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Florida Keys (Florida) Hotels and Apartments
The Florida Keys island chain stretches around 120 miles off the state’s southern tip. It is a string of tropical islands with each Key bringing something unique to the area – the only thing which is similar from top to bottom is the laid-back, casual vibe. The natural beauty, splendid weather, unmatched fishing and diving and exciting nightlife are what make the Keys a popular holiday destination.
The first of the fabulous Keys is Key Largo, the self-proclaimed dive capital of the world and home to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, one of the jewels of the state-park system. Known for its multi-coloured reefs and wealth of sea life, you can see why it is popular for scuba diving and snorkelling. Explore the underwater delights of Statue of Christ of the Abyss, Spiegel Grove and Molasses Reef. If you prefer to stay on dry land, a trip in a glass bottom boat offers a close up look at what the underwater world has to offer. From watersports to lazing in a hammock sipping a pina colada or two, Key Largo is a unique tropical paradise.
This Key has been long recognised as the ‘sport fishing capital of the world’ and is an icon among sport divers. The aqua blue waters that surround the ‘Village of Islands’ provide an ideal area for fishermen to go and may be the only place where it is possible to catch sailfish and bonefish. It is however, much more than the sport fishing capital of the world. The palm-lined streets of Islamorada are home to unique boutiques and art galleries which make the shopping scene the best in the Upper Keys. Theatre of the Sea is an educational and entertaining marine animal park where visitors can get up close and personal with animals. You can even fulfil the dream of sharing the water with a charming bottlenose dolphin.
Situated at the mid-point of the Keys, many locals have named it ‘The Heart of the Keys’ with its retro, nautical atmosphere. The impressive reefs in Marathon make it popular amongst snorkellers and divers. Head to the waters and explore Sombrero Reef, one of the most beautiful areas within the Keys’ living coral reef. A secret tucked away in the heart of Marathon is Crane Point, a nature museum with a difference – a 63-acre tropical paradise packed with history, nature trails and Florida wildlife. Venture back in time and experience Pigeon Key, one of Florida Key’s hidden gems. It is a tiny island filled with an abundance of history.
Big Pine Key & the Lower Keys
This 30-mile stretch between the Seven Mile Bridge and Key West is arguably one of the most spectacular stretches in the lower Florida Keys. There’s little to do on dry land but plenty to do in the water. Venture out onto the ocean and immerse yourself in a nature tour by boat, and enjoy the opportunity to view wading birds and the unique flora and fauna of this tranquil area. Jump into the waters at Looe Key and discover a shallow coral formation, considered one of the most impressive shallow diving sites. Bahia Honda State Park, is one of the southernmost state parks and is said to be one of the most beautiful state parks in Florida with its crystal clear waters, white sands and colourful corals. The park itself is full of natural wonders with rare and unusual plants and animal species. Its beautiful tropical beaches are the perfect place to watch the magnificent sunsets.
Key West is the most popular of all the Keys, renowned for its buzzing nightlife scene and sunset celebrations at Mallory Square. This small island paradise is full of eclectic tastes. Shop, eat and drink your way down Duval Street, a miniature Las Vegas with bright signs for souvenir shops and tour company offices lining the street. Hemingway’s Key West House is a literary landmark and museum, when visiting lookout for the celebrated six-toed cats. Explore the old town and take in the unusual architecture of the many old and gracious homes.
At night, the Key comes alive with the sidewalk cafes, open-air bars and world-class restaurants kicking it up a notch. It’s not unusual to hear the words ‘See you at Sunset!’ around Mallory Square as this nightly sunset festival takes place. Magicians, jugglers, local musicians, artists and food vendors gather to enjoy this cultural experience.