2022 Guide to Spring Break in the Florida Keys: Where to Go & Things to Do

January 27, 2022

Soft white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and an abundance of exhilarating aquatic activities make the Florida Keys a spring break hotspot on everyone's radar.

Whether you are looking to cruise around cerulean blue waters on a jet ski, deep-sea fish with your friends, or sunbathe and sip mai tais. Our guide has the inside scoop on everything you need to know for Spring Break in the Florida Keys.

The southernmost area of the sunshine state is just bursting with fun-filled outdoor adventure, picturesque beaches, and bustling nightlife.

About the Keys

The Florida Keys might look just like a Caribbean paradise, but in fact, this string of sun-soaked islands is part of the good old U.S.A. Stretching over 120 miles off the southern tip of Florida, the seven primary keys are renowned for their beautiful beaches, extensive coral reef system, and sunset celebrations.

From snorkeling to glass-bottom boat trips to partying it up on Duval St, there is so much to experience in the Keys we suggest planning to stay for at least a week. 

Aerial view of the United States Overseas Highway on a bright sunny day with clear water near Key West, Florida, USA

photo credit: Condé Nast Traveler España via Facebook

When to Go

Generally, spring breakers tend to flock to the Keys from mid-March through April. Students, families, and fishermen alike love frequenting during this time due to the pleasant weather and fun festivities.

How to Go

Kick off your Spring Break vacation by flying into Miami International Airport and then driving via the United States Overseas Highway. This scenic and unique motorway runs for over 100 miles and features Atlantic ocean views, 42 bridges, and intriguing history.

Where to Stay

So your bikini and sunscreen are packed and ready to go, but where to stay in the Keys if you don't' want to bust open your budget completely?

It's' no secret that longer stays at luxurious amenity-filled resorts can rack up those dollar bills. 

Our top tips to save some serious Spring Break coin include:

  • First, shop around and be flexible - March is not the low season due to the influx of spring breakers that swarm to the Key's shores, but if you have some wiggle room with your dates, you can often save.
  • Embrace budget offerings - this means exploring low-cost hotels, B&Bs, and guest houses. Other great resources include Airbnb and VRBO.
  • Be willing to compromise - if you can, let go of some luxury amenities (bye, bye hot tub, and hello shared bathroom), you are almost guaranteed to come in under budget. Additionally, if you are willing to stay slightly outside Key West or Key Largo, you can often find more wallet and family-friendly lodgings.

Related Post: 24 Best Places to Stay in Florida

What to Do in The Florida Keys for Spring Break

Paddle Boarding, scuba diving, and pool bars, oh my! With so much fun in the sun and sand to be had, we highly recommend a Keys getaway of a week or more. However, an ideal 2-day itinerary would include stops at both Key West and Key Largo for those short on time. 

Read on to discover the best beaches points of interest, and can't' miss tours all over the islands:

Key West Things to Do

Glass Bottom Boat Tour 

Little ones will be mesmerized when they experience the ''window to the sea'' on a thrilling Glass Bottom Boat Tour adventure.

An ideal way to scope out the bounty of marine life without getting wet, Fury Water Adventure Cruises offers up a plethora of ocean-bound excitement that will get you up close and personal to coral reefs, sea turtles, rays, and more. 

Conch Tour Train

Get your dose of island history, pirates, shipwrecks, and eye-catching architecture on this comprehensive 90-minute trolley tour of the island.

The tour includes notable stops at the Historic District, Duval Street, the Key West Aquarium, and the Key West Shipwreck Treasures Museum.

Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square

Sunsets in Key West are the stuff of legends, and no trip to the ''Conch Republic'' would be complete without a stop at Mallory Square. So revel in the brilliance of a tropical sunset. Meanwhile, don't miss out on the opportunity to people watch. There is an abundance of quirky cast of characters, street performers, and magicians who entertain the sun-kissed masses. 

View of two sides of the Hemingway House, a white stone house with black roofs and walkways and yellow shutters in Key West, Florida, USA

photo credit:
National Trust for Historic Preservation via Facebook

Hemingway House

Acclaimed writer and Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway spent a great deal of time writing (and drinking) in the Keys. His former residence is now a museum open to the public where visitors can tour his lush gardens and sneak peeks at his many polydactyl (six-toed) cats.

Duval Street

While it may not be the most family-friendly section of Key West, it is well worth visiting. Full of buzzing energy, lively bars, restaurants, and boutiques. It's also the home of Sloppy Joes, a favored haunt of Hemingway himself. So join a bar crawl, and be sure to grab at least one mojito at this popular spot. 

Related Post: The 11 Best Nightclubs in Miami: Where to Go for a Good Time

Wide shot of Duval St at night filled with people, bikes, and bright lights in Key West, Florida, USA

photo credit: Sean Browne via Facebook

Key Largo Things to Do

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Spend some time in the watery world below when you visit the U.S'' first undersea park. Unearth a magical world of coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and Spanish shipwrecks when you snorkel, swim, or kayak your way through this protected area. 

African Queen Cruise

Lights, camera, action! There's' a movie star in the midst of, Key Largo and she's' a real beauty. The African Queen Cruise is the same iconic vessel that both Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn bantered on in the movie of the same name. Now film buffs and sailors alike can take this lovingly restored steamboat for a spin down the Port Largo Canal.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Key Largo is the diving capital of Florida, and there's no better way to appreciate the diversity of marine life or scout out the Shipwreck trail than with a stop at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

Do it for the birds! So wrangle up your feather-obsessed friends and head to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center to witness over 40 different species of birds, a beach boardwalk, and daily pelican feedings.

Islamorada Things to Do

Sportfishing

Deep-Sea, offshore, and Backcountry. Any and all types of fishing reign supreme in Islamorada, so dust off your gear, book a tour, and set your sights on some prize-winning tuna, bonefish, redfish, tarpon, trout, and more. 

Keys History & Discovery Center

Save your skin from another day of sunbathing when you head to the Key's' Center and peruse the museum's impressive collection of photos, artifacts, and memorabilia that tell the visual story of the island's fascinating history.

Theater of the Sea

An ideal stop for sea-curious kiddos, the Theater of the Sea offers an immersive aquatic experience like no other. Get glimpses of vivid tropical fish, sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, and alligators as you wander through lush gardens and interactive shows. Even shake fins with a very friendly Flipper with the purchase of a dolphin encounter.

Rain Barrel Artisans' Village

Giant crustaceans and culture? Sign us up! For over 40 years, the Rain Barrel Village has been a go-to destination for artisanal goods, handmade art, local crafts, and unique souvenirs. So stroll around the tropical open-air market and be sure to snap a photo with Betsy, the giant 30 ft tall massive lobster statue. 

Related Post: Miami and Florida Keys on a Budget: How to Save BIG With a Go City Pass

Close up of a group of young friends playing beach volleyballBest Free Beaches

Smathers Beach

Bikini-clad babes, beach volleyball, and food trucks make Smathers Beach in Key West a beacon for spring breakers. And, at approximately half a mile long, there's plenty of space to spread out and set up your umbrella-d oasis. Adventurous types can even opt to go jet skiing!

Higgs Memorial Beach Park

Powdery white sand, snorkeling, kayaks, and a full beach bar make Higgs an excellent beach option for Keys visitors of all ages. Rent a beach chair and unwind in the sun, or try to spot the stingrays which frequent this area. 

South Beach

After you snap your obligatory photo at the Southernmost Point of the U.S., head on over to South Beach. Enjoy another cute photo opp with their gigantic beach chair. Then settle in for some super serene beach vibes. 

Anne's' Beach

It is a lovely Islamorada beach perfect for less than confident swimmers due to its shallow waters. Anne's' Beach features magnificent mangroves and a picnic table studded boardwalk. 

Wide shot of a couple walking where the water meets the sand at Sombrero Beach with a bright sunset in front of them in Key West, Florida, USA

photo credit: Al Parent via Facebook

Sombrero Beach

Located in Marathon, Sombrero consistently tops the list as one of ''Florida's best beaches.'' A local favorite, Sombrero is the ideal place for a bit of shallow water snorkeling, beachcombing, or siesta-ing. Families can also make good use of their playground, picnic tables, restrooms, and changing stations.

Feel the spray of salty seawater on your face as you kite surf or parasail through the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Or gasp in awe as you witness the magic of stilt walkers and fire eaters at the nightly Mallory Square festivities.

Related Post: Current Festivals and Events in Miami

A land of watery wonder, pirate-filled history, and beauty awaits you when you head to the Florida Keys this Spring Break.

From awe-inspiring coral reef views from your glass-bottomed boat to sampling the best Key Lime pie. Onto dancing down Duval Street, there are countless ways to spend your tropical getaway.

Whether you are sneaking away for a two-day winter reprieve, or want to settle in for a week of paradise-like pleasure, don't' wait. Book your Florida Keys Spring Break plans today!

Did We Miss Anything?

Let us know in the comments below!

    • Unfortunately we are not showing any body building contests in the Keys for this year. ☹️ So sorry. But hopefully it will be returning soon. Meanwhile, keep up the great workouts, Claire! 💪

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