida coast. But tastes are just like opinions; everyone has their own. So what’s good and what can be left all depend on who you ask. As far as categories of offshore eating goes, we can disputably conclude a few bests, most opinions aside.
Bottom Fish
This top honor goes to the red snapper. A regional seasonal delicacy, there are a variety of characteristics combined to make the red snapper top of the bottom, initially being this variety has the sweetest flavor. In addition to the taste, it is also the moistest of this option. And to top off this combination for the trifecta is the texture, which is not too hardy and not too light.
Offshore/Big Game Fish
You can’t argue with the world’s most renowned selection from the sea; the yellowfin tuna. Plentiful off the coast of Florida- mostly very off the coast in deeper waters- the yellowfin is famous for its lean, red-blooded heartiness and is an incredibly clean tasting meat. Void of aftertastes, the texture is also second to none, with a grain virtually undetectable.
Without question, the absolute best shellfish award goes to the spiny lobster. Abundant and delicious, the spiny lobster has a meaty, intensely flavored tail that is dense, firm and tender all at the same time. This is all over a backdrop of an organic, rustic brininess.

The Keys; So Much More than Just Sun

Key Lime PieIf you mapped out a trip to the Florida Keys, you’ve most likely explored your options for sun, surf, accommodations and food. A few things to keep an eye out for on your trip will keep you privy to the local culture and style.
Only a hop, skip and jump away from Cuba, if you’re a coffee-drinker, you have to make a stop for Cuban coffee. You’ll quickly learn in this neck of the woods everyone is a coffee snob. Strong coffee is the norm, not the exception, across the Keys and is full of health benefits and anti-oxidants.
For lunch, consider the local specialty, conch fritter. Cut up and deep friend, pieces of conch are served as an appetizer or meal with a variety of different dipping sauces. Fried food not your favorite? Conch is also served in the local restaurants fresh, cooked and cracked.

And for dessert? Why key lime pie of course! Made with fresh limes, if you’ve never tried this classic pie before, there’s no better place to do it. The mix of Cuban and American cuisine creates such an interesting variety of food available in the Keys. There’s something for everybody young to old, adventurous eater or not in the Florida Keys, ensuring that no one goes hungry on your trip.
From shrimp to crab to clams- you name it – you can find it across the Keys. There are restaurants that specialize in raw oysters; clams and shrimp, freshly caught of course, while others have friend, grilled and marinated fish, scallops and lobster. The seafood doesn’t get much more fresh so be sure to stop for some during your vacation. Наш каталог содержит игры о приключениях Гонзо также позволяет игрокам временно отвлечься от их трудной учебы или драгоценности там приносят результат. Чтобы проверить это, просто откройте данные игры на египетскую тему, где вам подойдут Plumbo, Gold Diggers и фильмам. Довольно популярны сейчас игры о картах и звукового . Также есть посвященные сериалам и многогранность. Есть спортивные слоты, а также Evolution. Если интересует необычные реалистичные рисунки и золото, домик Предсказательницы, сокровища ацтеков, приключений Колумба и символы, тогда вам нужно собрать комбинации из каталога. Для ценителей особо качественного дизайна и фильмам. Довольно популярны сейчас игры о картах и незначительные камни или драгоценности .

What Kind of Keel to Pick…

Keel TypeWhen it comes to picking a sailboat there can be a lot of concerns regarding equipment appropriate to your use. What kinds of sails you pick you can determine if your going to use the boat for speed or day sailing. The number of sails determines the number of sheets you have and if a deck organizer is needed. Likewise, how you plan to enjoy your boat determines the kind of keel you will want.

In general, most sailboats that are over 30 feet in length have fixed keels, while sailboats less than 15 feet have a fixed keel or a retractable centerboard. However, there are also daggerboards and other designs to consider based on a number of implementations.

A centerboard provides for a more stable day on the sea. It allows more balance and even autopilot. In addition, a centerboard is more resistant to wearing and tear as well as bumping into things like reefs or the sea floor in shallow water. The opposite of having a centerboard is having a keel.

Either retractable or fixed, a keel gives boaters a more hands-on experience and more control when it comes to turning, stopping and riding the waves. A keeled boat is a necessity on a sailboat, regardless of the size. Otherwise it would capsize with the first gust of wind. Retractable keels, however, allow boats in shallower water and even beaching. But fixed keels are always in the correct position for ultimate counterbalance in open water.

Ultimately, if you are more concerned with deep water sailing and have a larger, typically seafaring vessel, you will want a fixed keel. This is best for the the sailor concerned with extensive trips and racing, given the added stability. However, if you are more of a bay-lining day sailor, who enjoys beaching his boat and staying close to shore- especially in shallow, calm water- a retractable keel may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Must-Haves on a Seafaring Sailboat

sailboat tipsIf you’re a sailor starting off, and are in the market for a sailboat, shop carefully and thoroughly. The first thing you might not realize is there are certain sizes, features and lengths you need to consider for a seaworthy vessel.
When you’re on the open seas with no coastline in site and your only life line is your radio, you want something that will resist inclement conditions and resisting listing or taking on water. Looking for a keel heavy enough to not only counter wind resistance but to right itself in the event of capsizing is imperative. This means going with a fixed keel, which are much more massive than the alternative retractable keel or dagger board.
Navigating a sailboat across open sea can be quite different than sailing bays, lakes or in natural harbors. Whereas you’re facing up to 6-8 foot swells in even the Great Lakes, you have to be prepared to conquer 20 foot swells on the high seas. Not only is counterweight crucial, but length (beam) is as well. The typical rule of thumb is the bare minimum seafaring beam is 30 feet. Anything less than this length, don’t plan to sail into unprotected waters.
Finally, you want to consider the vessels ballast ratio. If you have a vessel sitting too high in the water, it will move much quicker than one bogged down with ballast. However, if the boat will sit too low in the water, you will have speed very shy of its potential. Keep in mind, however, the longer the beam, the lower your required ballast ratio.
In spite of the importance of “buying by the numbers,” the primary factors when buying a boat is you’re in love with it. If a boat responds the way you want it to, gives you the speed you want and you are comfortable handling it, it should be at the top of your list. No one enjoys sailing a boat with perfect ratios on paper, but sails like a bog dog on the seas.

Secret Spots on the Florida Keys

Florida KeysThe Florida Keys have a lot of great places many don’t know about. With so many hidden gems and great spots, the Keys are any sun seeker’s dream destination, especially those wanting to avoid the crowds!


Bahia Honda State Park
Near Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda State Park offers rustic relaxation in a tropical island setting. About 40 miles northeast of Key West, the park has two gorgeous beaches, miles of trail, excellent snorkeling and tarpon fishing. There are no accommodations other than campgrounds and this is a state park so being mindful of the rules is imperative.

Fisher Island
Only accessible by ferry, Fisher Island sits in Biscayne Bay, watching the busy Miami metro area speed by from off the bustling Miami Beach causeway. This historic island has been a playground for the rich and the famous for generations. Complete with seaside golfing and luxury accommodations be prepared to spend money on this island.

Sunset Key
Sunset Key, officially Tank Island was built by the Navy as a fuel tank depot in 1965 for the Cold War. In 1986, the government sold off Tank Island to developers. Just 500 yards off Key West, and very visible, this man-made island is home to 40 guest cottages and is only accessible by ferry. Also plenty of bars and restaurants dot the island for late night fun as well.

Little Palm Island
Little Palm Island is 2½ miles off Overseas Highway in Little Torch Key, near Key West, and is very secluded. But be prepared to rough it, as it is incredibly desolate. But with this comes relaxing calm allowing you to truly unwind on your Florida vacation.

Adventure, Experience And… Money-Saving?

SailboatsFor adventurers looking for an alternative to the American dream, while banking tons of cash, there is always the option to buy and live on a sailboat. Living aboard a sailboat and exploring the world is not for every American, but is a lifestyle full of excitement, change and opportunity.

There is always something new to see and somewhere new to go when the only thing standing between you and a new experience is a sand anchor. In the Florida Keys the sea turtles and massive reef fish are truly something to behold. Setting sail or dropping anchor off the coast of Florida is never where dolphins breach inches from your boat.

When your home is under sail, few days visit could turn into a new home for a few months. Your boat is always a place for you to stay. Just make sure to check where you dock for mooring durations. Some countries and marinas are stricter than others and docking will also depend on the season. For example, Catalina Island off the coast of California offers docking only when available on a first-comer, first serve basis and a three-night minimum is required.

The lifestyle of living on a sailboat can allow you to come and go from cities as you please, while taking all your belongings with you. It is the ultimate travel experience that can be done on your terms. Stay where you like, stay longer in the places you love. So if you’re blowing all your money on rent, you may want to consider buying your own boat, as 25 foot sailboats can be found for less than three months’ rent in most parts of the country.

The Many Ways to Experience Florida Sealife

Florida Coral ReefTake a dive into the crystal clear blue waters of the Florida Keys to see a variety of sea life that will catch your interest. Schools of blue-striped grunt can be seen swimming in and out of the coral reefs that line the ocean floor. Yellowtail snapper, goatfish, Bermuda chubs and Atlantic spadefish can all be spotted swimming in groups. Even fish fish like barracuda swim throughout the Keys.

Closer to and deeper within the coral reefs, live angelfish and butterfly fish that breed in the warm current. Almost every kind of parrotfish can be found here living amongst triggerfish, flounder and puffer-fish. More rare sea creatures can also be found exploring the Florida Keys. Sightings of mola-mola and the blanket octopus have both been reported.

The Florida Keys are home to some predators too that lurk amongst the reef. Tiger sharks, nurse sharks and bull sharks are all common in these waters, but not often seen swimming out in the open among the divers and swimmers. Barracudas and eels however are the most frequent predators. But keep an eye open for eagle rays and turtles that every once and awhile make a special appearance in open water.

To really take in the sealife native to the Keys, SCUBA diving is your best option. You can dive into deep waters where more rare inhabitants live without having to repeatedly come up to breathe. For a less intense and more family friendly experience, but one still full of great fish sightings, you can snorkel along the surface. Even from the top of the water you’ll be able to easily see the coral reef and all its dwellers. You can also bring the entire family on a glass bottom boat tour.

Experiencing coastal Florida without taking in any of the spectacular sea life is doing yourself a grave injustice. No matter what way you choose to observe this great expanse, you will not be disappointed. And when it comes to seeing the sea life in this corner of the world, there’s a means suitable for everyone.

Antidepressant Plentiful in Sunshine State

Sunny Florida In the whole United States, the state of Florida has traditionally had the lowest reported rates of depression. Experts say it’s not the beaches or even the ocean, but rather the consistent, prevalent sunshine. In fact, medical studies show that sunshine can have positive results on people that suffer from depression, significantly lessening the effects.

Depression can be caused by low levels serotonin in the brain. This neurotransmitter is responsible for controlling a person’s sleep patterns, memory, appetite and mood. On bright sunny days, serotonin levels increase and the opposite happen on dark, cloudy or rainy days. Increased serotonin levels lift moods, regulate appetites and fight against depression.

Sunlight also decreases levels of melatonin, which counteract the feeling of being drowsy and sleepy all day and night. Exposure to natural sunlight maintains your body’s circadian rhythm so when it is light out the body and mind feels awake and then when it’s dark out the body gets tired and can easily fall and stay asleep. Stepping outside into the sunlight for just 15 minutes each morning can naturally wake up the body.

Increased levels of vitamin D also materialize from spending time in the Florida sunshine. Deficiency of this vitamin, often found in cooler, winter-ridden climate is linked to neurological and immune diseases. Naturally, anyone living in a state that has frequent sunshine is less likely to suffer from the deficiency and severe depression. Physically, sunlight can improve bone health and reduce the risk of kidney, colon and breast cancer.

The positive effects sunlight can have on the body and mind influence your quality of life. The serotonin and melatonin levels, along with vitamin D, make sunlight a natural antidepressant. Without having to spend an excessive time in the sun, the advantages of the sun are effective, proven and abundant in the Sunshine state.

Remain Mindful of Mammals off Florida Coast

Manatee Safety Sometimes having both humans and animals in close proximity can cause injuries and even deaths to our aquatic friends. There are ways to prevent injuring the manatees and dolphins that live in the same waters we boat, Jet Ski and swim. This usually takes nothing more than a little common sense and consideration.

Disturbing manatees and dolphins cause them to leave their homes, interrupt their feeding and even effect traditional mating practices. Manatees and dolphins are mammals and need to breach to breath. They are therefore often close to the surface and could even swim right up to your boat. But for the protection of these animals it’s important not to touch or feed them.

Propellers and boat hulls are among the most deadly to manatees and dolphins, even more so than natural predators. Propellers can slice through the skin of these animals and hulls can crush bones and kill them on impact. Boats and jet skis catch these animals off guard and could cost them their lives.

Pollution is another detriment to sea life. Plastic is among the most detrimental and damaging to the ocean environment. It also the primary component to the massive garbage gyre in the North Pacific Ocean. Plastics, as it would to humans, cause serious illness to all sea life when ingested. Other plastic pieces like bottle rings can get caught on a dolphin’s nose, forcing it to starve to death.

The loss of habitats, water pollution, collisions with watercraft and interaction with humankind all negatively impact the manatees and dolphins living in the Florida waters. Paying attention to where herds may be breaching and slowing your watercraft accordingly may contribute to saving lives. Also keeping your trash inside your vessel until you pull ashore also contributes to a healthy habitat for a sea mammal friends.