Florida Keys Seaplane Adventures

One of the best things to do in the Florida Keys is island hopping by seaplane


Once you view the Florida Keys from the window of a seaplane, it’s easy to believe that’s how the beauty of the tropical archipelago is truly meant to be appreciated. Taking in the palm tree-covered islands, the bridges that connect them and the emerald water that surrounds them from about 500 feet up is enough to impart a sensory overload of jaw- dropping scenery. Throw in a pillow-soft landing on the water and a picnic lunch on one of the uninhabited islands and you have a travel experience that will stand out in your mind forever.

Florida Keys Aerial, Florida Keys Seaplane Adventures

More than 1,700 islands make up the Florida Keys, including uninhabited spits of land and mangroves that look like fuzzy green puzzle pieces from the air. Photo: Robert Zehetmayer/iStock

Julie Ann Floyd and Nikali Pontecorvo of Key West Seaplanes (keywestseaplanes.com) help make these kinds of memories for guests every day. The duo owns and operates three luxury seaplanes in which they take travelers on island adventures throughout the Keys and beyond. “We’re taking seaplane travel to the next level,” says Floyd, “where everything is nice and comfortable.” One of their newest seaplanes, customized with extra-long wing tips and power modifications to the engine make for a smoother and safer ride, was named grand champion at the Sun-N-Fun air show in 2012, and the latest addition to the fleet was built to the same specifications.

Flights they offer range from 30-minute aerial tours of Key West, where you’ll get an amazing overview of the island and see sights like the Southernmost Point, Fort Zachary Taylor and Christmas Tree Island, to day-long island-hopping tours of the Keys. The amphibious planes can land at uninhabited islands for the ultimate private getaway or pull up at a dock for breakfast, lunch or dinner at Little Palm Island or the Moorings resorts, or anywhere in Islamorada, Key Largo and Ocean Reef, among other destinations. “When you come in by seaplane,” Floyd adds, “people know you’ve arrived.” Along the way you’ll buzz by iconic Keys landmarks like the Seven Mile Bridge and the Alligator Reef Lighthouse from a perspective few ever encounter. Passengers even spot dolphins, sea turtles and other sea life in the crystal-clear water below.

Want to go on a more international trip? No problem (as long as you have a passport). Key West Seaplanes picks up travelers in any city or any suitable body of water in the Keys or mainland Florida, and can head out for day trips to the Bahamas, including destinations like Bimini, Nassau, Freeport and Paradise Island. However long your flight or where your destination, the views alone will help make it the flight of a lifetime.

Key West Aerial

An aerial view of Key West with the Florida Keys in the distance. Key West is just 90 miles from Cuba. Photo: Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau