There’s something about being a parent that makes you want the best for your child, not just for today but for the future. In line with this instinct, ecotourism seeks to lessen our tourism footprint in order to preserve fragile natural areas for our children, and our children’s children, to appreciate in years to come. Key West with its year round balmy weather and proximity to the Florida Everglades, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, offers access to some amazing marine environments. In recent years, Key West has become the gateway to various forms of ecotourism aimed at allowing travelers to visit the unique geography and amazing flora and fauna of this lush tropical area, while maintaining their beauty for others to enjoy.
What’s It All About?
Interestingly enough, your children may be the best source of information about ecotourism, as awareness of the importance of caring for the environment has spread rapidly in recent years. (In fact you may have already heard some impassioned lectures about green practices from your idealistic preteen or adolescent.) Following the old motto of “take only photographs, leave only foot prints,” ecotourism involves minimizing your impact on the geographical area you visit and its animal inhabitants.
There are already a number of ecotour operators in Key West, with the equipment you’ll need for environmentally friendly fun. Renting non motorized watercraft such as kayaks or canoes is a great way to explore the fascinating Florida Keys; you’ll also build team spirit among your brood as you take turns at the paddles. Ask the tour operator to recommend the most interesting routes. If you would prefer a more relaxed vacation, book your places on an outing via sailboat, another green way to travel. The sunset sail is particularly recommended. Whichever way you set to sea, remember to get hold of life jackets for everyone in your party – and be sure to wear them!
A Visit to Dry Tortugas
Experience amazingly gorgeous uninhabited landscapes, join a group sea plane tour to the Dry Tortugas National Park, either half or a full day, whichever is most appropriate for your family. Swim or just float your cares away in the clean turquoise waters. The energetic members of the bunch can bring along snorkeling equipment. They will be richly rewarded by awesome underwater sights such as strikingly beautiful live coral reef formations and assorted species of bright colored tropical fish. “Sightseers” in this natural region will gape, not at tall skyscrapers, but rather at the historic For Jefferson and glimpses of sunken ships under the clear sea. Wildlife includes porpoises, giant sea turtles and even sharks, plus hundreds of bird species – see how many you can spot. Bring along a picnic lunch, but don’t forget to dispose of your trash.
Key West is a popular destination in the winter and has so much to see and do that you’ll appreciate staying in a comfortable hotel with easy access to everything. The nicer and lower priced Key West hotels tend to fill up fast, though, so it’s a good idea to reserve in advance
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