Florida Keys Vacations


Activities, attractions and adventures await the intrepid Florida Keys traveler.

Scenic view in the Upper Florida Keys


Florida Keys vacations have an almost fabled quality to them. Like the fairy tales we remember from childhood, the mind conjures up images of pirates, shipwrecks, buried treasures, swimming with dolphins, giant sailfish and swordfish, dangerous hurricanes, idyllic beaches and much more. We recall Humphrey Bogart's classic movie, "Key Largo" and remember that Ernest Hemingway established Key West in the consciousness of America.


It's appropriate that most people enter the Florida Keys driving, leaving the Florida mainland on US Highway 1and heading down the Florida Keys Scenic Highway towards Key Largo. It reminds one of a long drum roll preceding a special announcement or of the extended length of a procession before entering a special place. The long, high speed drive on a crowded 2-lane highway through the mangroves and swamplands of South Florida simply heightens the anticipation for our journey. At Barnes Sound the roadway is renamed The Overseas Highway, a fitting name for route which spans from island to island over 42 bridges of varying length and extends all the way to Key West. It is here that Florida Keys vacations start; a four lane highway carrying people to and from dreams and adventures.


The Florida Keys are a string of islands off of the southern coast of Florida that extend in a west-southwest direction from the mainland south of Miami. The chain is about 122 miles long from Key Largo to Key West and connected by bridges. Some of these spans are very long, offering the highway traveler mile after mile of panoramic views of distant islands and endless ocean waters against the backdrop of a deep blue sky and billowing white clouds. While highway travel in other places is a numbing, time consuming necessity of the vacation, in the Florida Keys it is an intrinsic part of the vacation.


In times past, the Overseas Highway and bridges traveled were basically the converted railway route that Henry Flagler built through the Keys in the late 1800's. The early roadway planners placed their pavement and water spans directly on top of the old railroad beds and bridges. However, many storms over the years have destroyed most of the old railroad's bridge structure, eroded the rocky rail beds and they have since been replaced by modern spans that allow for higher speeds.


Vacations in the Florida Keys  begin at the first and longest island in the Florida Keys, Key Largo. Known as "The Dive Capital of the World," here you'll find the John Pennecamp State Park, home to the coral reef, and an opportunity to scuba dive, snorkel or simply view the reef from glass-bottomed boats. There are caves, shipwrecks and other marine features to be found in this area, so its moniker is well deserved. Dive instruction, charters and tours can be found everywhere on this island which boasts four-star accommodations and the world's first underwater hotel.


While some Keys travelers stop in Key Largo, many press on to other vacation destinations in the islands. The drive through Key Largo begins one of the longest, more spectacular scenic drives in the world. Beautiful, stately Coconut Palms grace the tropical land route and blushes of crimson, gold and magenta are provided by mass plantings of Bougainvillea. Toward the Middle Keys, Buttonwoods, with their craggy trunks, twisting branches and silvery leaves begin to show in classic poses by the seashore. The water everywhere is blue and green and all colors in between. Crystal-clear and inviting, the sea wraps around the small islands that are seen in every direction.


The trip through the Florida Keys is a trek through a vast water wonderland of island cities, towns, government holdings and private estates. Fishing charters, dive centers and water tours can be found everywhere and tourist attractions allow everything from swimming with dolphins to skydiving over the Keys. Boat ramps are available every few miles and public parks are conveniently spaced along the way. The entire Bahia Honda Key is designated as the Bahia Honda State Park and allows overnight seaside camping as well as RV's and cabin accommodations in one of the most beautiful island and beach settings imaginable.


The final destination for many who take Florida Keys vacations is Key West, where everything seen and experienced throughout the Keys so far is magnified. Here the history of nature is blended subtly with the history of man in an unforgettable experience of tropical pleasures. Soft ocean breezes, shady strolls through town and magnificent sunsets characterize the small island and day's end leaves many wanting more. Those venturing forth in the darkness, whether exploring the natural scene or the man-made settings will certainly get more. Key West touches everyone and memories of dancing dolphins and historic structures remain through a lifetime. 


For further information on cities and towns in the Florida Keys, please click on the underlined. linked city names in the directory listing.

Monroe County

Year 2000 population: 79,589.

Major cities, population or tourist centers include:

Key Largo





Duck Key

Key Colony Beach


Bahia Honda Key

Big PineKey

Cudjoe Key

Sugarloaf Key

Big Coppitt Key

Stock Island

Key West


Monroe County

Some of the more familiar - and not so familiar - islands included in Monroe County are:

Key Largo

Plantation Key

Teatable Key

Upper Matecombe Key

Indian Key

Lower Matecombe Key

Craig Key

Fiesta Key

Long Key

Conch Key

Duck Key

Grassy Key

Long Key

Knight Key

Little Duck Key

Ohio Key

Big Torch Key

Middle Torch Key

Little Torch Key

Summerland Key

Bahia Honda Key

Cudjoe Key

Sugarloaf Key

Lower Sugarloaf Key

Key West

Saddle Bunch Keys

Big Coppitt Key

East Rockland Key

Windley Key

Vaca Key

Ramrod Key


No Name Key

Big Pine Key

Park Key

Harris Key

Rockland Key

Boca Chica Key

Raccoon Key

Geiger Key

Garden Key

Shark Key

Fat Deer Key

Cross Key


Missouri Key


Little Crawl Key

Crawl Key



Yacht Club


Tom Harbor

Walkers/Little Con

Tavernier Key

Fleming Key

Dredgers Key

Boot Key


Snapper Point

Sunset Cay

Channel Cay

Ocean Reef 

Largo Sound

Yellow Tail

Sunrise Isle

Ensenada Isle

Flamingo Isle

Spanish Harbor

Coco Plum

Key Colony Beach

Doctors Point

Bahia Shores

Bay Point





Howell Key


Loggerhead Key 

East Key





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