In the Lower Keys and Middle Keys, it's Up the Keys – FlKeysNews.com
Kim Stamps interviewed for her first job in Key West as a pedicab driver nearly a decade ago and instantly landed the gig.
“It was the first interview I ever did in shorts and flip-flops,” Stamps said.
Now 40, she still wears shorts and Kino sandals — the brand of footwear made in Key West — but leads tours at her own company, Up the Keys Eco-Tours. Launched in February, it showcases off-the-beaten-path Lower Keys attractions to visitors and groups.
During the tours, the Key West resident shares her knowledge of Florida Keys history, culture and ecology.
“People drive up the Keys and often don’t know what they’re missing,” Stamps said. “Our tours are friendly and interactive. I encourage people to get out, and point out wildlife to the group.”
A round-trip All-Day Adventure tour, priced from $149 for adults and $139 for children 12 and under, leaves from the Hogfish Bar & Grill on Stock Island and travels north to Grassy Key.
Stops include the Bat Tower on Sugarloaf Key, the National Key Deer Refuge, scenic Bahia Honda State Park, the Marathon Turtle Hospital, the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key or Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters at Vaca Cut in Marathon.
Tours can accommodate six to 13 participants in a comfortable 14-passenger Ford E350 van owned by Stamps. Groups up to 26 can travel in two vans with advance reservations. Lunch, snacks and cold drinks are included.
“Our tours are like a fun road trip with friends,” Stamps said.
A four-hour Twilight Tour departs the Hogfish in the late afternoon and visits the Bat Tower, Big Pine Key’s Blue Hole and the offbeat No Name Pub. Other tours are dubbed Turtle Tuesdays, Dolphin Days and Aquarium Encounters.
Stamps was born and raised in California. She moved to the Pensacola