In Big Pine Key wildlife refuges protect rare and endangered animals. You’ll leave behind the commercialism of the Upper Keys for an authentic back country atmosphere. This small group of islands is connected from the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge at Sunshine Key. You’ll find family-owned resorts, RV parks, campgrounds, quaint B&B’s and licensed vacation homes, as well as eclectic restaurants, native wildernesses and rich history. Make sure to visit Bahia Honda State Park , where you’ll find white sandy beaches and abundant wildlife. Frequently referred to as “one of the most beautiful beaches in America”. Shop, dine or explore the National Key Deer Refuge, where Key Deer live. Visit the freshwater habitat of the Blue Hole or No Name Key for a back country kayak adventure. View the beautiful beaches of Key Largo and the Florida Keys here.
Big Pine Key Weather – When to Visit
From mid-December through mid-April, it will get a little busy in Big Pine Key. From November to mid-December crowds are thinner, the weather is great, and hotels and shops drastically reduce their prices. Summer is the second busiest time, especially among families, Europeans, bargain-seekers, and lobster divers. From June through September, 90% humidity levels are not uncommon. But weather in the Keys is more moderate than in mainland Florida. The Keys also get much less rain than mainland Florida, mostly in quick downpours on summer afternoons. In hurricane season, June through November, the Keys get their fair share of warnings; pay attention to these, and evacuate earlier rather than later, when flights and automobile traffic get backed up.
Big Pine Key Attractions
Dry Tortugas National Park
Board the Yankee Freedom III for a ferry ride to The Dry Tortugas National Park. Made up of seven small islands, it is one of the world’s most unique eco attractions. Its crown jewel, the historic Fort Jefferson, was once used as a prison during the Civil War. Explore and learn of its history with one of our guides and enjoy an array of activities. There’s something for everyone.
Bahia Honda State Park
The park, encompassing over 500 acres and an offshore island offers some of the best snorkeling and beach combing in Florida. The perfect and quiet getaway for the entire family. The concession service provider offers a complete gift shop, snack bar, kayak rentals and daily snorkeling tours to the fabulous Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.
Anne’s Beach Park
This beach is best enjoyed at low tide. The nicest feature here is the elevated, wooden half-mile boardwalk that meanders through a natural wetland hammock. Covered picnic areas along the way give you places to relax and enjoy the view. Weekends are packed, since it’s the only public beach until you reach Marathon. This beach is best for snorkeling, swimming, and windsurfing.\.
Audubon House and Tropical Gardens
See John James Audubon’s works in this three-story house, which was built in the 1840s for Captain John Geiger and filled with period furniture. It now commemorates Audubon’s 1832 stop in Key West while he was traveling through Florida to study birds. After an introduction by a docent, you can do a self-guided tour of the house and gardens. An art gallery sells lithographs of the artist’s famed portraits.
Curry Hammock State Park
On the ocean and bay sides of Overseas Highway are 260 acres of upland hammock, wetlands, and mangroves. On the bay side, there’s a trail through thick hardwoods to a rocky shoreline. The ocean side is more developed, with a sandy beach, a clean bathhouse, picnic tables, a playground, grills, and a 28-site campground, each with electric and water. Locals consider the paddling trails under canopies of arching mangroves one of the best kayaking spots in the Keys. Manatees frequent the area, and it’s a great spot for bird-watching. Herons, egrets, ibis, plovers, and sanderlings are commonly spotted. Raptors are often seen in the park, especially during migration periods.
Things to Do In Big Pine Key
Keys Boat Tours
Keys Boat Tours is a recreational minded boat tour operation offering a variety of Florida Keys outings including; sail, motor, fish, stand up paddle board (SUP), kayak, snorkel, and eco. It is an option for the whole family, where dad can get his fishing in, but everyone can equally enjoy. Best of all, they keep it comfortable, so to avoid choppy waters. Telephone: 305-699-7166 Web: Key Boat Tours.
Big Pine Kayak Adventures
They specialize in Lower Florida Keys back country adventures including full and half-day kayaking nature tours, shallow water skiff eco tours, short and long-term kayak rentals, sailing catamaran cruises, and shallow-water fishing. Telephone: 305-872-7474 Web: Big Pine Kayak Adventures
Looe Key Dive Center
The most professional dive and snorkel charter boat in the Middle and Lower Keys, Looe Key Reef Resort and Dive Center, located at Mile Marker 27.5 on Ramrod Key, has been sharing the best of Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary since 1978 –
Lower Keys Adventure Charters
Specializing in Private Back Country Eco Tours, Fishing Charters, Snorkel Trips, and Sunset Cruises/Picnics for up to six people. The diversity of wildlife makes this area uniquely special Customize your trips to do exactly what you like. Telephone: 305-900-8240 Web: Lower Keys Adventure Charters
American Allegiance Charters
American Allegiance Charters offers back country and reef fishing, sunset cruises, island excursions,snorkeling and spearfishing in the lower Florida Keys. They have the world’s only glass bottom boat and tours feature trips to the reef for viewing without even getting wet. Telephone: 305-394-7400 Web: American Allegiance Charters
Best Big Pine Restaurants
Little Palm’s Dining Room Above $61
Experience the restaurant’s candlelit ambiance indoors, or opt for a table on their breezy terrace overlooking the beach. The Dining Room at Little Palm Island is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner for resort guests and off-island visitors. They also offer an incredible Sunday Brunch each week, monthly Full Moon Dinners, and Wine Maker Events. Reservations and proper attire are required. They welcome young adults age 16 and older. Telephone: 305-872-2524 Web: Little Palm’s Dining Room.
Good Food Conspiracy $11 – 30
This tiny spot on Big Pine Key has been an oasis for vegetarians for over 30 years, and they have the hippie vibe to prove it. Blink and you might miss it on the Overseas Highway, so watch for the “Juice Bar and Deli” sign. Inside the low-key natural food market, you’ll find a deli serving a variety of gluten-free soups, wraps, salads, juices, smoothies and desserts. Pull up a stool at the juice bar, or take your goodies out back to the picnic tables in the colorful herb garden. Try the Freeze–frozen organic fruit transformed into ice cream. Their Avocado Cheese Melt gets rave reviews, and meat-eaters will be happy to find tuna and range-fed turkey. Telephone: 305-872-3945 Web: Good Food Conspiracy.
No Name Pub $11 – 30
No Name Pub has been awarded top scores for food and service in the ZAGAT Survey’s Casual Dining category for many years running. The ZAGAT surveyed over 700 South Florida restaurants and rated the No Name Pub as the “Best casual dining experience in the Florida Keys ”. They went on to say, if you can find it you’ll be rewarded with the “best pizza anywhere”, chili, smoked fish dip and sandwiches served on paper plates in a real old rustic bar plastered with autographed dollar bills; those in the know say this Big Pine Key haunt is “worth the drive.” Telephone: 305-872-9115 Web: No Name Pub.
Square Grouper $11 – 30
The restaurant earns rave reviews with dishes that not only taste close-your-eyes-and-grin good, their presentation is lovely. For starters, try the flash-fried conch with wasabi drizzle or home-smoked fish dip. Then perhaps order the seafood pasta with key lime butter sauce. It’s okay to drool. Upstairs, chef Lynn has opened a beatnik-style tapas bar. Telephone: 305-745-8880 Web: Square Grouper
Lazy Days South (Marathon Key) $11 – 30
This restaurant offers views just as spectacular as its highly regarded food. Here you’ll find a wide range of daily offerings from fried or sautéed conch and a coconut-fried fish du jour sandwich to seafood pastas and beef tips over rice. Choose a table on the outdoor deck, or inside underneath paddle fans and surrounded by local art. Telephone: 305-289-0839 Web: Lazy Days South
Best Big Pine Bars
Springer’s Bar & Grill
Springer’s Bar and Grill offers the best food, drinks and live music in the Florida Keys! They offer mouth watering menu items that are sure to please your palate and fill you up. From our Duval Pot Pie, to thin crust Pizza, to the BEST Blackened Fish Sandwiches to the Keys, there is something for everyone on their menu. Join them for some fun and drinks on their outside patio while listening to local musicians sing live music. Springer’s is a great place to relax and have fun with the entire family here in the Keys. Telephone: 305-872-3022 Web: Springer’s Bar & Grill.
Boondocks Grille & Draft House
The “Largest Tiki Bar in the Keys” delivers great food and entertainment for every member of your family right down to your pet. Boondocks’ modern facilities, spotless kitchen, cold prep room and pet friendly patio can cater to party’s of any size. With a large selection of lunch sandwiches and dinner entrees, their restaurant features fresh catch seafood, artisan-crafted pizzas, crisp quality salads, huge burgers and more. Boondocks’ “Southern Cooking Keys Style” is why some people spend 5 days a week dining in their open air restaurant. Telephone: 305-872-4094 Web: Boondocks Grille & Draft House.
Looe Key Tiki Bar
Nice open atmosphere. A tiki bar where the locals hang out. A great hang out to sit and watch one of the 20 TV’s. Happy Hour drink prices are great! Enjoy $2 tacos on Taco Tuesday. Telephone: 305-204-4109 Web: Looe Key Tiki Bar
Kiki’s Sand Bar & Grille
Head here by boat, car, motorcycle or kayak! Great atmosphere and views of Newfound and Marsh harbors. Pier with dock and great nature sightings….you must see the resident bull sharks! Inside or outside seating, live music, and a great selection of beers and wine. Telephone: 305-872-4500 Web: Kiki’s Sand Bar & Grille
No Name Pub
The No Name’s one of those off-the-track places that everyone seems to know about. Despite the isolated location, folks come from all over to this divey spot to add their dollar bills to the walls, drink locally brewed beer, enjoy a little classic rock playing overhead, and feast on excellent pizzas, burgers and pub grub. Take in the kooky ambiance from a bar stool or head out back to a shaded yard full of picnic tables. Telephone: 305-872-9115 Web: No Name Pub.
Top Big Pine Key Hotels
Sunset Key Cottages (Key West)
Looking for a quiet, island getaway that will afford you pampering and privacy? Look no further. Hide out in your upscale cottage or stroll the lovely brick pathways past the tropical flora and fauna to the beach, pool, restaurant, and spa. Most everything else happens off-island, but lucky you, all the craziness you want is a ferry ride away.
Casa Marina Beach & Resort Club Waldorf Astoria (Key West)
If you’ve got the money, this resort delivers. History buffs will relish in its storied past, and affluent travelers will adore its many amenities including a fabulous spa, two oceanfront pools, top-rated restaurants, and the largest (and private) beach in Key West.
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, a Noble House Resort
This property is located on an island off Little Torch Key, Florida. It offers a marina, full-service spa, and gourmet dining. Every suite features ocean views and free Wi-Fi. Little Palm Island Resort boasts a sandy beach and outdoor swimming pool. A relaxing garden and library are on-site. Yoga classes and kayak rentals are also available.
The Reach, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Key West)
You might never know it’s there unless you stumble to the quiet end of Duval and wander down a side street that dead-ends at the sea. This is The Reach, a quiet, upscale resort where they take great pride in their service, and their onsite restaurant is renown for its prime steaks and romantic, waterfront setting.
Hyatt Place Marathon Florida Keys
Offering an outdoor pool, a free hot breakfast at A.M. Kitchen Skillet, and free Wi-Fi access, Hyatt Place Marathon Florida Keys is in Marathon, Florida. Keys Fisheries Market and Marina is just under 1 miles from the resort. A fitness center is on site, and fishing, diving, and snorkeling can be enjoyed in the surroundings. Water sports hires, a marina, and boat docking are available at the Marathon Florida Keys resort for a charge.
Courtyard by Marriott Marathon Florida Keys
Courtyard by Marriott Marathon Florida Keys offers free WiFi and an outdoor pool with hot tub. Guests will be 5 minutes’ walk from the Turtle Hospital and 16 minutes’ drive from the Dolphin Research Center. The on-site restaurant, The Bistro, serves breakfast in the morning, dinner and alcoholic beverages in the evening, and specialty beverages brewed with Starbucks coffee.