The Florida Keys is an archipelago in southern Florida that contains more than 1500 coral and limestone islands, mostly uninhabited. This region offers many activities for those who are adventure-seekers, such as sport fishing, boat trips, snorkeling, and diving.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, this archipelago of blue sea and beautiful beaches divides into five regions: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Lower Keys, and Key West.
As it contains the southernmost point of the continental US, the archipelago has a strong Caribbean influence, easily perceived in the cuisine, which includes classic Caribbean dishes such as spicy conch soup and pork marinated in mojo sauce.
The climate in the archipelago is mild throughout the year, helping to strengthen the Florida Keys’ biggest source of income, tourism. However, it is recommended to avoid this travel during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from early June to late November, because the weather can get quite turbulent, and with the possibility of dangerous storms.
How Can You Get There?
The best way to visit the Florida Keys is by car, through one of the most beautiful roads in the United States, the Overseas Highway. Also known as Highway To The Sea, this wonder starts in Key Largo and ends in Key West, covering 113 miles of highway and 42 bridges.
If you are traveling with your own or rented car, it is advisable to take it easy along the way and enjoy the parks, beaches, natural reserves, restaurants, and museums offered by the islands.
What Can You Do In Each Region?
This is the first region of the Florida Keys, also known as the Diving Capital of the World, and is just 1 hour away from Miami. It’s the perfect solution for those who are looking to relax but don’t want to stay too far from the city.
During your stay in Key Largo, you can’t miss the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, an underwater state park full of corals that is home to the first underwater reserve in the US.
The park offers a great opportunity for those who like to dive, whether with a cylinder or snorkel. However, for those who do not want to go into the water, there is the possibility of taking a glass-bottom boat tour.
Islamorada is just 20 minutes from Key Largo and has the largest fishing fleet per square kilometer in the world, considered by many to be the Sport Fishing Capital of the World! So don’t forget to bring your fishing rod to catch some of the region’s gigantic fish.
Also, there are many places you can go such as the island’s pier, the 1935 Hurricane Memorial, the History of Diving Museum, and the Theater of the Sea, to watch a dolphin show at the aquarium.
The main attraction in the area is the Crane Point Hammock, a non-profit natural history museum and nature center. It is the perfect place to connect with nature since it contains several nature trails with rich animal life and panoramic views.
Additionally, Marathon has one of the longest segmented bridges in the world, the Seven Mile Bridge, and one of the most beautiful beaches in the Florida Keys, the Sombrero Beach.
At Lower Keys you can find the National Key Deer Refuge, a park formed in 1957 that protects the endangered tiny deer from extinction. These kinds of deer are unique to the Florida Keys.
Furthermore, it has a marine sanctuary, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, where each year happens a popular underwater music festival to promote the preservation of Keys coral reefs.
Key West is the last and most famous region of the Florida Keys, located 155 miles from Miami, it is possible to reach by car in approximately 4 hours.
Despite its size, Key West offers many options for tourists such as beaches, tours, nightlife, museums, and good restaurants! To make it easier, I’ve listed below some of the places you can’t miss:
- Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
- Key West Lighthouse
- Duval Street
- Sunset Pier and Mallory Square
- Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
- Harry S TrumanLittle WhiteHouse
- Dry Tortugas National Park
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