Imagine this: Waving palm trees, crystal clear turquoise waters, delicious restaurants, colourful little houses and a lovely, relaxed and laid back vibe… Feeling up for it? Me too! Our holiday in Florida with kids takes us to the Florida Keys.
Highway US 1
Despite a few raindrops the drive from Miami to Key West is phenomenal. You drive over lots of bridges that connect all the islands with each other. On one side you have the Atlantic Ocean and on the other side you have the Gulf of Mexico. The longest bridge is almost 7 miles long and is in fact named “7 Mile Bridge” for that reason. Now I’m not a big fan of driving near water so the 7 Mile Bridge is giving me rather cold feet, despite the beautiful view.
It can be quite busy on Key West so I booked our camping ahead. We’re staying at Sugerloaf Key/ Key West KOA. The camping is a 30 min drive from Key West and turns out to be a great choice! We have a spot directly in front of the playground where the kids can play freely. They have a little beach, a pool, skelters and bike rental. For the grownups they have a pub and a little harbour where you can rent all types of fishing stuff such as rods.
Fishing, washing and an old trolley
Kev is extremely pleased with his rented fishing rod and goes fishing the very first morning. After 3 hours of fishing he caught 1 tiny fish. Oh and the man next to him caught a shark so we decide to count that one too, so 2 fish ;). Like a true house-/camper wife I’m doing the laundry while the kids race around and enjoy themselves on a rented skelter by the playground, great!
In the afternoon we drive out to Key West, such a lovely place. We buy tickets for the Old Town Trolley, a hop-on-hop-off tour, and tour the town this way. We get off at USA’s most southern point and make our way up Duval St. towards Mallory Square. In the meantime we do a bit of shopping, we eat some ice-cream, taste a piece of Key Lime Pie of course and before we know it we arrive at the pier. There we decide to have something to eat on the terrace in the sun before we continue to Mallory Square.
Mallory Square is hard to explain. It’s a little square near the water where you can watch a beautiful sunset on one hand and witness the most extraordinary, highly entertaining performances on the other. We are all in awe; singers, a bagpipe player, acrobats and all kinds of artists. Their “shows” start right after each other so you can watch them all. We decide to call it a day after 2 shows as its bedtime for the kids. Back in the camper they keep going on about the man with the bag of pipes, the man that could walk on a rope and the man who could stand on one hand.
Glass bottom boats
The following day we book our tickets for the “glass bottom boat”. A boat which has a glass bottom through which you can admire the fish and coral without having to get wet. The tour takes 2 hours but after ten minutes Kev is looking pale: seasick.
After sailing for 30 minutes we reach the reef. The boat is laid still and we can see all kinds of fish through the windows. Flo immediately says he spotted Nemo and Dory and he also sees tiny zebrafish. At that point his imagination seems to run a little wild because he then sees sharks, dolphins and octopuses only he can see for some reason. Luckily for Kev the tour is only 2 hours and the sea seems calmer on the way back.
Wow! Bahia Honda State Park
The next morning we decide to drive to Key Largo. We want to make 2 stops on the way there: Bahia Honda and Robbie’s. Bahia Honda is a stunning State Park with pearly white beaches and a bright blue sea. We walk up the path towards the old railroad to get a good view when all of a sudden, OH NO, a snake crosses the road. Floris shouts: “Look mum, a snake”, and at first I’m thinking “Sure, like the sharks, dolphins and octopuses earlier”, but unfortunately he’s right this time… YIKES! I really don’t like snakes. It’s a long black one and Flo is really excited. The rest of our walk I jump up on every suspicious noise I hear coming from the bushes next to us. But the view is well worth the snake, absolutely amazing!!!
We ride around the park a bit before finally heading to Robbie’s. At Robbie’s you can feed Tarpons! Say what?! Tarpons are fish, huge fish, with teeth. Nice!
Feeding Tarpons @ Robbie’s
We buy a bucket of dead fish and walk on down the pier. The pelicans are looking at us hungrily but unfortunately these fish are not for them. Flo throws a fish into the water and we watch the Tarpons fight for a piece. At first Lotte is a bit intimidated by the big fish (they can grow up to a whopping 2.5 meters) but she soon gets in on the action. Kev is tough as nails and feeds the fish lying on his belly from his hand, risking his own life! This is quite an exciting experience to have on holiday in Florida with kids.
After our big fish adventure we continue our holiday in Florida with kids and drive onto Homestead because we would like to visit the Everglades the next day.
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This article “Holiday in Florida with kids: Florida Keys”is sponsored by KOA.