The Keys, Florida

The Keys, Florida

The Florida Keys are unlike any other vacation destination in the world. Where else could you find a lovely chain of tropical islands, stretching over one hundred miles, all connected by a modern highway? And all of this is within a short drive of one of the biggest destinations in the country: Miami. Any visit to Florida must include the Florida Keys.

An aerial view of the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida.
An aerial view of the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida. It connects Knight’s Key in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. File photo: Mia2you, Shutter Stock, licensed.

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The Florida Keys are all connected by U.S. Route 1. It starts in Maine and doesn’t stop until it spills onto Duval Street on Key West. Taking the bridge from the mainland you arrive in the biggest of the Florida Keys: Key Largo. Whether you know it from the movies or as one of the premier fishing destinations in the country, Key Largo is a goldmine of vacation fun. There is abundant wildlife, delightful beaches, and three nearby parks full of protected marine life.


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An empty scenic view of the colorful concrete buoy featuring the municipal seal of Key West marking the southernmost point of the continental USA in Florida.
An empty scenic view of the colorful concrete buoy featuring the municipal seal of Key West marking the southernmost point of the continental USA in Florida. File photo: lazyllama, Shutter Stock, licensed.

Moving south you will pass through Plantation Key and arrive in Islamorada. Islamorada is a beautiful destination in its own right and is noted for its diving. Also available in any of the upper Florida Keys, including Upper and Lower Matecumbe Keys, is that unique style of fishing from hand-poled boats in Florida Bay. This flats fishing is so much fun that no less a luminary than Ted Williams devoted his retirement to doing nothing else.


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Moving south and away from the shallow water of Florida Bay you will come to Fiesta Key, Long Key, Conch Key, and Duck Key. Then Grassy Key, Vaca Key, and the gateway to the middle keys: Marathon. Marathon is a modern town with all and every thing a vacationer from the mainland could want, including a modern well-served airport. If you are looking for fishing or sightseeing in the middle keys then this is where you will start. It is here that you can really begin to feel yourself slowing down to “island time.”


Vicinity of The Florida Keys


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An aerial view of Duck Key, Florida.
An aerial view of Duck Key, Florida. File photo: Curt Delia, Shutter Stock, licensed.

Leaving Marathon you will pass over the famous Seven Mile Bridge. Completely surrounded by the ocean you will be awed by the remoteness of the Florida Keys. Next you will pass over Pigeon Key, Bahia Honda Key, and Big Pine Key. Bahia Honda is famous for its excellent public beaches. Big Pine Key marks the beginning of the National Key Deer Refuge. You’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for the little fellows. They are the size of cats and an endangered species.

Old Seven Mile Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge by overseas highway road near ocean with sign for Bernie Papy
Old Seven Mile Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge along the overseas highway road in Pigeon Key, Florida on May 1, 2018. File photo: Kristi Blokhin, Shutter Stock, licensed.

Passing through Ramrod, Sugarloaf, and Boca Chica Keys you will come to the most famous destination of the Florida Keys: Key West. Primarily known as a party town, the island is also filled with family fun and activities. It’s a whole other world with no passport required.

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