Driving along the Florida Keys’ Overseas Highway is one of America’s most iconic road trips, but for holidaymakers keen to see the destination from new heights, a wide range of thrilling aerial adventures provide a bird’s-eye view of the subtropical island chain.
Parasail Over John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Add an active adventure element to a Florida Keys holiday with a parasailing session. Choose from a 500- or 1,000-foot flight with Key Largo Parasail and glide through the air above John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, the Atlantic Ocean and the Florida Bay. Rides last between six and 10 minutes, with no experience necessary. Prices start from $75 (around £60) for a single flyer and from $39 (around £31) per person for tandem flights. www.keylargoparasail.com
Jet Above the Azure Waters
Islamorada-based Florida Keys Jetpacks offers visitors the chance to fly through the air strapped to the Jetlev Flyer. The $100,000 gadget enables participants to fly above the crystal clear waters below and master tricks like walking on water and high drops. The ultimate adrenaline rush, the Tiki Jet flight experience costs $249 (around £199) per person. www.tikijet.com
Ride in a Vintage World War II Plane
For a sightseeing adventure with a difference, soar in the skies above Marathon aboard a vintage World War II biplane. Operated by Overseas Aero Tours, the historic aircraft give passengers panoramic views of historic and contemporary bridges that connect the islands of the Florida Keys. Highlights include a bird’s-eye view of Marathon, Pigeon Key and the historic Seven Mile Bridge, as well as the chance of spotting marine life including fish, sharks, rays and dolphins in the clear shallow waters below. Excursions start from $110 for two people and trip can last 10 to 60 minutes. www.overseasaerotours.com
Fall Through the Sky at 120mph
For true adventurers, Skydive Key West offers daily tandem skydives guaranteed to thrill. After jumping from the plane, skydivers fall at speeds of 120mph from two miles high, and can enjoy views across the Florida Keys and Atlantic Ocean, coral reefs and Gulf of Mexico. After the parachute opens, participants enjoy a five- to seven-minute ride floating quietly back to earth for a soft landing. Prices start from $245 (around £196) per person. www.skydivekeywest.com
A Bird’s-Eye View of Key West
Experience Key West’s only helicopter tours for a stunning aerial view of the continental United States’ most southerly city, its surrounding waters and sites such as Smathers Beach, the Southernmost Point and Fort Zachary Taylor. Spot wildlife like stingrays, sea turtles and dolphins and see hidden Key West gems only accessible by air and sea. Choose between five airborne experiences offered by Air Adventures including the Discovery Ride, Key West Eco Tour and The Sunset Celebration. Tours are priced from $69 (around £55) per person. www.fly-keywest.com
Soar High in a Seaplane to America’s Most Remote National Park
Key West Seaplane Adventures is the only air service offering tours to America’s most remote national park, the Dry Tortugas. Located 70 miles off the Key West coast, the national park is renowned for its marine life, pirate legends and breathtaking beauty. After a 40-minute flight from Key West International Airport, visitors reach Garden Key, which is home to Fort Jefferson, a historic Civil War-era fort surrounded by crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. A half-day (four-hour) excursion costs $329 (around £263) for adults, $263.60 (around £211) per child (2-12) and is free for kids under two years old. Full-day excursions are also available. www.keywestseaplanecharters.com
Travel to the Florida Keys
Purely America (0844 80 444 80, www.purelyamerica.co.uk) has eight nights in the Florida Keys from £1,479 per person. Valid for travel for two adults during September 2017, the price includes four nights at the Playa Largo Resort & Spa in Key Largo followed by four nights at Oceans Edge Key West Hotel & Marina, together with return Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow to Miami and economy car hire for the duration. The price is based on two adults travelling and sharing room only accommodation.
For more information on the Florida Keys, visit: www.fla-keys.co.uk