The Florida Keys are a breathtaking chain of tropical islands stretching about 120 miles off the southern tip of Florida, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Comprising over 1,700 islands, the Florida Keys are known for their stunning coral reefs, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant marine life. Key West, the southernmost and most well-known island in the chain, is famed for its artistic culture, historical landmarks like the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and lively nightlife along Duval Street.
Each key possesses its own unique charm and attractions, making the Florida Keys a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. From snorkeling and scuba diving in the Florida Reef, the only living coral barrier reef in the continental U.S., to sport fishing for game fish like marlin and tarpon, the islands offer a wealth of recreational activities. The Overseas Highway, a highway and engineering marvel, connects the keys with a scenic drive offering glimpses of the breathtaking sea and bridges, making the journey to and through the Florida Keys a memorable adventure.
Here are 10 fun facts about Florida Keys to give us more information about the tropical islands.
- The Conch Republic: In 1982, the Florida Keys jokingly seceded from the United States and declared themselves the “Conch Republic” in a humorous protest against a roadblock set up by the U.S. Border Patrol.
- Mile Marker 0: U.S. Route 1, which runs through the Florida Keys, begins in Key West and is marked with the iconic “Mile Marker 0” sign, signifying the southernmost point in the continental United States.
- Seven Mile Bridge: The Seven Mile Bridge is one of the longest bridges in the world and offers breathtaking views as it spans the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys.
- The Original Key Lime Pie: The Florida Keys are famous for their Key lime pie, a tangy and sweet dessert made from Key lime juice, condensed milk, and a graham cracker crust. It’s a must-try when visiting the area.
- Key Deer: The Florida Keys are home to the endangered Key deer, a small and adorable subspecies of white-tailed deer that can only be found in the Keys.
- The Underwater Hotel: Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo is the world’s only underwater hotel, offering a unique accommodation experience for adventurous visitors.
- Pirate History: The Florida Keys have a rich pirate history, with legends of infamous pirates like Black Caesar and Blackbeard using the islands as hideouts for their plundered treasures.
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park: Located in Key Largo, it was the first underwater park in the United States, offering incredible opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, and exploring the vibrant coral reefs.
- Shipwrecks and Shipwreck Trail: The Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail features intentionally sunk ships, providing excellent wreck diving opportunities and a glimpse into maritime history.
- Hemingway’s Cats: The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West is home to numerous polydactyl (six-toed) cats, descendants of Hemingway’s original cats. They’re a unique attraction at the museum.
The Florida Keys, a mesmerizing archipelago dancing on the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, beckon with an alluring blend of tropical beauty and rich history. From the southernmost point at Key West to the iconic Seven Mile Bridge, this string of islands offers a kaleidoscope of experiences. The island chain is a haven for water enthusiasts, inviting snorkelers and divers to explore the mesmerizing coral reefs, while fishing enthusiasts revel in the chase of elusive game fish. Steeped in tales of pirates and adventurers, the Florida Keys have a vibrant culture and a laid-back vibe that captivates all who venture to this enchanting paradise. Amidst the swaying palms and gentle sea breezes, the Florida Keys stand as a reminder of nature’s majesty and the timeless allure of coastal living.