Bahia Honda Beach Lower Keys
  • The beach area at Bahia Honda State Park, repeatedly rated among the best in the US, is one of the Florida Keys' most serenity-inducing spots. (Photo by Rob O'Neal, Florida Keys News Bureau)

     

  • By: Julie Botteri
  • June 14, 2017

When work schedules and responsibilities seem especially stressful, the siren song of the subtropical Florida Keys can be almost impossible to resist. And why resist? The inviting island chain offers SO many ways to treat body and mind to “unplugged” relaxation, both on and off the water.

Paddleboard yoga Florida Keys

Paddleboard yoga blends mind/body relaxation with exercise and a chance to enjoy the Keys’ tranquil natural environment.

For example, outdoor adventure companies have added a twist to standup paddling or paddleboarding — with paddleboard yoga classes that combine mind and body relaxation with great exercise and Keys eco-enjoyment. Beginners through experienced yoga practitioners can participate (and it’s enormously fun!).

Two-hour classes are generally divided between paddling time, spotting sea life and wading birds, and yoga practice. Participants paddle out to the calm backcountry waters and then begin yoga, while connecting with nature in a tranquil mangrove setting.

Like mat yoga, the experience is designed to still the mind and increase flexibility and strength through chanting, breathwork and seated and standing postures — all using the anchored paddleboard as a “mat.”

Join the experts at the Lower Keys’ Serenity Eco Therapy, whose mission is progressive therapeutics and fitness; and Lazy Dog, a popular outdoor adventure company located near Key West on Stock Island.

For maximum tranquility, strips of sandy beach throughout the Keys provide vacationers places for relaxing, sunning, swimming or just wading in warm, clear turquoise waters.

Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located at mile marker (MM) 102.6 and known worldwide as America’s first undersea preserve, features the popular Cannon Beach and Far Beach.

Sombrero Beach, at the end of Sombrero Beach Road at MM 50 oceanside in Marathon, is a well-maintained Middle Keys gem. The quiet, free-access public park and beach has it all — a kayak and paddleboard launch, volleyball courts, children’s playground, shady picnic pavilions with cooking grills, freshwater showers, restroom facilities and handicap access.

 

Ocean lovers in Marathon can also enjoy a 1,200-foot beach at Curry Hammock State Park, located on a large protected parcel of land along both sides of U.S. Highway 1 at MM 56.2. Sunbathing, swimming and sandcastle building are favorite activities at the beach facing the Atlantic Ocean.

The Keys’ best-known beach area (because of its repeated travel survey kudos as one of America’s top 10) can be found at Bahia Honda State Park, located in the Lower Keys between MMs 36 and 37. Calusa Beach, the smallest of Bahia Honda’s sandy expanses, lies on the northwest side of the island and offers a unique view of the historic Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad trestle bridge.

spa treatment Florida Keys

Spas throughout the Florida Keys offer indulgent treatments to soothe body and mind.

As well as calm waters and blue skies that enhance the quality of a Keys vacation, visitors might discover beauty, health and wellness therapies that round out a life-changing experience inside and out.

Rejuvenating day spas, massage therapies or alternative healing treatments can soothe just about anybody — whether on vacation solo; sharing a romantic couple’s getaway, girlfriends’ weekend or prewedding bridal party treat; or looking to reconnect mind, body and spirit.

The Keys offer an enticing variety of places to slow down and get pampered with a restorative menu of massages, facials, body and beauty treatments that bring together know-how from around the world — including Indian and Thai rituals — to calm, restore, energize and beautify.

Want to know more? Explore the options here — and prepare to indulge in simple serenity in the Florida Keys.