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Travel Inspiration | Southeast States
Have You Checked Out These Islands In The Florida Keys


You don’t have to leave the country to go island-hopping. Just head to the Florida Keys, a string of tropical islands that stretch 120 miles across the southern tip of Florida.
Florida Keys Aerial View. Photo courtesy of Bertl123/iStock.comFlorida Keys Aerial View. Photo courtesy of Bertl123/


Named for the Spanish word "cayo," which means small island, the Keys are the perfect place to escape the winter blues. They’re known for fishing, boating, and snorkeling. The Florida Keys have some nice beaches, but they are smaller than beaches found at other Florida destinations.

To reach the islands, fly into Miami and drive down the Overseas Highway, a 113-mile route along U.S. Route 1 through the Florida Keys to Key West.

Here are four top island destinations to visit in the Florida Keys.


Key West is the most-visited island in the Florida Keys, and it’s the southernmost point in America. It has a laid-back vibe that has drawn people like Ernest Hemingway and President Harry Truman.

Tour Hemingway’s 1930s home and see descendants of his six-toed cats. Take time to explore the Historic Old Town. Palm trees shade narrow lanes lined with Victorian homes, some complete with gingerbread trim. Enjoy a Cuban coffee and cheese toast while dining outdoors at one of the many small restaurants. Conch fritters and Key lime pie are other local dishes to savor.

Explore the island’s natural beauty at the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden, a 15-acre, subtropical, conservation habitat with more than 6,000 rare and endangered plants and trees. 

The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is home to more than 60 species in a glass-domed tropical butterfly habitat. If you’d prefer to see dolphins, head out with Honest Eco Sustainable Nature Tours on a guided excursion.

At the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, you can view treasures from two Spanish galleons which were shipwrecked off the Keys in 1622. The Henrietta Marie, a merchant slave ship, sank off the island of Key West in 1700. Artifacts and exhibits tell its compelling story.
Turquoise waterfront of Florida Keys in Marathon, Florida. Photo courtesy of xbrchx/iStock.comTurquoise waterfront of Florida Keys in Marathon, Florida. Photo courtesy of xbrchx/


Marathon, a city and a collection of islands in Florida's middle keys, includes: Knight's KeyBoot Key, Key Vaca, Fat Deer KeyLong Point KeyCrawl Key, and Grassy Key.

The islands are home to many who love boating. Expect to find waterside vacation homes, small inns, luxury resorts, marinas, and more.

If you’re an animal lover, don’t miss the Dolphin Research Center, a nonprofit marine mammal research and education facility. Their programs include a swim experience called Dolphin Encounter, along with other activities where you can meet a dolphin, paint with a dolphin, and even take part in a family dolphin splash.

The islands are important nesting grounds for sea turtles. The Turtle Hospital treats injured sea turtles and, when possible, returns them to the wild. Daily educational tours introduce visitors to the four-legged residents: the loggerhead, green, hawksbill, and Kemp's ridley turtles.

Sombrero Beach, which offers restroom facilities and wheelchair access to the beach, is a popular park that is open from sunrise to sunset.
Christ of the abyss. Photo courtesy of Microgen/iStock.comChrist of the abyss. Photo courtesy of Microgen/


Key Largo is the longest island in the Florida Keys and just an hour’s drive from Miami. Stop to visit John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the country’s first underwater preserve. The park is part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that protects more than 2,900 square nautical miles of coastal and ocean waters in the Florida Keys.

The Key Largo Undersea Park is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Many come for the glass-bottom boat and snorkel tours of Florida’s Coral Reef, as well as dive tours to the Christ of the Deep statue. You can also go paddleboarding, fishing, and swimming. Or you can hike along marked trails in the mangroves. There’s 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium in the visitor’s center. 

Experienced divers can dive the Spiegel Grove, a large boat that was intentionally sunk about six miles off Key Largo and is now an artificial reef.
Big brown pelicans in port of Islamorada, Florida Keys. Waiting for fish at Robbie's Marina. Photo courtesy of romrodinka/iStock.comBig brown pelicans in port of Islamorada, Florida Keys. Waiting for fish at Robbie's Marina. Photo courtesy of romrodinka/


Islamorada has been called the sports fishing capital of the world and boasts the largest fleet of fishing charters in the Florida Keys. Fresh fish is readily available at Islamorada’s many waterside restaurants—ranging from upscale to casual to funky.

Stop by the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center to see the story of the islands in a series of rotating exhibits.

Anne’s Beach is a favorite of the locals. Its shallow water and boardwalk make it a perfect stop for families and vacationers who want a relaxing day in the sun.