Going Green in the Keys



Description:

People are drawn to the Florida Keys to experience the islands' priceless natural resources, not to mention the healing therapy they provide to the mind, body and soul. The Keys have a heritage of conservation and protection of these resources that is a century old, demonstrating the region’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the future of the island chain. Green travel is abundant in the Keys, with transportation, accommodations, attractions, activities, dining, shopping, even volun-tourism programs.

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Author: Julie


Day 1 - Key West


Touted as the only "frost-free" Key West tropical forest and botanical garden in the US, attention to this island gem has exploded - in a good way! Do NOT miss it, or forget the camera. Key West is largely a pedestrian city, and bicycles are a close second. There is nothing easier and more enjoyable than to see the city on two wheels, the sun on your back, wind at your face. In two hours you can cover the sights, map your stay, then get busy seeing the rest of the natural wonders. Part of Florida's Green Lodging Program, which establishes environmental guidelines for hotels and motels to conserve natural resources by implementing water- saving measures, executing energy-saving techniques, helping reduce solid waste and taking steps to prevent pollution.


1

Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

Location:

1316 Duval Street
Key West, FL 33040

Contact:

tel: +1 305 296 2988


2

Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden

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Location:

5210 College Road
Key West, FL 33040-4302

Contact:

tel: +1 305 296 1504


3

Key West Bike Tour

Location:

Key West, Florida


4

The Wicker Guest House

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Location:

913 Duval Street
Key West, FL 33040

Contact:

fax: 305-294-7240


Day 3 - Key West, Big Pine Key


One of the top ten sights and best beaches in the Keys, and one of the most-photographed sites for sunsets, the old Bahia Honda bridge is one of those 'screen saver' moments. Tweet about it, add it to your blog, keep the memory forever. Birdwatching is THE largest growing sport in the world. Florida Keys' migratory bird routes and refuges are carefully mapped and followed, and the herons are celebrated each year with bird festivals.


1

West Martello Tower

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Location:

Atlantic Boulevard
Key West, FL 33040

Contact:

tel: +1 305 294 3210


2

Bahia Honda State Park

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expert pick

Location:

Mile Marker 37.5
Big Pine Key
Key West, FL 33043

Contact:

tel: +1 305 872 2353


3

Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge

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Location:

P.O. Box 430510
Big Pine Key, FL 33043-0510

Contact:

tel: 305-872-2239


4

Deer Run Bed & Breakfast

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Location:

Long Beach Road
Big Pine Key, FL 33043

Contact:

tel: +1 305 872 2015


Day 4 - Big Pine Key, Marathon


What can I say? People love baby deer, and these short pints are no exception. Crane Point is one of Marathon's most fascinating hammocks and nature preserves. Aside from the museum, the trails are well worth a shady stroll through the mangrove tree canopies, and just a short travel distance back to make a stop at Pigeon Key before you head back to the B&B for an evening of stargazing. Two ways you can do this: take the ferry boat (last one at 2:30pm), but the GREEN way is to walk the Old Seven Mile Bridge (just over 2 miles), then take about an hour to stroll around and inside the little museum on the island and soak in the history of the railway. TAKE SOME H2O with you to refuel, and keep your eyes peeled along the walk back over the bridge for spotted eagle rays, turtles and sharks, roaming the shallows below.


1

National Key Deer Refuge

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expert pick

Location:

28950 Watson Boulevard
Big Pine Key Plaza
Big Pine Key, FL 33043

Contact:

tel: +1 305 872 2239
fax: +1 305 872 3675


2

Museum of Natural History of the Florida Keys

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Location:

Mile Marker 50.5 Bayside
5550 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL 33050

Contact:

tel: +1 305 743 9100


3

Pigeon Key

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Location:

Pigeon Key Foundation
P.O Box 500130
Marathon, FL 33050

Contact:

tel: +1 305 289 0025


Day 5 - Grassy Key, Marathon


The center and its staff have been bestowed numerous awards, and they specialize in behavioral research and maintain liaisons with university research programs and independent scientists around the world. You can participate in educational programs that provide knowledge and insights about dolphins, their environment and their remarkable abilities. Even basic math! This stop is along your way if you drive out of the Keys (in your SmartCar!), and in an hour's time you'll be hooked. Another quick stop if you are passing through Marathon anyway! Have a picnic lunch, take a spin in a kayak, or you could easily catch some kiteboarders out along the beach if the wind's up. It's a well-kept secret, their launch is here.


1

Dolphin Research Center

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Location:

58901 Overseas Highway
Grassy Key, FL 33050

Contact:

tel: +1 305 289 1121 / +1 305 289 0002
fax: +1 305 743 7627


2

Curry Hammock State Park

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Location:

56200 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL 33050

Contact:

tel: +1 305 289 2690


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