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About Florida Keys
There are more than 100 islands in the Keys connected by 42 bridges. When traveling the 126 miles through the Keys you will spend 15 percent of your driving time on bridges!

The Florida Keys cover an area of 1,024 square miles, with no point in the Keys being more than 4 miles from water. The highest point in the Keys, only 18 feet above sea level, lies on Windley Key. The Keys are islands of rock, therefore sandy beaches are not common and are mostly restricted to the Atlantic side of the larger islands.

These islands are defined by the environmental benefits of diving, fishing, boating, unique flora and fauna, and the only living coral reef in the continental United States. The Florida Keys offer a varied cultural life and unmatched beauty.

The Overseas Highway (U.S. 1) is used to travel the islands of the Florida Keys. Locations along the highway are expressed by Mile Marker numbers, from Mile Marker 0 at the Monroe County Courthouse in Key West and increasing until you pass through the Monroe County line at Mile Marker 112 north of Key Largo. Look for small green signs with white numbers posted at each mile along the highway. When getting directions, you’ll often hear mile markers instead of street numbers.

Key West

Key West is the county seat of Monroe County and West is known as the southernmost city in the Continental United States. It is also the southern terminus of U.S. 1, State Road A1A, and the East Coast Greenway; lying some 129 miles (207 km) southwest of Miami, Florida and just 81 nautical miles from Cuba.

Key West is a seaport destination for many passenger cruise ships. The Key West International Airport provides airline service. The central business district primarily comprises Duval Street, and includes much of the northwest corner of the island along Whitehead, Simonton, Front, Greene, Caroline, and Eaton Streets and Truman Avenue. There’s a ferry that runs daily trips (weather permitting) from Fort Myers Beach, and another that takes passengers to Dry Tortugas National Park, which has as its centerpiece a historic Civil War-era fort 70 miles out to sea. There are hotels and guesthouses at every price point. Points of historic interest include Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, the Audubon House, the Mel Fisher Museum and the Key West Aquarium.

Naval Air Station Key West is a key year-round training site for naval aviation because of its superb weather. It is also a reason the city was chosen as the Winter White House of President Harry S. Truman, making his former vacation home, the Truman White House, another must-see spot.

The city’s official motto is “One Human Family.”

The Lower Keys

The Lower Keys of the Florida Keys extends from Bahia Honda to Key West. With notable keys such as Big Pine Key, Ramrod Key, Little Torch Key, Summerland Key, Sugarloaf Key, Big Coppitt Key, Shark Key, Boca Chica Key and Stock Island. The famous Looe Key Reef and Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary is a short boat ride away, in the waters off Big Pine Key. Bahia Honda State Park, is a premier site of picnic and camping facilities, shopping, rental cabins and a marina.
The National Key Deer Refuge, established in 1957, protects the endangered Key deer - and today the refuge encompasses more than 8,000 acres of prime Key deer territory that runs from Big Pine to Sugarloaf Key. Ramrod Key is an island in the lower Florida Keys and originally named Roberts Island, Ramrod Key was renamed for a ship named Ramrod, which was wrecked on a reef south of there in the early nineteenth century. Big Pine Key is home to the Key Deer. Far from being overcrowded, the pace of life on Big Pine is casual and relaxed. Summerland Key is a bedroom community comprised of primarily residential properties, with a few commercial properties located on US #1. It is home to the Brinton Environmental Center of the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base, as well as, a field station for t Mote Marine Laboratory. The three Torch Keys were probably given their base name, “Torch,” because of the native torchwood tree, Amyris elemifera. Cudjoe Key is home to Venture Out, a waterfront resort-style development with a mix of long-term residents and vacation rentals. Sugarloaf Key contains two distinct communities known as Lower Sugarloaf Key and Upper Sugarloaf Key. While smaller than Upper Sugarloaf, Lower Sugarloaf has a denser population. The island is home to the Sugarloaf Lodge, the Sugarloaf KOA campground and several restaurants.

Marathon

Marathon is a city on Knight's Key, Boot Key, Key Vaca, Fat Deer Key, Long Point Key, Crawl Key and Grassy Key islands in the middle of the Florida Keys, in Monroe County, Florida, United States. The name Marathon dates back to the origin of the Florida East Coast Railroad. The name came about by the railroad workers who were working night and day to complete the railway – due to the unrelenting pace and struggle to complete the project, many of the workers complained that "this [the project] is getting to be a real Marathon", and was later used to name the local station along the railroad.

Beside its new concrete counterpart, the old Seven Mile Bridge juts into the sea like a giant pier, inviting walkers and nature lovers to enjoy one of Florida’s most scenic and historic vistas. The blue-green panorama of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, dotted with lobster traps and sailboats, is not unlike the scene that greeted passengers on Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad, which linked the Keys to mainland Florida from 1912 until 1935. Those passengers probably took little notice of the sparsely populated island at the northeastern foot of the Seven Mile Bridge. Today, this island offers some of the best fishing and sport diving anywhere in the world.
Marathon is a major sport fishing destination, with several charter fishing boats departing from local marinas every morning to both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Bountiful reefs around Marathon make it a popular diving, snorkeling, spearfishing, and lobster tickling area. One of the last untouched tropical hardwood hammocks in the Keys is found at Crane Point Museum, just a few miles west of Florida Keys Marathon Airport. The vicinity of the airport is one of the most reliable sites in the United States to see the hard-to-find Antillean nighthawk. Like the rest of the Keys in summer, gray kingbird are often seen on telephone wires along US 1 and black-whiskered vireo incessantly sing in the hammocks. Marathon also hosts burrowing owls. Marathon is home to many restaurants and tourist shops. Sombrero Beach is also located here in Marathon and is one of the many beautiful public beaches in the Keys.

Key Colony

Key Colony Beach is located in the heart of the Florida Keys. It is the perfect vacation area, you'll have direct access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, beautiful Coral Reefs nearby, excellent fishing and diving locations and much more.

Along the causeway are some charter fishing boats and a few restaurants & shops. At the base of the causeway, West Ocean Drive branches off first to the right and East Ocean Drive soon after branches to the left. On West Ocean Drive is the police station, along with the post office and town hall. In the same vicinity is a small park with a fountain and a gazebo. The entire ocean-facing side of West Ocean Drive is lined by various condominium complexes, while the side facing Marathon houses the Key Colony Inn and a par 3 golf course. Starting at the far end of East Ocean Drive, streets are numbered one to fifteen east to west, and run from south to north toward Shelter Bay. The most notable buildings along East Ocean Drive are the Key Colony Beach Motel and the Key Colony Beach Club.
















 

Grassy Key

Grassy Key is a small, peaceful Key located just minutes away from the heart of Marathon. The Dolphin Reseach Center, which offers tours, dolphin swims and more, is located on Grassy Key.

It is one of the northernmost islands in a chain of islands that comprises the City of Marathon, Florida. The island or "key"—as the islands are called in parts of Florida—hosts many mom-and-pop-type family resorts - oceanside and bayside, as well as many private residences, although the key itself is sparsely populated in comparison to the original City of Marathon "proper" farther south. The entire key was incorporated into the City of Marathon in 1999.

Duck Key

Duck Keys is a natural island, a composite of five islands, Yacht Club Island, Center Island, Harbour Island, Plantation Island and Indies Island, providing seclusion, privacy and security. Only one road connects Duck Key to the main highway U.S.1. Duck Key is a small island at mile marker 61 off the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys. The Hawks Cay Resort and Village can be found with the homes of the residential Duck Key community. Vehicles cross over the island’s canals by way of picturesque arched bridges. In the distance is Grassy Key which is part of Marathon. Sixty miles further south is Key West.

This is a very laid back type of community where neighbors, fish, snorkel and dive right off their doorstep. A casual existence that stresses year round outdoor life for which the Florida Keys are famous!

Conch Key

Conch Key is a small bayside island at mile markers 62 and 63, between Long Key and Duck Key. It features a mix of year-round residences and vacation rentals, as well as a waterfront hotel. Keys historian Jerry Wilkinson writes that Conch Key was used by Florida East Coast Railway construction crews as a camp site at the beginning of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the late 1940s and 1950s that development of the island began in earnest, after its purchase from the state by a businessman.

The Upper Keys

Key Largo is the entrance to the Florida Keys. It’s only an hour ride to South Florida’s two major airports, but it feels like a world away. Key Largo is the largest and northernmost island in the Florida Keys. It is sandwiched between the watery wilderness of the Everglades National Park to the west and the fish-covered coral formations of North America’s only living barrier reef to the east. Locals hail it as the diving capital of the world, but the area is equally noted for its sportfishing. Key Largo is comprised of primarily residential properties, with many commercial properties scattered along U.S. 1 and marinas along the shore line.

Islamorada is known as the “Sportfishing Capital of the World,” with ample opportunities to get out on the water and go after that dream catch. The village of islands also offers more tranquil ways to relax under the sun’s glorious golden rays. You can spend a day shopping in the village’s unique boutiques and galleries, enjoy a beachfront cocktail or take a sunset cruise. The majority of commercial development is located along U.S. 1, with residential development along the side streets. Additionally, numerous residences — many of them estate-sized properties — are located along the highway and extend to the ocean or the bay.

Tavernier prospered through time having promoters such as the McKenzie Enterprises, the volunteer Fire and Ambulance, the Electric Co-op, the Aqueduct Authority, Harry Harris Park, County Commissioner Harry Harris, Tavernier Towne and many others. With the recent addition of Mariners Hospital it is currently a thriving and compact community, fully aware of her own colorful history.