When some friends of mine called the other day to tell me they were coming down to visit me for a few days, my mind immediately shifted into high gear. They said they wanted to stay in the big Pine area and get a good taste of this island life. There are so many entertaining places to go and things to do, I needed a plan. I’ve had people say to me “what on earth do you do there? How do you fill up your time?” Hmm, well, if you want this island life, and you’re interested in what it has to offer, you will never be bored.
For starters, naturally, I aim to give my guests an introductory boat ride. I should call my boat the “dolphin whisperer” because she has this uncanny knack of finding happily frolicking dolphins just about every time we go out. It’s fabulous fun to see people’s faces when they see a wild dolphin in these waters for the first time. One friend of mine from CA who is a superb vocalist, starting singing and the dolphins came right up to the boat, to her immeasurable delight. Another friend pointed and jumped up and down, which is pretty much what I do every single time, the joy of seeing these amazing animals never, ever subsides. I live in Pine Channel subdivision, so it’s easy access by boat to get out to Pine Channel, where you can either go under the bridge to the open ocean, stopping by Picnic Island and Little Palm Island, or meander into the gulf side , where there is great exploring to be done. After a tour, it’s easy to dock at Kiki’s Sandbar, in Little Torch, just on the gulf side, to have a waterfront lunch. It’s casual yet elegant, everyone is friendly and I find the meals they serve to be a perfect choice in an adventure filled day.
After the quick boat ride home, if it is the weekend, you don’t want to miss the Big Pine Key flea market. There is pretty much something for everyone, from artwork to textiles to tools to spices and fresh veggies and fruit. It’s a great weekly social event. This is where you can definitely satisfy your shopping fix, mingle with the locals and get lots of creative inspiration at the same time.
By this time, it’s getting on in the afternoon, and there’s so much more to do! We happen to have scooters – if you have scooters, a golf cart or bicycles, you can explore the back dirt roads of Big Pine and you will see deer, turtles, hawks, iguanas and maybe a marsh rabbit – and you can hike these trails as well. I just love the freedom of the scooter and I find that my guests always enjoy this tremendously. Next stop is the Blue Hole and watching an alligator socialize with turtles & fish. Then on over the No Name Bridge, to explore No Name Key and share it’s special history. Then of course, a stop off at the unique No Name Pub for a beer and a taste of some extraordinary pizza and ambience.
Now it’s getting on toward dusk, on the way home guests always marvel at so many deer out and about, munching their evening meal. Now you can stay right on the island and head over to Bistro 31 for dinner. If you’re lucky, you’ll be greeted by Lisa, the very best waitress in the Florida Keys. Everyone there is friendly and happy, and the food is always fresh. It is a very local place, and has an easy ambience of casual cheer.
You can tie up the night by sitting outside and watching the canopy of stars and listening the local animals and bugs and birds…it’s a wonderful sedative.
Now, for those who don’t own a boat, don’t worry! You can easily rent a boat at Big Pine Key Boat Rentals – where all boats are topped off with fuel and fully equipped. There are also several places where you can hop onto a dive boat, or a charter of your choice. Below is a list of charter companies, restaurants and other things to do right in this area, so your guests will have a vacation so wonderful, they will need to contact KeyIsle Realty to look at properties! For lower Keys information contact The Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce.
- Strike Zone Charters
- Looe Key Reef Resort
- Bahia Honda State Park
- No Name Pub
- The Moose Lodge
- KiKi’s Bar and Grill
- Boondocks Bar and Grill
- Parmers Place hotel
- Big Pine Kayak Adventures
And when your guests get the bug to live here, make sure to refer them to a professional, experienced KeyIsle realtor, to guide them on their journey. Anyone who works with KeyIsle Realty will receive personalized, professional assistance in locating properties, and in negotiating the deal!