The Florida Keys are simply thought-about one among America’s biggest paradises and trip spots filled with beautiful blue waters, unique wildlife each underwater and above, delicious meals, and unimaginable actions that make up a dream vacation.
Having just finished a street journey the place we have been blown away by a number of the unimaginable local businesses and organizations who give back to the area people and setting. We’ve put collectively a number of the greatest sustainable Florida Keys points of interest to cease at along the best way.
When you’re on the lookout for activities that may restore your faith in humanity, these are it!
These sustainable Florida Keys points of interest we are highlighting are utilizing all their efforts to shield their group and surroundings. It’s fairly unimaginable to study totally different species, causes, and just by stopping by you’re serving to all while enjoying your vacation.
Use your visit and vacationer dollars to go in the direction of funding native companies or organizations who’re doing one thing constructive for the area people or surroundings just by visiting! From organizations serving to rehabilitate injured wildlife, visiting a protected setting, to sustainable eating and consuming!
These Florida Keys points of interest are appropriate for all types of travelers from families to couples like us. From seeing sea turtles, exotic birds, consuming a beer in the direction of a trigger, to eating delicious fish who are evasive and NEED to be eaten. We actually loved learning concerning the totally different organizations and companies who’re utilizing their efforts for a constructive influence. Take a look at our picks for nice stops and sustainable Florida Keys points of interest on your subsequent go to.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Our first sustainable Florida Keys attraction is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, the USA first underwater protect defending the Florida Keys barrier reef over 70 nautical miles.
John Pennekamp State Park consists of mangroves, seagrass beds, and the underwater barrier coral reef system.
Pennekamp can also be included within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which covers the Florida Reef, the one barrier coral reef system within the continental US and protects simply in need of three,000 sq. nautical miles of ocean waters all through South Florida and the Florida Keys.
John Pennekamp State Park was founded in 1963 as an underwater preserve to shield the marine ecosystem and coral reefs.
Visitors can take pleasure in walking via the mangroves on a trail, hanging out on the seashores, snorkeling, scuba dive, and kayak. This can be a protected area with wildlife, so you will undoubtedly see iguanas basking in the solar, fish, and maybe even crocodiles simply by hanging out around the shoreline close to the visitor’s middle.
John Pennekamp can also be the most effective Florida Keys attraction in case you are a fan of snorkeling. Key Largo has a number of the greatest snorkeling in the Keys due to its location close to the Florida Reefs. The customer middle does a number of snorkeling trips a day.
We went on a snorkeling tour to the Key Largo dry rocks the place you’ll be able to snorkel among the coral reef with tropical fish and go to the Christ of the Abyss underwater statue.
The Christ of the Abyss is a 4,000 lb bronze statue placed underwater in 1961. The Italian artist Guido Galletti is chargeable for the mould of the statue which the unique forged is situated in the Mediterranean Sea as an ode to misplaced men at sea off the coast of the Italian Riviera.
This one is likely one of the many duplicate casts made which were placed worldwide, lots of that are underwater but you will discover some in churches and museums the world over. This one was donated to the Underwater Society of America as a gift which was placed right here.
You can snorkel right up to the statue as the palms reaching above his head are just some ft under the surface of the water. Nevertheless, we extremely advocate not touching the statue as there’s hearth coral everywhere in the statue which you may be sorely sorry for those who contact.
We advocate spending a day visiting John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, considered one of our favourite sustainable Florida Keys points of interest to help defending the natural areas surrounding the world from the coral reef, mangroves, to grass beds making it a sanctuary for the wildlife who stay within the space.
In case you’re wanting to become involved you possibly can volunteer at John Pennekamp.
Shield your Pores and skin Responsibly
In the event you plan on getting within the water we urge you to use reef protected sunscreen. Do you know that the majority sunscreens are crammed with chemical compounds which might be toxic and dangerous to the setting? Two dangerous chemical compounds typically found in sunscreen are oxybenzone and octinoxate that contribute to coral bleaching. Different dangerous chemical compounds embrace petrolatum and titanium dioxide.
Shockingly, the visitor middle doesn’t sell reef protected sunscreen so you will have to come ready your self and plan prematurely. We’ve picked out a couple of you should purchase on-line prematurely to put together in your trip under.
Observe: many reef protected sunscreens require a bit extra time to ‘apply’ as there’s typically zinc in the sunscreen, some depart a white look. We found Thinksport to be one of the easier reef protected sunscreens to apply. Should you apply a small quantity at a time it’s much easier to apply!
Florida Keys Brewing Company
One in every of our favorite Florida Keys points of interest that give back includes certainly one of our favorite things to do, consuming beer! The Florida Keys Brewing Firm situated in Islamorada is the first brewery within the Higher Keys with a powerful array of different beers to attempt on faucet and a must go to if you’re visiting the Florida Keys when you’re a beer fanatic like we are.
You could be questioning why a brewery has made it on this listing of sustainable Florida Keys points of interest.
In addition to having a powerful amount of beers on tap to attempt, the Florida Keys Brewing Firm additionally typically has a rotational faucet that goes in the direction of an area trigger.
Throughout our go to, they have been serving a restricted version Double Hibiscus Kolsch made with native honey. A part of their gross sales go in the direction of the nonprofit organization the Mote Marine Laboratory who is engaged on the Florida Keys disease outbreak generally known as the Coral Tissue Loss Disease that has coral mortality charges of 80% placing their reefs susceptible to extinction.
Scientists at the Mote Marine Laboratory are engaged on illness analysis to restore the reefs. By ordering this beer and consuming it you’re helping fund this trigger.
The faucets and causes change. While we have been visiting the Wild Chook Middle, one other sustainable Florida Keys attraction we mention next, we discovered that the Florida Keys Brewing Firm additionally had a beer on tap a couple of years back that raised funds for the hen middle. They named the beer after one of the superstar fowl residents who now name the fowl middle his everlasting house since he can’t thrive in the wild, a masked boobie named Boobie.
We actually admire seemingly common businesses who are doing cool initiatives like this to assist their area people and setting and its a trigger we will drink to!
Make sure to cease along your Florida Keys trip and see which cause you possibly can drink to. You’ll additionally discover that they’ve a fun colourful setting and a stunning beer garden to take pleasure in your chilly brew on a scorching Florida Keys type of day.
Florida Keys Wild Hen Middle
Another unimaginable sustainable Florida Keys attraction is the Florida Keys Wild Fowl Middle in Tavernier, Florida. This can be a family-friendly activity the place you get to see and experience all types of untamed chook species whereas your go to helps fund a very good trigger. There are two amenities right here, one is the Mission Wild Hen Hospital where they accept injured birds and rehabilitate them for launch and the second being the Laura Quinn Wild Chook Sanctuary where the injured birds who couldn’t absolutely get well and thrive within the wild have their new everlasting loving eternally residence.
The Mission Wild Chook Hospital isn’t open to the general public for the areas the place they’re treating and dealing on the birds, nevertheless, that is where yow will discover the schooling middle and present store.
The Laura Quinn Wild Chook Sanctuary is a must cease. Walk alongside the boardwalk to the permanent residents here and see wild birds you might have by no means seen before. The birds have open-air enclosures and you may learn each fowl’s story along the best way strolling by way of together with the background of the species, the fowl’s identify, and the damage that introduced them right here.
A lot of the injured birds brought right here for medical help are absolutely rehabilitated and launched again into the wild. Additionally they supply an emergency chook hotline in the event you encounter an injured chook that seeks medical help.
This complete facility is a conservation nonprofit organization and runs off of donations and grants and the help of volunteers. If you visit the Chook Sanctuary there isn’t a admission, just a recommended donation you might give. They advocate $10 per individual, but you’re in a position to pay what you possibly can afford or want to give.
When you stroll by way of this facility, meet the birds, and skim their backstory you’ll be able to’t assist however want to donate and give again. Our favorite fowl was Booby, a masked booby who greeted us with curiosity once we have been walking via the sanctuary. He simply stood on the fence taking a look at us taking a look at him, he had a very lovable character.
It turns out that Booby is somewhat of an area legend and its not just our hearts he’s gained over, guests love Booby. He’s so famous that in 2017 the Florida Keys Brewing Firm truly named a limited edition beer after Boobie, a salted caramel milk stout, they usually gave a number of the proceeds from sales on this specific beer back to the Wild Hen Middle to help fund their rehabilitation packages.
It was actually heartwarming to see native corporations taking care of each other like that and supporting a very good cause.
How one can assist
Guests who want to help extra can even donate online and even undertake a fowl! The chook adoption packages money goes in the direction of weight-reduction plan, care, and maintaining the animal’s enclosure for both one to three years of adoption packages. Every adoption comes with info on the hen you’re helping. This can be a fun present concept for animal lovers!
One other superb sustainable Florida Keys attraction for animal lovers is the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida. The Turtle Hospital is very similar to the Florida Keys Wild Hen Middle, it’s a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to the rehabilitation and rescuing of injured endangered sea turtles.
That is truly a very fashionable roadside attraction in the Keys and requires a reservation to hop on a spot on the tour where you get to study these endangered species and tour the amenities the place you get to see turtles within the rehabilitation course of.
This is the world’s largest Turtle Hospital that can hold up to 300 turtles. Throughout our visit there have been 55 sea turtles in the facility who have been being treated. The three essential causes for turtle injuries and why they’re brought for medical attention is due to human waste in the waters, pollution, and boat strikes.
As soon as a turtle is struck by a boat they typically get an damage to their shells that make it unattainable for them to dive underwater as their tail end floats they usually can’t go under the surface to eat. This is called ‘bubble butt’ because of their lack of ability to not dive under the floor due to their floating rear end. While this seems like a cute identify, it’s very sad because if the turtles don’t seek medical help they will’t get their meals.
Typically the turtles who are available with a extreme case of bubble butt can’t ever be launched again into the wild. They’ve to have particular weights hooked up to their shells so they can sink. Typically, these turtles remain a permanent resident right here on the Turtle Hospital or are found eternally houses at aquariums all through the US because they may never have the ability to survive the wild on their own.
Different turtles don’t have such a tragic destiny although, there are various which are successfully launched again into the wild after receiving remedy and full rehabilitation.
It was unimaginable to study how many sea turtles lives they have saved and being able to see them in individual was fascinating. The guided excursions are 90 minutes and begin with a background on info on the totally different species of turtles you’ll meet, a tour of the hospital together with a cease at the place the turtles receive remedy and surgery, and last a walk by way of the rehabilitation tanks where the sea turtles are spending their time getting healthy once more.
That is one other great stop for families or animal lovers, we do extremely urge you to call prematurely and arrange an appointment as their guided excursions refill quick.
Call the Marathon Turtle Hospital to reserve your spot on a tour (305) 743-2552
How you can assist
Identical to the Wild Hen Middle, the Turtle Hospital is run utterly off donations. The tour does value $25 per adult and $12 per youngster. You can donate further money on-line in addition to undertake a everlasting resident turtle for $35 a yr. With the adoption, you will receive updates out of your turtle throughout the year and assist fund its care. One other nice present concept for animal lovers!
Castaway Waterfront Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Marathon
After testing all these sustainable Florida Keys points of interest you may need built up an appetite. Castaway Waterfront Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Marathon doubles as a terrific place to eat and a sustainable Florida Keys attraction.
Throughout current years, nonnative lionfish have been threatening the marine surroundings off the Florida Keys. The lionfish are an invasive species which might be able to inflicting the extinction of native crops and animals. These venomous fish have a spine that stings which makes them a species that doesn’t have many predators. Their presence in the waters right here was a surprise seeing how they are native to the Indo-Pacific waters to everybody here. With out many predators, their inhabitants shortly grew.
The lionfish have been shortly wiping out juvenile faculties of fish at such a fee that the local fish populations noticed a menace as these fish are usually not in a position to reach maturity with this new predator round. As well as, lionfish females can spawn up to 2 million eggs per yr. The population shortly grew and it was a problem and menace to native species.
Fishing for lionfish is much more troublesome. Their spines are venomous they usually hang out in deeper waters. You actually can only catch lionfish by spearfishing making them a bit more durable to hunt typically.
Their lack of predators, giant urge for food, speedy copy, and quick progress create havoc for the native fish inhabitants.
However, it turns out lionfish is definitely quite a tasty fish to eat too! Searching in mass portions is tough since you want expert spear fishermen to get them. Some restaurants within the Florida Keys do supply lionfish on their menus together with Castaway Waterfront Restaurant & Sushi Bar.
John, the proprietor of Castaway, sat down with us and discussed the background of those fish, why they’re harmful, and what he’s executed to help with this invasive species. Being an avid underwater fisherman himself he and his workforce catch their very own fish and lionfish that they serve of their restaurant.
You can all the time discover lionfish on the menu here. We have been in a position to attempt it in sushi type which was FANTASTIC!
This is among the most sustainable fish you possibly can eat since searching and eating them immediately helps the local underwater ecosystem!
Disclaimer: This content material was produced in partnership with the Florida Keys & Key West. Nevertheless, all opinions and content material shared are our own.
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