Welcome to Florida Keys, FL!
The southernmost point of America, the Florida Keys are the epitome of sun, sand, and paradise. An archipelago of 1,700 islands, it is an endless run of fun. 43 islands are connected by a slew of bridges known as the Overseas Highway, giving you tons to explore. Key West is the last one on the map and the epicenter for the whole event. A favorite of locals and visitors, it’s a place that may be hard to get to but once you are there, you may never leave. With great food, strong drinks, and sunshine most of the year, Key West and the rest of the islands are a perfect island getaway.
Here is a playlist to help you get into the spirit of your destination!
One last thing...
Here's Whym's top ten things to know about Florida Keys, FL
Welcome to the Florida Keys - a collection of the southernmost tropical islands in Florida including Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, and Key West. Each of the Keys have their own distinct feel, but all are a subtropical paradise where you will uncover unique history, natural beauty, and cultural diversity … all while you enjoy solace & inspiration.
Finding Your Way
The Keys are made up of 1,700 islands off the coast of Florida. The 5 main islands span 100 miles, starting with Key Largo (a mere 58 miles from Miami) & ending with Key West (159 miles from Miami & only 90 miles from Cuba). You can get to almost all of them by driving the Overseas Highway, a scenic drive from the mainland. A car is needed to get around Key to Key, but you will see bikes & boats as other forms of transportation. Should you want to, you can park at the Park N Ride Garage & use the Key West Transit city bus for free around the city or as far as Marathon for only $2!
While there is a very small airport in Key West, the most common - & most entertaining - way is to fly into the mainland & drive the 113 mile Overseas Highway, one of the most famous scenic drives in the US. This stretch provides beautiful views of exotic flora & fauna found nowhere else as well as views of the largest coral reef chain in the US. There is also a ferry that can be taken from Fort Lauderdale to Key West, though there are usually only 1-2 a day & leave very early in the morning.
Each of the Keys have their own history, but throughout you will see the honoring of their Bahamian & Cuban heritage. Once storied to be the home to the fountain of youth, people still follow Columbus’ hunt in droves - even the famous Ernest Hemingway before working his way a little further south to Cuba. Originally inhabited by pirates, wreckers, fishermen, spongers & cigar makers in the late 19th & early 20th century, today it is an escape made of pristine nature, big festivals, & a laid back island life.
Why Am I Here?
Residents & visitors alike spend time fishing, diving, swimming, golfing, & shopping. The northernmost Key Largo is home to part of the Everglades & a dolphin sanctuary. The Lower Keys boast 2 wildlife refuges, a state park, & a marine sanctuary. All are home to exotic & protected lands that offer exciting eco-tourist adventures too. Key West is where you’ll find the best spas, beaches & nightlife on the islands.
The Keys are among the only area in the US to never report freezing temperatures since their settlement. They are a tropical savanna & are the driest places in all of Florida. There’s 2 main seasons - a hot & wet summer (June-October) & warm, dry winter (November-April) that boasts little rainfall, sunny skies, & a warm breeze. What more could you ask for?
You can’t leave the Keys without trying the seafood. There’s nowhere fresher in the US to try new things - local favorites include pink shrimp (what fisherman are talking about when they refer to “Pink Gold”), conch fritters & chowder, stone crab, spiny lobster, & hogfish if you can get it. And of course, you can’t leave without a slice - or three - of Key lime pie. Traditional, dipped in chocolate, or as ice cream, try it in every way you can get it. And a tropical cocktail is never out of place!
You can’t go home without some Cuban cigars & coffee - you are only 90 miles away after all! Handmade sandals are also always a crowd pleaser with bright beautiful designs & handwoven leather. If you’re checking a bag, local rum is amazing - you’ll just have to visit a few distilleries to pick your favorite!
Think Jimmy Buffet meets park ranger meets retired hippie teacher - bright bold prints, breathable, natural fabrics, shorts & bathing suits as everyday wear. Don’t leave home without your sandals & sunglasses!
Because of their location, The Keys are occasionally threatened by tropical storms, though very few have ever actually made landfall. You are on an island, so getting there is a bit of work. And remember you’re on island time now, enjoy the views, the drive, & don’t expect things to move quickly.