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Our Annual Trip to The Florida Keys!

For the past 3 summers, we have taken a family vacation to the Florida Keys. It started as a bucket list trip but we loved it so much we came back again and again.

Our Home Away From Home

We stay at the Indigo Reef Resort in Marathon. It is a quiet resort that is tucked away off of the main road. The resort is comprised of these beautiful town homes that overlook the bay side of the islands.

The first time I saw one of these iguanas, I was so fascinated by how they just hung out on the docks. They definitely get sketchy when you approach them - which I couldn't help but do.

We also adopted a vacation cat named "Steve." He wandered onto the porch the first time we went down and found us for the past two years. He's super laid back. We aren't cat people but this guy won me over.

Marathon is at about the halfway mark on US1. Staying here allows us the flexibility to experience more of what the Keys have to offer because we are in a central location.

Some things that are a must do for us:

Bahia Honda State Park

You can't miss the scenic views of this state park. As you go over the 7 mile bridge, you see an old bridge that used to carry trains along the Florida Keys. I was fascinated by this bridge and it's history.

The 7 Mile Bridge

This one is a little obvious. The bridge was re-built in 1982, but the original bridge is still standing. They allow for part of it to be used as a look out for sunsets and photographs, but as you ride along the 7 mile stretch, you can see how dilapidated it has become over the years.

Bass Pro Shops

We make it a point to stop here on every trip - sometimes even multiple times! This isn't your typical Bass Pro. It's a Worldwide Sportsman and they focus mostly on the fishing side of their business. There is also a very cool art gallery upstairs.

Upper Crust Pizza

This place doesn't look like much from the outside, but don't let that turn you away. It is seriously some of the best pizza I've had in Florida - and we eat a lot of pizza. They're always courteous when you place your order and even friendlier when you pick it up.

Duval Street in Key West

Key West is the where all the tourists gather.

Duval Street is where you go when you want to party.

We stopped at The Salty Angler first and we were not disappointed. 

Coyote Ugly. Sloppy Joe's. Fat Tuesday. All of these names ring synonymous with Key West. Duval Street is also a great place to people watch. We ate dinner at the newly opened Gas Monkey Bar & Grill and sat at a table that was right on the side of the street. The things we observed... well... I'll let your imagination wander.

The brisket grilled cheese was absolutely the best thing I've ever eaten at a restaurant.

Big Pine Key

The best thing we found on Big Pine Key are the Key deer. They are the sweetest most adorable woodland creature I've ever come across. They are also very protected - meaning if you're caught feeding them, you're getting hit with a $500 fine! The reason behind this is that if they expect every car to have a tasty snack for them, they could eventually go toward the wrong car where the driver isn't paying attention.... you get the picture.

If you're lucky (and really patient) you can have some close encounters with them. They aren't very skiddish and don't mind being gawked at. This lady even struck a pose for me!

The Turtle Hospital

My sister and I had a girls day and visited The Turtle Hospital. I was expecting your run of the mill tourist trap type of experience, but you won't get that here. The staff that care for the turtles are dedicated and compassionate. I learned quite a bit more than expected. This is one for the Must Do list!

Sombrero Beach

We stumbled upon this beach after taking a wrong turn. Contrary to what most people may think, there are very few actual beaches in the Keys. This one just happened to be the closest to our resort. It's a very popular beach for Loggerhead Turtle nests from April - October. It's also where The Turtle Hospital releases the healthy turtles back into the wild.

Fishing in Islamorada

This is the main reason we frequent the Keys. My husband and his dad love being off shore and this time of year is normally when the Mahi are running. I went for my first time last year and did pretty well. At least I think I did - I'm not anywhere close to out fishing those two, but I still held my own!

There are lots of things to see, but the Keys in general have a very laid back atmosphere. This year we invited my sister and her husband down and it was fun to show them the sights. While I don't think this will be my husband's last trip to go down to fish the deep blue water, I do look forward to picking a new destination for next year!

I took a TON of photos during our last three trips - check them out in my portfolio by clicking the image below!

What is your favorite travel destination? We need ideas for our next vacation!