If your top reason for visiting the Florida Keys isn’t exploring the brilliant blue of the ocean, I’m here to change it. The blue water of the two-hour drive on the Overseas Highway from Key Largo in the East to Key West in the… West (clever, right?) is so vibrant. The brilliant blue colors only gets better the further you get out in the water.

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the only coral barrier reef in North America. This third largest barrier reef in the world is in the United States, but to fully see it, you will need a boat trip from Key West. Sure, there are beaches on the islands, but the real treasure is out in the deeper water since the reef is about six miles away from the mainland.

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases through Amazon.com.

Danger Charters Schooner on our Sail and Kayak Trip
Danger Charters Schooner on our Sail and Kayak Trip

Sail, Snorkel, and Kayak “Danger”ously

Don’t be turned off by the name! We were nothing but impressed with with Danger Charter sail crew and our ecotrip. In their 65-foot schooner, Danger Charters offers the best of all aspects of Florida waters. You and your group get to relax while the team passes out a snack, prepares the sails, and tells you about the area over which you are exploring. As you arrive within paddling distance of one of the many mangrove forests, the team unloads an endless number of kayaks from the hold below the boat and gives basic instruction to first-timers if needed.

In teams of two, your group loads into sea kayaks to head off on a guided tour of the mangroves and their wildlife. Prepare to have many sea birds identified for you as you head into the mangroves to learn about their roots and involvement in the ocean ecosystem. Maybe if you’re lucky that day, you’ll see a sea turtle or dolphin or horseshoe crab.

Back in the boat, you’ll sail over toward the company’s favorite part of the reef where you’ll receive snorkel, mask, and flippers. Feel free to bring your own if you want – we loved being able to use our new all-in-one snorkel mask for even more water clarity. Under the water on our trip we saw barracudas, huge sea sponges, southern stingrays, and lots of fish. Danger Charters even provides pool noodles or life vests if desired to make you feel more comfortable out in the ocean. If snorkeling makes you nervous but other members of your family wanted to come, that’s no problem. You can stay on the boat and relax with a cold beverage while having fun watching the rest of the group float around the boat.

And that was just in a half day trip! Full day and sunset cruises are also available.

Watching the Waves from the Danger Schooner
Watching the Waves from the Danger Schooner

What Do I Need to Bring?

Although Danger Charters provides everything you essentially need, a few extras are need to keep you comfortable, protect the reef, and document your journey. Although a portion of the sail boat is covered allowing you to sit in some shade, there will be lots of sun hopefully for the rest of your trip. While some people went kayaking and snorkeling in their swimsuits, my family chose to wear our shorts and sun shirts – and still got a bit sunburned. Also, we got a little wet when an afternoon rainstorm settled in, so leave your fancies at home.

Snorkeling with Dad in the Keys - Much easier with pool noodles!
Snorkeling with Dad in the Keys – Much easier with pool noodles!

Save the Reefs

Whether or not you put chemicals on your body, that’s your business. However, please take the plunge to purchase a reef-safe sunscreen to protect the coral reefs. Our 2020 trip to Hawai’i showed us just how much damage has been done by humans as the chemicals bleach out the colors and affect the wildlife. Yes, reef-safe might cost a few more dollars; if everyone spent that few extra dollars, the impact would be enormous.

Before your trip, take a bit of time learning about the global importance of the coral reefs in Earth’s oxygen level and how we are damaging them through our sunscreen and other products. Even if it doesn’t say coral-reef, you can read the ingredients and make sure it doesn’t have oxybenzone, a major culprit and main ingredient in most commercial sunscreens. When in doubt, limit your need with a sun shirt!

Ocean Kayaking in the Mangrove Forest
Ocean Kayaking in the Mangrove Forest

There are many different water adventure options throughout the Keys and Key West, and they’re all probably top notch. However, why would you trust their word for it when I can tell you that our Danger Charters trip was the highlight of our Key West adventure. Give them a call, but don’t wait until you’re there. They might just sell out!

If you’re planning a Key West trip, check out all you need to know to plan your trip.

Thank you to Danger Charters for collaborating with me on our trip! It really was delightful.

Check out Danger Charters, and add some snorkel locations to my bucket list. Where was your favorite water experience?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s