Family Vacation Hotspot: Middle Florida Keys

   08.09.16

Family Vacation Hotspot: Middle Florida Keys

The Middle Keys abounds with all types of additional family-outdoor fun. Here are a few fun spots.

Sombrero Reef on the ocean side of Marathon is an easy-to-get-to boat run, and it’s a snorkeler’s heaven with countless fish of rainbow hues in species too numerous to count.

The Keys is jammed with great restaurants, some fancy, most not, as they embrace the Florida “conch” lifestyle. Once such place on Marathon is the Keys Fisheries Restaurant, which is so laid back you order and pick up food at a kitchen window. They have no wait staff. But the food is awesome, with the lobster Ruben sandwich famous. But don’t overlook their hogfish entree.

A quick stop at the  World Wide Sportsman store on Islamorada is a mandate. It’s huge now, having been bought out by Bass Pro Shops, which inside even has a reconstructed wooden sportfishing boat dubbed the “Pilar,” owned by Papa Ernest Hemingway when he lived in Cuba.

I made the stop because our old family friend, the late George Hommell, was the man behind the original small Keys store, a fraction the size of the current one.

Hommell was a superior angler, guide, tackle and fishing innovator, and family friend. He was George H. Bush’s flats guide, and none were better in finding and catching tarpon, bonefish, and others.

I fished the Keys with Hommell and my late father many years ago for tarpon, and those memories are still vivid, especially when walking into World Wide Sportsman.

Those were the best of times.

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