Where do Floridians go when it gets cold (full disclosure, under 70 degrees?) Just like the snow birds who roll “down hill” from the frigid northern climes, Floridians roll down to the Keys. H2ostoked suggests Key West’s even chiller eastern neighbor, Stock Island. It’s off highway 1, mile markers 4-6. Think a more residential version of Key West with amazing protected waters.
Stock Island was probably named after the herds of livestock kept there. Then again, it could have been named after a early settler. Gotta love the murky history in the Keys. It’s really about the water. With mangrove shorelines, seagrass beds, and over six thousand species of underwater life, paddling is the best way to get up and close. Expect to see tropical fish, crabs, sea stars, jellyfish, manatee, sharks, aquatic birds, even sea turtles.
The navigable waters are part of the overseas paddling trail, and even the open water between Key West is easy paddling. Sand Bars abound, so bring an anchor and snorkeling gear to get up close and personal. The underwater systems are pristine. Tons of lodging and camping. And for a real treat, grab a boat and take your toys out to the Western Sambo Reserve – a waterborne spectacle of beauty, perfect for SUP.
Warm up at Stock Island. Just be sure to bring your Paddle Board, kayak, or canoe to see life and sea life.