8 reviews. Juan Ponce de León, who arrived in Florida in about 1513, was one of the first Europeans to find and explore the islands. Action Keys Realty of The FL Keys, Inc. 800-874-1323 305-745-1323 P.O. The hurricane killed over 500 people, and the Overseas Railway (constructed in the 1910s to connect the islands) was damaged and service stopped. Coral Barrier Reef. Biscayne National Park, a short distance south of Miami Beach, includes several of the northernmost keys, and most of the keys in Florida Bay are within Everglades National Park. Pin my How to Spend 5 Days in the Florida Keys Post for Later: Thank you Kona Kai Resort for hosting us in Key Largo and thank you The Florida Keys for organizing some meals, excursions and our accommodations in Key West! Geologically, the Florida Keys are made up of the main exposed parts of coral reefs. However, very few of these are populated, and most are very small. Kach had been delayed by the winter snow storm in Philadelphia and New York, so I arrived in Key West alone at around 8 o’clock at night. Every day in the Florida Keys is going to be pretty epic but I think this day is the highlight of the itinerary. There are more than 700 islands throughout the Florida Keys. Islamorada is known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, where backcountry sport fishing and saltwater fly-fishing were pioneered. Forty-three of the islands can be reached by car via the Overseas Highway (US-1) and its side roads. https://www.thoughtco.com/geography-of-the-florida-keys-1435726 Captain Steve and 1st Mate Mitch: On the Water. But amidst the topaz waters, diving pelicans and lush mangroves are a treasure trove of attractions … Other forms of tourism and fishing are the major industries of the islands. There are an estimated 1,000 shipwrecks off the Florida Keys. Only 43 of the islands are connected via bridges. We had our first taste of the Florida Keys that night, with a seafood dinner in The Stoned Crab. These groups are the Upper Keys, the Middle Keys, the Lower Keys, and the Outlying Islands. 1947 – Only one of the two Florida hurricanes of 1947 struck the Keys and it was in the Dry Tortugas’ area on October 11. According to the link below, there are over 1,700 islands in the Keys. Blacktip sharks have distinctive black markings on the tips of their fins making them … Miami Airport to Key Largo and the Upper Keys is approximately 60 miles.. Miami Airport to the island of Islamorada 80 miles.. Miami Airport to Marathon 115 Miles. Dry Tortugas National Park is located about 70 miles (110 kilometers) from Key West and, since those islands are uninhabited, they are some of the most well preserved and protected areas in the world. • The Florida Keys and Key West tourism sector was significantly challenged in 2017 and 2018 as Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in the Keys on September 10th, 2017, destroyed infrastructure, shuttered businesses, and damaged visitor perceptions. Marathon is famous for the Seven Mile Bridge (actually 6.79 miles long), one of the longest segmental bridges in the world. All opinions are my own, thanks so much for supporting companies that make this blog possible. One of the most popular things to do in the Keys is to travel around the different islands due to a large overseas highway that connects the Keys. Despite these challenges, visitor volume fell only -0.3% in 2017 and rebounded by 1.5% in 2018 Additionally, there is still a large coral reef offshore of the Florida Keys in the Florida Straits. The Dry Tortugas National Park is almost 70 miles off the coast of Key West and a seaplane is the best way to get there for those incredible views. I collected my bag from the tiny luggage belt in the single room arrivals hall and headed to our home for the next three nights, Ibis Bay Resort, a collection of coral stone beachside bungalows on the shores of a serene bay, lined with mangroves. With many Tourists visiting other parts of Florida choosing to also visit the Florida Keys as well as Florida Residents choosing to drive to the Florida Keys, it is an extremely popular tourist destination with approximately 80 percent of visitors entering on U.S. 1. The Keys contain the Florida Reef; the only living coral barrier in … Because of its biodiversity, ecotourism is becoming a large part of the Florida Keys economy. Lonely Planet - People come to Florida for many reasons – warm weather, good vibes, and ecosystems like no other chief among them. 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. This activity was dependent on the frequent shipwrecks in the area. This reef is called the Florida Reef, and it is the third-largest barrier reef in the world. This nine-foot-tall, 4,000 pound replica of a similar statue, located in the waters off the coast of Italy, is submerged in 25 feet of water at Key Largo Dry Rocks. While its quirky, … In 1935 the Florida Keys were struck by one of the worst hurricanes ever to hit the United States. And lastly, the route that many people take is by flying into Miami Airport and then driving down to Key West...so how long does it take? The islands have low elevations; the flooding from the storm surges that usually accompany hurricanes can, therefore, easily damage large areas of the Keys. Key West. The 2-by-4-mile island features the southernmost point in the continental United States. Big Pine Key in the Lower Florida Keys is the center of a national refuge for miniature Key deer. This archipelago extends over 198 square miles from the Soldier Keys to the Dry Tortugas. By the early 1900s, however, Key West's prosperity began to decline as better navigational techniques reduced area shipwrecks. After spending a few great days in the northern Keys … Take a seaplane excursion to the Dry Tortugas National Park/Fort Jefferson with Key West Seaplane Adventures.. The Richmond blimp base in south Dade lost 25 blimps. The total number of households is 5,483 with 2 people per household on average.The median age of the current population is 53 with 6,026 people being married and 5,743 being single. Change your password and update your account information. To get to Key West, you have to drive the entire length of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, 113 miles, passing through a myriad of other islands - Key … The first inhabitants of the Florida Keys were Indigenous peoples: the Calusa and Tequesta. Most of them are small and uninhabited. The Florida Keys are a highly biodiverse area because of the presence of coral reefs as well as undeveloped forested areas. Learn More. However, the Upper Keys reported minimal hurricane damage just as it did in Hurricane Andrew. 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 most populated city in the Florida Keys is Key West; many other areas are sparsely populated. The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 blasted into Islamorada late at night on Sept. 2. Only 43 of the islands are connected via bridges. In their early days, Key West and the Florida Keys were a major part of the area's wrecking industry—an "industry" that took or "salvaged" valuables from shipwrecks. A road trip through the Florida Keys is its own reward: a 113-mile journey across islands with some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous scenery you’ll ever lay eyes on. A highway, called the Overseas Highway, later replaced the railway as the main form of transportation in the area. Drive to Key West with Stops Along the Way. Today the total land area of the Florida Keys is 137.3 square miles (356 sq km) and in total there are over 1700 islands in the archipelago. Because of the resultant economic struggles, the mayor of Key West, Dennis Wardlow, declared the city as independent and renamed it the Conch Republic on April 23, 1982. The Florida Keys Overseas Highway is 113 miles long, starting at the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line and ending in Key West. The species has come back from near-extinction to a thriving population. quicklist: 1 title: Key Largo text: Key Largo is the northernmost of the Florida Keys connected by U.S. Highway 1, and is located just 18 miles south of … Throughout much of their modern history, the Florida Keys have been a convenient area for drug smugglers and illegal immigration. Over time, Key West began to grow into Florida's largest town due to its proximity to Cuba and the Bahamas and a trade route to New Orleans. What makes the Seven Mile Bridge so fascinating? Snorkeler Katherine Wieland examines the "Christ of the Deep" statue in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo, Fla. Stay up to date on recent news, articles, and more by subscribing to e-mail alerts for one or more of our news topics. Request specific information regarding new stories, press kits, photographs and other information. In 1822, the Keys (along with the rest of Florida) became an official part of the United States. The Overseas Highway is a 113-mile (181.9 km) highway carrying U.S. Route 1 (US 1) through the Florida Keys to Key West.Large parts of it were built on the former right-of-way of the Overseas Railroad, the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway.Completed in 1912, the Overseas Railroad was heavily damaged and partially destroyed in the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. Artificial Reefs. For one thing, it’s one of the longest segmental bridges in the world and the centerpiece of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway that winds throughout the entire island chain. 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. She holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from California State University. He studied and lived in many places (including a few places in Peru), and settled on the Florida Keys for its incredible lushness. Miami Airport to Big Pine 130 Miles. Reefs provide habitat for a wide variety of marine life. On September 2, 1935, hurricane winds of over 200 miles per hour (320 kilometers/hour) hit the islands and a storm surge of over 17.5 feet (5.3 meters) quickly flooded them. Approximately 1,700 islands make up the Florida Keys. The climate of the Florida Keys is tropical, as is the southern part of the state of Florida. In areas such as the Florida Keys, reefs are closely connected to the economy, attracting … After a short drive, we arrived at our first property of the trip, the Amara Cay Resort.Recognized by the Conde Nast Traveler 2017 Reader's Choice Awards as a top resort in the Florida Keys, the Amara Cay property is absolutely stunning and certainly takes curating a beautiful and relaxing guest experience to heart. Being on the left side of a hurricane was a definite advantage. Key Colony Beach Recreation. #661 of 1015 Outdoor Activities in Florida Keys. Located in the tropical southeastern United States, the Florida Keys are a top destination for visitors of all ages—and the drive from Miami to Key West is one of America’s most iconic road trips. Box 421063 Summerland Key, FL 33042 Many of the keys fall within the boundaries of three national parks. Blacktip Shark. Amanda Briney, M.A., is a professional geographer. Florida Bay, triangular-shaped shallow body of water between the Gulf of Mexico and Biscayne Bay at the southern end of Florida, U.S.The bay, which covers about 850 square miles (2,200 square km), is partially sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean on the south and east by the Florida Keys.The average depth is about 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 metres), and the area is scattered with small islands. There are an estimated 1,000 shipwrecks off the Florida Keys. That’s thousands of lots that have been purchased, but not yet built upon. 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. A sprawling 13-acre estate in the Florida Keys hit the market for $24.5 million. Although if you are a film buff, then you may like to pay a visit to the original African Queen boat, which old … Today the total land area of the Florida Keys is 137.3 square miles (356 square kilometers), and in total there are over 1700 islands in the archipelago. In total there are 42 bridges connecting the islands; the Seven Mile Bridge is the longest. During those months are some of the most comfortable months due to weather but can generally carry a higher price and higher room rate for your guests . Jeff Kesling Jr., the 36-year-old owner of the only meadery in the Florida Keys, was one of those dreamers. Let’s start with Key West, the southernmost point in the continental U.S. Some of the islands have been exposed for so long that sand has built up around them, creating barrier islands, while other smaller islands remain as coral atolls. The waters around the islands are home to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Florida Keys is an area in Monroe County,Florida with a population of 13,217. 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 seven miles long — over the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Driving Distances From Miami Airport. However, very few of these are populated, and most are very small. S hipwrecks lie scattered along the treacherous coral reefs and buried in the sandy shallows a few miles off the Florida Keys. If you are inclined to think the Sunshine State is … Photo by Stephen Frink/Florida Keys News Bureau, This area is reserved for members of the news media. This roadblock later began to hurt the economy of the Florida Keys as it delayed tourists going to and from the islands. … Blacktip Shark extends over 198 square miles from the islands are connected bridges! 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