We set off early for our first day of the Key’s, unusual for me, and it only took 20 minutes from our Florida City Travelodge to be at our first destination, which was Mile 106, the Key Largo Visitors Centre.
The Keys only has one road, the overseas hwy 1 which goes from one end to the other which is roughly something like 120 miles, don’t quote me on that! All the attractions are identified by the mile marker they are nearest to. It’s a pretty impressive drive and the bits I’ve driven so far I’ve really enjoyed.
So after some Internet research the night before we thought it best to start at the visitors centre to get information on where is best to go. There are loads of these places around. We were in there for an hour and ended up buying tickets for a snorkelling trip, a nighttime dinner cruise and a ‘Do it All’ package for when we were in Key West (the bottom). The visitors centre also gives you hotel recommendations, and drinks and meal discount vouchers.
From there we headed to Mile 58 to visit the Dolphin Research Centre. The admission for this place is $20, under 4 go free. Here you can do a variety if activities with the dolphins including; painting with them, swimming with them, training them or what we chose to do was a 10 minute meet the dolphins. This was $25 each and we got to stroke them and shake hands with them. It was great and a slightly less expensive way of seeing them. As Faye is three, she isn’t old enough to do most things with the dolphins. She can swim with them but is classed as a ‘hipster’ and has to stay on an adults hip the whole time. To swim with them it’s $199 per person and $50 for a hipster, it’s pretty expensive any where you go, the thing you can do is see where offers the longest swimming time and what the group size is, the smaller the better. If you chose not to do an activity with the dolphins, you can still pay the admission and walk around the centre where there are loads of dolphins to see and you can get really close to them. There is also a few shows they put on throughout the day as well as a sprinkler playground and a gift shop. We were at the centre around two hours.
We then drove onto Mile 48 to see the Turtle Hospital. This is, as it says, a hospital for sick and injured turtles. They run 90minute educational tours of the hospital for $15 per person and under 4 go free. This was a great and I actually learnt a lot as well as being able to see lots of turtles. I’m hoping not to run into a Leatherback Turtle when we go on our snorkelling trip as they grow up to six and a half feet long and that’s only their shell!
After all the animal excitement of the day we went to find our hotel at Mile 50, the Kingsail Resort and went for an evening swim before crashing in bed.
We loved our stay at the Kingsail despite it having mediocre reviews. We paid £40 for the room. Two double beds, clean white decor, fridge, flat screen tele, microwave, wifi and private decking outside our room. It had a lovely heated pool but unfortunately no breakfast. Our decking was two steps away from a private boating area which was lovely – room 141.