Unlock The Keys Of Florida

There can be few places on the planet as synonymous with laid-back life and sunsets other than Florida and from theme parks and oranges to the Everglades National Park, this is indeed one of the most alluring locations in the whole of the United States.

Any mention of Florida is usually associated with the famous coral islands that lie to the south east of the peninsula, around 15 miles south of Miami. Known as the Florida Keys and consisting of just over 130sq miles of land, this archipelago is one of the most sought after in the world and if you’re either travelling through or just wishing to know more then check out the list below that will give you access to just a few of the keys of Florida.

Key Largo

As the largest coral cay off the south coast of Florida, Key Largo is over 30 miles in length and connected to the mainland via Highway One aka the Overseas Highway. The self-proclaimed ‘dive capital of the world’ is an absolute haven for SCUBA divers and snorkelling enthusiasts thanks to the amazing coral reef which lies just offshore. Seen as an entrance to the Everglades as well as an exit to the mainland, Key Largo is the most northerly in the archipelago as well as the most popular.

Key West

Famed for its literary residents, including Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway, Key West is also well-known for its old town area that features plenty of examples of colonial architecture as well as some excellent museums and art galleries. Mallory Square, a shipwreck museum and Hemingway’s house are all ‘must sees’ but sometimes just relaxing with a cool glass of rum as the sun sets is just about enough to signal the end of yet another beautiful day.

No Name Key

As you’d expect from the name or lack of it, this is not the largest of the Florida Keys nor indeed is it the most populated however, if you’re looking for a stretch of land that you can easily cross in an hour then you’ve come to the right place. Although there’s not much to do on No Name other than enjoy the beach and the beautiful views this is the best place to spot Key Deer that are still known to inhabit the island.

Big Pine Key

In contrast to No Name, Big Pine Key is around 10sq miles in size and contains plenty of worthwhile places to visit including The Blue Hole which is the only fresh water lake in the whole of the Florida Keys. The area in and around Blue Hole is ideal habitat for Key Deer as well as alligators, snakes and green iguanas and has been designated as a National Key Deer Refuge which status it shares with neighbouring No Name Key.

Islamorada

Stretching over Tea Table, Windley, Plantation as well as Upper and Lower Matecumbe keys, Islamorada is regarded as a village which incorporates several islands as well as more than its fair share of white sand beaches. With a tropical climate that encourages swaying palm trees and once a pineapple plantation, this is quintessential Florida Keys country and if you have the time to check out all of the islands for yourself then you’ll no doubt leave tanned, relaxed and head over heels in love.

Windley Key

Situated within the village of Islamorada, Windley Key is well-known for both its keystone quarries and its marine park and if you’re in the area both are worth checking out although, the Theatre of the Sea park is probably just going to shade it unless you’re really into your fossilised coral. Dolphins, sea lions and sting rays as well as a few crocs, turtles and sharks thrown in for good measure, great fun if you’re travelling with the kids.

If you want to discover Florida and the Keys for yourself then check out grandamericanadventures.com that promises sunshine, travel and the best of the rest of America.

Chris is considering extending his annual east coast trip down south this winter.