Dive Into A Key West Vacation
Key West – Southernmost city in the Continental United States and America’s only Caribbean paradise. Subtropical weather, turquoise blue waters, white sand beaches, lush foliage, and an exotic flair all its own.
Locals call it “the end of the road” partly because it is the last stop on the south end of historic US Highway 1 but also because it does not get any better than this.
Key West is a world-renowned vacation destination and cruise ship port that draws nearly 3 million visitors yearly. For water sports enthusiasts, Key West is heaven and if you are looking for a tropical dive vacation destination that does not require a passport and international flight, Key West is right for you.
World Class Diving
Thousands of divers flock to the Florida Keys every year to take advantage of the warm water, good visibility, and protected marine environment. The islands of the Florida Keys are the remains of 125,000-year-old Pleistocene coral patch reefs that were exposed when sea levels dropped during the last Ice Age 100,000 years ago. The ancient coral reefs and sand bars fossilized over time to form the limestone rock of today’s Keys.
The offshore coral reef that makes up the 190-mile-long Florida Reef Tract is about 8,000 years old. The Florida Reef parallels the Keys, separating the inshore shallows from the waters of the Straits of Florida. The reef runs offshore about 6 miles to the southeast at Key West. It is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States and the third-largest barrier reef in the world.
The waters of Key West and the Florida Keys lie within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a 2,900 square-mile area of protected marine wilderness. The Sanctuary surrounds the Florida Keys from the mean high-water mark seaward and from south of Miami westward to encompass the Dry Tortugas, excluding Dry Tortugas National Park.
Along with the barrier reef and inshore patch coral environments, the Marine Sanctuary contains extensive seagrass beds, mangrove-fringed islands, and more than 6,000 species of marine life. It also protects historically significant shipwrecks and other archeological treasures. The Sanctuary is an amazing ecosystem that offers world-class diving, snorkeling, boating, fishing, and wildlife watching.
Topside in Key West
For non-divers and topside time-outs, the action in Key West is unstoppable. From bars to beaches, dolphins and discos, lobsters to gold lamé, festivals, galleries, history, food, and fun, Key West has it all. The island brims with exciting activities for people of all ages.
It’s very easy to get around Key West with no car needed. You can tour historic sites, experience the Caribbean culture brought from the Bahamas by the original “Conchs”, visit the haunts of Ernest Hemingway, stroll the galleries and shops of the old waterfront district, and enjoy fine dining, beautiful sunsets, and hot nightlife.
Non-divers may want to begin exploring the world of scuba and start their training in Key West. It is a wonderful place to complete PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses. Begin training in a warm, sunny swimming pool then complete qualifying dives among coral gardens surrounded by hundreds of species of marine life. Colorful tropical reef fish, eels, rays, sea turtles, sharks, and large gamefish are common sights on Key West scuba diving trips.
Experience Key West
Key West offers divers and their families the complete package. Top quality dive pros, boats, and gear together with the incredible visibility Key West is known for make for spectacular diving. Snorkeling, sailing, kyaking, and ecotours into the Backcountry are just a few other watersports highlights, and there is plenty to do on dry land as well. Come on down to the end of the road and experience unique Key West.