A 125-mile-long chain of islands that begins just south of Miami, the Florida Keys are connected by the Overseas Highway’s 42 bridges — one almost seven miles long — over the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. 
 
The Keys have a subtropical climate with warm, balmy temperatures year-round, and even January is characterized by high temps in the 70s and clear blue skies. 
 
The Keys are divided into five regions: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine and the Lower Keys, and Key West. 
 
  • The Florida Keys Overseas Highway is 113 miles long, starting at the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line and ending in Key West. 
 
  • Key Largo is regarded as the Dive Capital of the World and is home to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, America’s first underwater preserve. 
 
  • Islamorada is known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, where backcountry sport fishing and saltwater fly-fishing were pioneered. 
 
  • Marathon is famous for the Seven Mile Bridge (actually 6.79 miles long), one of the longest segmental bridges in the world. 
 
  • Big Pine Key in the Lower Florida Keys is the center of a national refuge for miniature Key deer. The species has come back from near-extinction to a thriving population. 
 
  • Key West, the southernmost populated island in the Florida Keys, is about a 159-mile drive from Miami International Airport but lies only 90 miles north of Cuba. The 2-by-4-mile island features the southernmost point in the continental United States. 
 
  • Key West has been home to such literary greats as Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, who wrote some of their best-known works while living on the island.
 
  • Green mile markers along the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, descending in order from mile marker 113 at the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line to marker 0 in Key West, often are used as Keys address locators. 
 
  • The coastal waters of the entire island chain, including its shallow-water flats, mangrove islets and coral reefs, have been designated the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which protects the continental United States’ only living barrier coral reef.
 
  • The Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail is a line of nine historic underwater shipwrecks and artificial reefs extending from Key Largo to Key West and maintained by the sanctuary. 
 
 
Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS
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