Quick Facts About the Florida Keys & Key West
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 7 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 at 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.