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Island Lifestyles

Welcome to the island paradise of the Florida Keys where you can kick off your shoes and leave your cares behind!

The Florida Keys islands are the flipside of the mainland with the timeless character of a friendly small town throughout the islands where you can recharge and relax with ease. As you drive the scenic Overseas Highway into the Keys it is easy to escape the mainstream of the mainland, especially once you cross the first bridge and the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean on your right and the Florida Bay on your left surround you. As you begin to unwind, you will want to know what it is like to live the Florida Keys Lifestyle!

The fabulous Florida Keys are a chain of islands South of Florida. Each island is unique with many types of recreational and cultural venues. The Florida Keys are a part of Monroe County which can be thought of in three major parts, the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys. Mile markers denote your location on the chain of islands.

Lifestyles of the truly relaxed in the Florida Keys includes lots of fishing, diving, snorkeling, laps in the pool, sightseeing, shopping, cool concerts on the bay, or try an art class from painting to pottery, and you can also learn about the island’s natural and historical treasures at one of the many museums or nature parks from Key Largo to Key West.

Key Largo is home to the world’s largest artificial reef, the 510 foot USS Spiegel Grove, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef Underwater State Park, the African Queen and the famous Christ of the Abyss underwater statue. The Everglades National Park is just a short trip away by boat or car.

Diving, snorkeling and glass bottom boating in our clear waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a fantastic experience.

Opportunities to fish our backcountry or deep sea abound. Watersport activities are plentiful and for the nature lovers, there is kayaking, swimming with the dolphins, air boat rides and everglades tours. Or, just relax with a tropical beverage and do nothing at all but watch our beautiful sunsets!

Accommodations in the Upper Keys range from full-service resorts to small individually owned motels, all are known for their relaxing atmosphere and ambiance. The island’s campgrounds are scenic and friendly with tent and full service RV sites.

Marathon is the Heart of the Keys, and offers up plenty of reasons to make it a valuable addition to rest of its sisters. An airport and hospital give it a modern, practical feel, but there are lots of light-hearted diversions to keep you feeling mellow. Sombrero Reef is a haven for snorkelers, Crane Point Hammock holds 64 acres of museums and a nature center, and the Dolphin Research Center and Turtle Hospital take care of the marine animals that make their home in Marathon. Spend some time enjoying the wonderful conditions for ocean activities in Boot Key Harbor, and then continue your journey to the next blissful island.

Sprinkled off the southwest coast of Florida, the sandy gems known as the Keys offer one exciting opportunity after another for vacationers in search of stimulation and relaxation. The islands stretch for 120 miles, and within that span you’ll find art, history, music, wilderness, and as much natural beauty as your senses can handle. Each island has its own distinctive qualities, but you’ll find that they all share the ability to impress and enthrall anyone wise enough to stray from the mainland.

Key Largo, the northernmost island, is a great place to start your tour of the Keys. Known as the Diving Capital of the World, this area of land and sea will provide underwater explorers access to North America’s only living coral barrier reef, as well as Spiegel Grove, a 510 foot sunken navy ship. Sport fishing is also a popular attraction, so arrange for an experienced captain to take you out for a spin if you have your heart set on reeling in an exotic catch. Key Largo’s close proximity to the Everglades make eco-tours exciting prospects, and kayakers with a love for the environment can be seen paddling all around the lush marshland.

Next in line is Islamorada. Though ocean fishing is an activity common in all the Keys, Islamorada claims the title of Sport Fishing Capital of the World. Reel in a sailfish, tuna, tarpon, or bonefish, or just watch the saltwater hunters do their thing. Diving, too, is popular here, as the coral reef winds its way all around this enchanting string of islands. Islamorada has a few state parks for your enjoyment, and plenty of shops and galleries that surely contain the perfect souvenir.

The Lower Keys have a quieter appeal, but still offer plenty to see and do. Bahia Honda State Park on the Key of the same name is considered one of the most beautiful beaches around, and Little Duck Key is home to Veterans Memorial Park. Big Pine Key has the best shopping in the area, and it also exists as a refuge for Key Deer, the tiny and delicate creatures who add another fascinating detail to the already entrancing atmosphere of the Lower Keys. This is an ideal area to set up a tent or rent a vacation home, as its uncultivated land and stunning sunsets make it utterly appealing.

Finally, at the end of the line you’ll find the biggest personality of all, Key West. Home to Ernest Hemingway, a healthy artistic community, and festivals galore, this fun-loving shelter from negativity is the place to be for anyone looking to enhance their lust for life. Whether you feel like sipping a margarita on Duval Street or raising your hands to the sunset on Mallory Square, you’ll feel comfortable and embraced by the diverse population that inhabits and visits the most open-minded Key. Anywhere you stop along the sprawling collection of cozy islands will welcome you to slow down for a while and listen to the sounds of sweet contentment. Stay active or stretch out on the sand, no one will be judging you for putting your own interests first and truly enjoying your hard-earned vacation. On this note, be sure to choose a place to stay that will reinforce the lessons of the Keys; treat yourself right and stay comfortable.

Renting a vacation home might be the perfect way to carry out these goals. Crowded resorts and bland hotel rooms might be unavoidable in some situations, but the Florida Keys have a number of different choices. Reserving an oceanfront condo in the Florida Keys or a secluded beach hut on its own little island will give you the chance to truly retreat from the outside world, reconnect with your traveling companion, and enjoy the glorious surroundings as they are meant to be enjoyed.