Vacationing in the Florida Keys with Children (Part 1)

How to  vacation in the Florida Keys with Children

Surprises are not my strong suit, so when Mike walked into my room a couple weeks ago, and asked if I wanted to drive to the Florida Keys… in 72 hours, it threw me for a loop.

Last minute week long vacation? What about the dogs? Will someone watch Poochie? If so, then who? Raynes? Are the Grandmas overspent already? Snorkeling gear? Have I had my oil changed? Do I have time to do it tomorrow? Surely he is kidding. 

These are the kind of crazy thoughts that start going through my head.  I am a planner. I like to know what I am doing ahead of time, organize a list that gets checked off long before we drive away in a fully gassed car, freshly changed oil, GPS destination set vehicle. As I was complaining about, “whose going to watch Raynes” Mike said something that stuck a chord with me. He said, “Garrett, if we wait until Raynes is old enough to go on trips like this, Britton will be too old.” Such a wise guy that husband of mine, must be why I’ve kept him around for 15 years.

While I did have to ultimately stay back a few days with a sick little Raynes, I am glad I flew down and joined them. My highlight was going to be staying home and getting the girl’s rooms cleaned really well. Well, that took about one hour then I was just… well, sitting in a clean house without all my family. Lesson learned. Mike did awesome, traveling with the girls by himself and enjoying a father-daughter  vacation without me.

Growing up, while my Dad was good, he sure as heck never took my sister and me on trips by himself. I think Mike had a new appreciation for me when I finally did arrive- those hair bows and outfit dilemmas can be tricky.

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Here are a few tips if you are planning a family vacation to the Florida Keys:

Try to time your trip around lobster season (or min-lobster).

Lobstering in the Florida Keys

Vacation in the Keys with friends- it’s a great place for more than 1 family to travel since most of your time is spent in (and on) the water.

Lobstering in the Florida Keys

If you aren’t lobstering, at least let your children see a live Florida lobster.  It’s a rite of passage down there.
Lobstering in the Florida Keys

To my surprise, our girls loved being both on and in the water- Kenley in particular. If anyone knows how to ‘save’ an instagram video, please let me know. I’m still old school and don’t know how to transfer all these fancy ivideos so I can keep them for posterity.     

Bring snorkel gear.   If you kid can swim, he can snorkel.  Invest in a decent mask because nothing is more annoying than salt water getting into  your mask and ultimately in your eyes.
Lobstering in the Florida Keys

 

Take lots of beach towels, snacks, bottled waters and sun screen (and life vests in boating)
Lobstering in the Florida Keys

 

Have a boat or plan to rent one- the fish and coral reefs are beautiful and it would be a shame to travel there and not get the opportunity to see this

Lobstering in the Florida Keys
Enjoy the sunsets.  Sounds like a simple enough idea but it’s easy to get side tracked in the Keys and you wouldn’t want to miss the view.
Lobstering in the Florida Keys with Kids
Check out VRBO for affordable and convenient housing.  Ideally, rent something on the water so you can tie your boat off right by your house and hop on it again the following morning.  It’s a lot easier to have the boat nearby when you are with your children.  Trailoring a boat with sandy, sun-burnt babies in the car isn’t any fun.
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Bring a plastic bag of some sort for your underwater treasures (and learn about them before).
Lobstering in the Florida Keys
Bring your kayak (or paddle board) in the event you’re near or on the canal.
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How to  vacation in the Florida Keys with Children

 

 

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Travel to Key West one day. They have a great sunset festival, shopping, art, restaurants and more stray cats the better.

 

 

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Visit the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy.

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Check out the small Key Deer that run along US Highway

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Check out the small Key Deer that run along US Highway

We had a great time vacationing in the Florida Keys with children- so much to do we could’ve stayed another week.

 

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