Palm trees, snorkeling, coral reefs and Jimmy Buffet – just a few of the favorite things synonymous with the Florida Keys. An archipelago of more than 1,000 islands, the Florida Keys is the prime resort destination spot for Americans who want a little bit of the Caribbean without having to leave the country.  The six main islands welcome travelers all year-round who book flights to the Florida Keys for a warm-weather getaway or a bit of relaxation from the hectic nature of everyday life. 

First stop: Key Largo. Take a dive in the crystal-blue waters or hire a guided tour to explore some of the century-old wreckages. Made even more popular thanks to the song of the same name by Florida-born recording artist Bertie Higgins in the 1980s, lovers and dreamers alike find themselves sailing away to Key Largo. Just south of Key Largo is the island of Islamorada. Most travelers will opt to sail to Islamorada, as opposed to fly to this Florida Key island, because of its vast fishing opportunities. Marathon Key is the middle-most island known to many travelers as the “resort key.” Further south are the Lower Florida Keys, where “laid back” takes on an entirely other meaning. Boating is the number one attraction at Big Pine Key, while snorkeling and diving take the lead in Looe Key. Likely the most popular island is Key West, the last of the big islands and the most visited by travelers booking cheap Florida Keys flights for a drink in Margaritaville. Parrotheads flock to Key West, the home of Jimmy Buffet, to walk the pristine beaches before heading to beachside pubs and lounges, where the singer is known to partake in a few impromptu performances.

Whether you’re in the mood for world-class fishing or a cheeseburger in paradise, hop a flight to the Florida Keys and escape everyday life, if only for a weekend.

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Florida Keys climate

The Florida Keys is a year-round travel destination known for its warmth, sunshine and near-perfect beach weather. Travel to the Florida Keys is most popular during the winter months when the Northerners are looking to escape the frigid winter cold. But this is also when flights to the Florida Keys are most expensive. For cheap flights to the Florida Keys, book your Florida Keys travel during the summer and fall seasons. At the peak of summer, the average high is 89º F. The weather is still warm and pleasant but the threat of hurricanes during this time is present.

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Best Time to Fly to Florida Keys

Peak Season

The busiest times in the Florida Keys is during the winter and spring months. The weather is warm, the sun is shining and the beaches are packed with people looking to thaw-out from the cold winter air. The Florida Keys is also a big Spring Break destination so be prepared for crowded Florida Keys flights and hotels if you're traveling during this time.

Off Season

Smart Floridians know to head to the Florida Keys during the summer months to "cool off" from the hot and humid air inland. But this is also hurricane season (August - November) so the weather can change at a second. However, it's likely you'll find cheap flights to the Florida Keys and discounted hotels and resorts during the summer and fall months, when the peak tourist season has ended.

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Getting around Florida Keys

The best way to explore the Florida Keys is by car, but the Overseas Highway can be extremely busy, particularly at weekends and over holiday periods, so patience is required. This is the only main road in and out of the Keys. In Key West, parking can be difficult; park-and-ride shuttles and taxis are available and recommended.

Buses are available as well. The Dade-Monroe Express bus runs from Key Marathon to Florida City, offering round trips on the hour and stopping on demand. Greyhound runs a Keys shuttle bus several times a day between Miami International Airport, stopping at all major points along the Keys.

Cycling is a pleasant way to explore the individual Keys, and scooter rentals are also popular.

Where to stay:

Key West is a peak-season destination, which means hotels and accommodations are significantly higher during the winter and spring months. Hotels in the Florida Keys during the off-season are $100-$150 cheaper than the peak-season times (which can cost upwards of $200/night, depending on where you stay). However, you can get great deals for peak travel if you book in advance. Consider staying at a bed-and-breakfast instead of a resort or, book an all-inclusive getaway and wrap meals, drinks, WiFi and activity rates into your room rate.

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Florida Keys Travel Information

  • Key Largo has some of the best diving opportunities in the world. Take a day and explore the underwater reefs and wrecks. It is also home to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, a spectacular underwater park. If you don't dive or scuba, and prefer to stay above water, book a tour on a glass-bottom boat so you can the underwater world without getting your feet wet.  
  • Duval Street in Key West is the up-and-coming artist's district. Take a stroll through many of the galleries and boutiques. After a day of shopping, head to Mallory Square (end of Duval) for the "Sunset Fest." Everyone gathers here nightly to watch the gorgeous Keys sunset while musicians and street acts perform in the background.
  • If you're staying on the island of Islamorada, you'll want to bring your fishing gear. Islamorada has more fishing vessels per square mile than any other vacation destination in the world.
  • Take a trip to Big Pine Key and be on the lookout for the island's native Key Deer. These rare white tail deer roam Big Pine Key because of the island's lush forestland and natural landscape.

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Florida Keys airports

Key West International Airport (EYW)

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Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.
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