Hotels in Florida Keys (Florida, USA)
Hotels in Florida Keys
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Florida Keys - Top Destinations
The picturesque and unique archipelago of Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are an array of islands which extend a further two hundred kilometres from the southern tip of Florida, ending with the island of Key West. The archipelago consists of over 1,700 islands although the core activity and population is concentrated across less than twenty of these which are linked together by the famous Overseas Highway. Visitors frequent the Keys throughout the year for its tropical climate and array of beaches and nature-spots, but there are also a few hidden gems and unexpected attractions to be found.
Key Largo and the start of the Overseas Highway
The Overseas Highway is the crucial lifeline of the area in the modern age, enabling Key West and dozens of islands along the way to be connected to mainland Florida. As a result, these islands connected by the highway are the most visited and contain the majority of the amenities and hotels in the Florida Keys. The region is then divided into the Lower, Middle and Upper Keys, with each separated from the Middle by two long bridges which are attractions in their own right. Heading south from Miami, the Upper Keys start with the largest island, Key Largo. One of the most popular islands, it is known for its excellent diving opportunities around the nearby John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, plus a large strip of shops, restaurants and tourist operators. Another popular attraction with visitors is the Botanical Gardens at Kona Kai Resort; a wide selection of exotic plants with interactive tours available. With further regards to Key Largo, it is also where several of the larger resort hotels of the Florida Keys are found, thanks to the extra land and closer proximity to Miami and the nearby international airports.
Incredible nature and wildlife in Islamorada
The region of Islamorada contains the next major islands along the highway, still considered in the Upper Keys. This collection of islands contains dozens of sublime beaches plus a host of private beach resorts and luxury accommodation, largely situated on the more populated islands such as Plantation Key and Windley Key. There are also an assortment of residential streets and holiday homes, but nonetheless a great deal for visitors to see and do. Several small state parks can be found providing further examples of the region’s natural beauty, plus the Theater of the Sea; a well-established attraction offering a variety of marine mammal interaction and shows. Families in particular enjoy this popular destination which has been operating since 1946 and continues to draw visitors from across the globe. The islands become further apart towards the the southern tip of Islamorada, ending with the protected island of Long Key and its namesake bridge. This three kilometre bridge marks the end of Upper Keys and links to Duck Key, considered the start of the Middle Keys.
An isolated collection of smaller keys
The Middle Keys are formed of a group of smaller islands, tightly placed together and linked to the other regions by two lengthy bridges. The major commercial activity is centered around the city of Marathon, which is also home to the Florida Keys Marathon International Airport, a popular landing point for private flights. Marathon houses a variety of restaurants and shops, mostly on the island of Vaca Key which is also home to a multitude of accommodation. Thanks to its small size, the Middle Keys has several beaches which are within walking distance of any hotel, making the area one of the most convenient places to stay in the Florida Keys for quick beach access. In addition, visitors can arrive from neighbouring islands into one of the multiple marinas the Middle Keys is home to. From these marinas there are also a range of sightseeing, fishing and diving boats offering guests a variety of opportunities to get out onto the water. Heading south from Marathon there are a few more smaller islands sporadically scattered along the Overseas Highway, before the start of the Seven Mile Bridge which links to Big Pine Key and the start of the Lowers Keys region.
The historical island of Key West
The region at the end of the Overseas Highway is made up of hundreds of small islands but just a few are inhabited. The highway ends on the island of Key West which is in fact closer to Havana, Cuba than it is to Miami and there is a famous marker to indicate this. This location provides it with a very warm and tropical climate and Key West claims to be the only city in the lower 48 states to have never had a frost. This helps make the island a popular destination with tourists and it is home to several attractions plus a variety of beaches and a picturesque city centre. Many of the buildings here feature distinct, historic architecture and the Old Town is consequently a well-revered spot with a host of souvenir shops and endless cafes. The famous Duval Street provides visitors with great options in terms of restaurants and nightlife. One absolute must-do is to stop in at a cafe and taste some of the famous Key Lime pie which the area is known for. Several of the Florida Keys hotels on the island are also housed in these old and quaint buildings, an element which adds to the magic of staying here.