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Prepare yourself for an out-of-continent experience. These islands tread the line between Florida and the Caribbean both geographically and in attitude. Many of its early settlers came from the Bahamas and Cuba, and the influence results in a colorful atmosphere of laid-back, spunky, quirky character. Beginning in the north, Key Largo begins the islands' reputation for incredible diving among shallow coral reefs and aquarium-clear waters. Summertime brings hunters of the spiny lobster. As you continue south, the view along the Overseas Highway is legendary, especially from Seven-Mile Bridge, below the town of Marathon. The Lower Keys lay ...

Prepare yourself for an out-of-continent experience. These islands tread the line between Florida and the Caribbean both geographically and in attitude. Many of its early settlers came from the Bahamas and Cuba, and the influence results in a colorful atmosphere of laid-back, spunky, quirky character. Beginning in the north, Key Largo begins the islands' reputation for incredible diving among shallow coral reefs and aquarium-clear waters. Summertime brings hunters of the spiny lobster. As you continue south, the view along the Overseas Highway is legendary, especially from Seven-Mile Bridge, below the town of Marathon. The Lower Keys lay claim to spectacular wildlife viewing, particularly Big Pine Key, home to the National Key Deer Refuge. All of the islands are known for their superb fishing, especially for flats fishermen in search of the elusive bonefish. Historic Key West embodies the spirit of the islands with its party attitude, known tolerance towards everyone, bawdy festivals, terrific cuisine, Old Town architecture, charming guest houses, and seaport focus.

Chelle Walton
About the Expert

Chelle Walton is coauthor of Fodor's Florida and author of Fodor's Compass American Guides: Florida and The Sarasota, Sanibel Island & Naples Book: A Complete Guide.

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Now Happening in Key West & Florida Keys

Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Key West's Fantasy Fest in October; fall, winter, and spring for weather; summer for lobstering