By Alina Sedano
Your outdoor fitness guide to the Florida Keys
So you’re vacationing in the Florida Keys….. enjoying those lazy afternoons, floating around in the ocean, and eating the delicious local food. After a few days of slowing down your rpm’s from city to island speed, you begin to miss your Crossfit box, yoga studio, or spinning classes. You want to get your heart rate pumping again; and searching for a place to work off those extra conch fritter and key lime pie calories.
Well look no further! The Florida Keys is a playground for fitness enthusiasts. You just need to think outside of the box! (pun intended) Here’s a list of my favorite outdoor fitness activities in the Florida Keys. You’ll be able to work off some calories and have fun in the sun at the same time. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen, a bottle of water, and bathing suit… for a quick dip in the ocean after your workout in the sun.
Kayak in Key Largo
Head on over to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for a fun day of kayaking and explore the Park’s 50 miles of natural mangrove wilderness trail. Get lost in nature as you paddle through the park’s winding trails, filled with beautiful scenery and wildlife. Work on your tan and get some Vitamin D while you tone and strengthen your upper body paddling through the trails. There are two beaches inside the Park, so you can relax and have a picnic on the beach after your kayak excursion.
Bike Ride in Islamorada
Ride on over to Islamorada, which offers some of the most bike-friendly areas in the Florida Keys. Islamorada is known for it’s beautiful scenic pathways; and also boasts an array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Start off at MM83 just after the Postcard Inn and over the bridge, making your way down to see the fishermen displaying there prized catches at Bud & Mary’s Marina mile marker 79. If you’re up for some adventure and don’t mind riding across bridges & next to cars (totally optional & at your discretion), make your way down to Anne’s Beach on Mile Marker 73.5 Oceanside.This little gem of a beach is a perfect place to cool off after working out those legs.
Run in Marathon
No, you won’t being running a marathon in Marathon, Florida … but you’ll have one of the best times running, jogging or walking the Old Seven Mile Bridge. Running this bridge is a euphoric experience with it’s crystal clear blue waters twinkling in your eyes and salty wind blowing through your hair. The rusting railroad tracks serve as guard rails, as you make your way down 2.2 miles to Pigeon Key. Every so often, you’ll have the occasional pelican or seagull swoop down from the blue sky and fly past you to cheer you on. Get there during sunrise or sunset for the most spectacular views. Getting your cardio in has never been so amazing!
Paddle Board in Big Pine Key
Bring your paddleboard or rent one in Big Pine Key and head on over to Bahia Honda State Park. Paddleboarding is an eco-friendly way to explore the lower Keys where you can check out the marine life in it’s natural habitat – without disturbing the fishies down below. Bahia Honda is known for it’s scenic family friendly beaches and Henry Flagler’s railroad to Key West. After getting in a great upper body workout while exploring Bahia Honda by paddle board, walk on over to the Atlantic side of the Park to relax on the beach with the locals.
Snorkel the Lower Keys
Take a snorkel trip and explore the underwater beauty of Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. You definitely don’t want to miss this underwater playground, especially since it’s been rated the #1 snorkel & dive destination in North America. Looe Key Reef is home to parrot fish, Goliath groupers, sea turtles, sharks and rays. It’s clear aqua blue waters and sea life will make you feel as if you have been transported to another world. Swimming alongside some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures will take your breath away and tone your entire body!
Walk Key West
Walking Key West in the early morning is the best way to explore this historical and colorful piece of paradise, before the crowds from the cruise ships take over Duval Street. Take a stroll over to Mallory Square and walk down the beautifully tree lined Whitehead Street… which is home to the Key West Shipwreck Museum, Audobon House & Tropical Gardens, Ernest Hemingway’s Home & Museum and the Southernmost Point. It’s only a 1 mile walk from Mallory Square to the end of the street at the Southernmost Point , where there’s plenty of interesting & historical stops in between. Bahama Village, Fort Zachary State Park, & Truman Annex are all located off Whitehead Street; just make sure to wear some comfy shoes. If you want to cool down once you hit the Southernmost Point, head on over to Higgs Beach for a dip in the ocean. Don’t forget your sunscreen and water!