The Florida Keys, known to some as the American Caribbean, is an archipelago that begins just south of the party hot spot of Miami and extends south-southwest with a gradual curve towards to Key West and Dry Tortugas. Joined by a series of bridges and causeways, and flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Gulf of Mexico to the west, this 120-mile stretch of tiny tropical islands possesses a laid back lifestyle that is immediately apparent upon leaving the mainland. With a mix of mangroves, white sand beaches and plenty of ocean, each Key provides locals and tourists with a multitude of outlets for fishing and boating, swimming with dolphins, local watering holes, small resorts, and marinas boasting the best glass bottom boat tours and sunset cruises. Yes, it’s the place to be if you want to kick back and relax in stunning tropical surroundings.
But what if you’re looking for a little excitement and a shot of adrenaline? Where do you go for that?
A1A Watersports – that’s where the action is! Located in Islamorada, at 82749 Overseas Hwy, halfway between Miami and Key West, this family owned company offers everything from diving and snorkelling, to kayak rentals (perfect for exploring the mangroves) to jet ski tours and wave runner ‘freedom rides’.
If you want to do your own thing and run at full tilt, then a freedom ride is definitely the way to go, with miles and miles of open turquoise ocean to play in. You can take it easy or go at it as hard as you please while jumping waves and giving the wave runner, as well as your body, one helluva workout.
However, if you’re looking for something more structured and want to explore the beauty that Islamorada offers, then the 2-hour jet ski tour is a sure fire people pleaser. A local guide leads the way to the Keys Reef Tract, the only living coral reef barrier in the continental United States, where jet skiers can snorkel and admire 1,400 species of marine plants and animals, including more than 40 species of stony corals and 500 species of fish. Then it’s party time on a sandbar a mile offshore, where the water level is only a foot deep. Afterwards, a trip through a series of islands leads to a slalom course where you can put your jet ski skills to the test. Then it’s onward to a leisurely ride through the mangroves in Upper Matecumbe Key, where it’s commonplace to see tarpon, turtles, dolphins, manatees, and stingrays. This 26-mile, 2-hour tour is a MUST for tourists wishing to sightsee. The tours run 7 days a week, and with such a large fleet of jet skis, you’re sure to get the time slot you book for.
But perhaps a jet ski isn’t your style. Maybe you want to cruise around the island and sightsee, drop anchor and snorkel, or take advantage of the world famous fishing in the area. If so, A1A services rentals for deck boats, pontoon boats and center consoles. There’s something for everyone. And each rental comes with beach access and the use of A1A’s beach barbeques.
Even the key lime kiosk at A1A is designed for fun, with a set up so tropical you’d swear you were in the Turks and Caicos. It’s 365 days a year of good times. And the company’s southern hospitality is FIRST RATE. Ask for Oscar or Ernie, and get ready for an experience you’ll never forget! Need proof? Just have a look at this video.