Ahh, the backcountry of Key West. Flats that extend for miles in either direction, full of game fish, sharks, rays, tarpon and other surprises. Get up close and see it all on one of the island’s many discovery tours. Go kayaking or have a guide drive you to the remotest areas where nature thrives and excitement rules.
What Makes Key West so Special?
Key West is a sub-tropical island set way out in the Atlantic Ocean, 120 miles from the mainland. To the north, we have the Gulf of Mexico and to the south, we have the Atlantic. There are miles and miles of backcountry around this island, too.
All of this means there is a thriving marine ecosystem out there just waiting to be explored. Key West eco tours will take visitors to remote areas to view wildlife and discover nature in a non-obtrusive way so we harm the environment as little as possible. If you’re an eco-tour newbie, here’s what you can expect:
- Some eco tours take a boat of visitors to special spots to view dolphins
- Some tours will take visitors to a remote spot to snorkel an area that’s not frequented by the bigger tour companies
- Some eco tours involve boating out to a remote spot for kayaking on the flats and amongst the mangroves.
Whatever form is taken, an eco-tour means you get to discover nature at your own pace, silently and carefully. These trips are great for picture-taking, too.
What About Diving?
Key West diving is an exciting way to see the living coral reef that’s just minutes away from shore. Experienced divers and novices alike can get out to the reef and discover the underwater world that surrounds the reef system in our waters.
Even if you’re new to diving, you can take a short course and get temporarily certified for some scuba on vacation. If you really love it, why not get certified for real after you return from Key West? Diving is a lifelong sport that you can enjoy for years to come. There are dozens of charter companies in Key West ready to take you out to the reef or to a wreck for some fun exploration.
What Makes the Coral Reef Near Key West so Special
Key West diving is such a big deal because we are just six miles from the only living coral reef system in North America. That means an amazing diversity of marine life and a thriving, diverse ecosystem out there. All sorts of coral flourish on the reef, from soft coral species to hard coral, like rock.
The reef fish that make snorkeling and diving so popular abound everywhere on the reef, from zebrafish to parrotfish and Sargent majors to all kinds of jacks, snapper, rays and more! A Key West diving trip will take you out to the best areas of the reef, like Eastern Dry Rocks or Sand Key Light, for the best time ever discovering the coral reef.