Stretching like a keyboard out into the blue sea, the Florida Keys offer some magical pairings, some harmonious chords that can be played in a romantic medley.
...play me a memory...
Leave the mainland and pull into Key Largo and head straight for Kona Kai Resort & Gallery, a tropical oasis tucked between the lush foliage and the clear-blue waters of Florida Bay. Luxuriate in any of the resort's eleven distinctly decorated guest rooms and suites, each boasting 320-thread-count, 100-percent-cotton sheets with coverlets. Go for a leisurely walk through the orchid house, which features more than 250 orchids, and through a tropical fruit garden with rare and exotic fruits to enjoy. Call on the resort's massage therapists for an indulgent bit of relaxation. Catch the brilliantly colored sunset while enjoying conch fritters and a fresh catch of the day at Sundowners. Don snorkeling gear and dip into the waters near the Statue of Christ of the Abyss. Dart between the coral formations of Key Largo Dry Rocks reef in just 25 feet of water with a symphony of colorful fish. The resort is open to adults only (16 and older).
...we're all in the mood for a melody...
Head to Islamorada to shop at the World Wide Sportsman and check out some great local artists at Gallery Morada and the Rain Barrel Sculpture Gallery. Walk hand-in-hand through a bougainvillea-draped walkway to reach Pierre's, serving local seafood with a French-Caribbean influence. Toast the sun's setting at Pierre's Green Flash Lounge.
The next day, continue down the Keys to Hawks Cay Resort, on Duck Key near Marathon. Settle into a private villa and read through a score of resort activities – dolphin encounters, sunset cruises, kayaking, parasailing, segway tours, kiteboarding. You probably won't be able to get through your entire list of island adventures, but with so many enchanting things to do, you won't mind. Dining options cover the gamut, with 10 restaurants on site and many more within a 20-minute drive.
...and you've got us feelin' alright...
In the bright morning, head over to the Key Deer Refuge located on Big Pine Key for a walk through an orchestra of tropical hardwood hammock in search of the tiny Key deer (they wander free, so you're likely to see them all over Big Pine Key). And then mosey to Little Torch Key to board the free boat out to the world-class Little Palm Island Resort and Spa. What could be more romantic than a remote island paradise ringed in white sands and amazingly blue waters? Meander among the thatched huts, the deserted beaches and the palms. Lunch at a table in the sand on classic European preparations fused with fresh Floridian, Caribbean and pan-Latin flavors with the warm waters lapping at your feet.
Drive along US 1 out over the ocean, flanked on either side by vast, shallow expanses of the Gulf's crystalline waters and the Caribbean's azure waves. Pull into downtown Key West with its fanciful colors, walking streets and gingerbread and conch houses. The chorus of activity buzzes from sidewalk cafés and locals making their ways amid flowered lanes. Check into the harmonious Frances Street Bottle Inn, nestled under a tropical canopy, featuring romantic porch seating areas.
Stroll out through the historic downtown streets. Wander through the nightly Sunset Celebration – an aria of brilliantly arrayed street performers, musicians, vendors and the duet of sun and sea. Walk over to the relaxed and elegant Square One Restaurant for seared jumbo lump crab cakes or slow-roasted whole garlic in extra virgin olive oil. The menu changes quarterly, so wander in for a culinary adventure. Join the revelry at Hog's Breath Saloon – there's live music nearly every night. And you've got us feelin' alright.
Resorts, restaurants and romance in the Florida Keys.
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