What makes the Florida Keys so unique? Where else in the continuous United States can you get tropical weather, island living, and the best fishing and diving spots known to man. We are 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 Florida Keys Overseas Highway is 113 miles long, starting at the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line and ending at Key West.
The Keys are divided into five regions: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine and the Lower Keys, and 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, offshore 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.
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.
The Florida Keys is a place like no other; no island, reef, or flat is the same, and with every Mile Marker is a new place or different view to enjoy.