What Are the Keys in Florida? If you’re not familiar with the Florida Keys, they are a chain of islands between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. They’re a popular destination for boating, fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
You can visit the famous Key West and explore its many attractions including Duval Street bars, Ernest Hemingway’s home, and museum, and its famous nightly Sunset Celebration.
If you’ve ever been to Key West, you know it’s a unique place. Besides its subtropical climate, Key West is home to an eclectic population of quirky characters.
The city’s history is also fascinating. In the early 20th century, Key West was one of the richest cities in the United States. However, during the Great Depression, it became a city of bankruptcy.
Exploring Chain of Limestone Islands in the Florida Keys
The chain of limestone islands in the Florida Keys stretches from Soldier Key, south of Key Biscayne, in Dade County, to the Dry Tortugas.
The islands are all less than five meters high. They formed by repeated flooding during the Pleistocene. During that time, the region was filled with dense forests of corals and other marine organisms.
The limestone islands of the Florida Keys are composed of two main formations of the Pleistocene age:
The Key Largo Limestone, an elevated coral reef rock, and the Miami Limestone, an oolitic limestone covering the Lower Keys. The upper and lower keys are shaped like an egg.
The upper Keys are remnants of ancient coral reefs, while the lower Keys are sandbars. These limestone islands developed about 125,000 years ago when sea levels were higher.
In time, the sea levels dropped, exposing the fossilized reefs, which eventually became limestone.
The limestone formations of the Florida Keys are composed of fossilized corals. These organisms produced calcium carbonate, which can be seen in the Windley Key Quarry and Marvin D. Adams Waterway.
Journey to the Land of Key Deer
The National Key Deer Refuge is an 8,542-acre National Wildlife Refuge in the Florida keys. It’s home to endangered Key deer. It’s located on Big Pine and No Name Keys in Monroe County, Florida.
Visitors can view these deer in their natural habitats or take photos of them.
The Key deer live in several habitats throughout the Florida keys, but their primary range is the Big Pine and No Name Keys.
These islands cover less than twelve square miles but are a key deer hotspot. They can be dangerous due to their proximity to homes, and illegal feeding has been a major cause of unhealthy conditions.
The Key deer breed during the fall and winter. During this time, the male deer can become very aggressive. They will lock their antlers together in a fierce fight for the female, and intense fighting can lead to the death of one or both of them.
During this time, the female Key deer will give birth to one fawn per year, weighing between two and four pounds.
While the Key deer population has been growing over the last few decades, they still face several threats. Hurricane Irma’s eye hit the Big Pine Key, affecting the herd.
And the increasing sea level has the potential to erode the Key deer’s habitat further. As a result, the Florida Key deer are now protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Exploring Ernest Hemingway’s Legacy in the Florida Keys
One famous literary citizen of the Florida Keys is Ernest Hemingway. Ernest Hemingway was a renowned novelist, journalist, and short-story writer who left an indelible mark on American literature.
His legacy continues to live on in the Florida Keys, where visitors can explore his many homes and the places he frequented during his life.
Ernest Hemingway’s Florida Keys is a place of beauty and wonder. From the crystal clear waters to the lush green landscape, it’s no surprise why Ernest Hemingway fell in love with this part of the Sunshine State.
He spent many years living in Key West, painting a vivid picture of life in the Keys through his writing. Today, visitors can experience a piece of Hemingway’s legacy by exploring his beloved home away from home.
From visiting iconic sites like Ernest Hemingway’s former house to snorkeling in the pristine waters, there are countless ways to connect with nature and discover what made this region so special to him.
This southern writer lived in Key West and contributed to its cultural and artistic heritage. He made the Keys into a literary hotspot and left behind a unique legacy.
The climate in the Florida Keys
The climate of the Florida Keys is largely tropical. Rainfall is most frequent in the summertime, but it usually comes in short bursts. It is rare to see days with a full washout. Winter months are generally the driest. While hurricanes are not a common threat, they do affect the Keys occasionally.
Key West has a mild climate year-round. Winters rarely dip below 60 degrees and the ocean breeze keeps the temperature moderate. The Florida Keys have the lowest average yearly rainfall, but it only comes for brief periods and then disappears into clear skies again.
This helps to keep the Florida Keys from being overly hot during the summer months. Hurricanes skirt the area, preserving its tropical beauty.
Corals are especially vulnerable to ocean acidification, which is another problem that can affect the Florida Keys. The cooler climate in the Keys may help buffer corals from the effects of ocean warming.
But in the long run, the corals may face more severe risks due to acidification.
Ocean acidification is a separate issue from ocean warming, but it is caused by carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide changes the ocean’s water chemistry, reducing the availability of minerals.
The Florida Keys are located at a latitude of between 24.3 degrees and 25.5 degrees north. The island chain is comprised of a number of small islands that are connected by an overseas highway that stretches from the Miami Dade/Monroe County Line to Key West.
The Keys are considered the southernmost point in the United States to be near the equator.
The Enduring Allure of the Florida Keys
Activities in the Florida Keys are plentiful and diverse. You can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities and see some of the area’s beautiful wildlife.
You can also relax and sunbathe on one of the islands’ beautiful beaches. There are also many free activities that you can enjoy in the area, including eco-tours and public art trails.
Activities in the Florida Keys range from boating and fishing to hiking and scuba diving. There is something for everyone, from novices to experienced adventurers.
No matter your interests, the Keys will be an excellent getaway from the routine.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular activities in the Florida Keys. The waters here are clear and home to a variety of tropical and game fish.
Diving in these waters can be thrilling and fun, and many dive sites have a wide range of species. There are also many wrecks and colorful coral reefs to explore.
If you enjoy craft beer, head to the Florida Keys Brewing Company for a brew. Their craft beer selection is impressive, and they often feature rotating taps to support causes local to the area.
For example, if you’re visiting the Keys during a conservation week, you can donate a few dollars to the nonprofit Mote Marine Laboratory. Mote’s main goal is to protect Florida Keys reefs from disease, which is destroying the ecosystem.
Best Time to Go to the Florida Keys
The best time to go to the Florida keys is a matter of personal preference. There are many factors to consider, such as the activities you want to participate in, your budget, and the time of year you plan to visit.
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, the Keys are perfect for you.
You’ll be able to spend a week exploring the islands and get the most out of your vacation without having to worry about too much traffic or crowds.
Hurricane season is an important factor to keep in mind when planning your trip. While the Keys are relatively safe, hurricanes can be devastating.
Most tropical storms that blow through the Gulf of Mexico do not make landfall, but they can cause major damage to your vacation plans.
To minimize your risk, it is advisable to avoid visiting the Keys during the months of October through January. In addition, you may want to consider booking a vacation for later in the year.
Fortunately, there are ways to enjoy the Keys even when you’re on a budget. During the summer, you’ll be able to find a hotel room for half of its usual price.
And while you’re enjoying the sunshine, you’ll also be able to take in some of the sites and attractions that the Keys have to offer.
One way to save money is to choose a smaller island to stay on. The best way to do this is to download an offline map of the area before you travel.
You can then use that map to find your way around and avoid getting lost. Also, a lot of the hotels offer discounts on lodging during the off-season.
Another advantage of traveling during the off-season is that you’ll be able to find fewer tourists. This means that you’ll have a more relaxed pace and less competition for your restaurant reservations.
However, this is also the time of the year when you’re more likely to experience rain, so you might want to avoid booking your vacation during the rainy season.
It’s not hard to see why the Keys are so popular. They’re near the southernmost point of the continental U.S., and their weather is relatively mild.
Even if you’re not an avid swimmer, you can still enjoy the Keys’ pristine beaches, fresh seafood, and quaint towns.
Aside from the weather, another big reason to visit the Keys during the off-season is that it’s cheaper to visit. Hotel rates drop a few bucks in September and November, despite the fact that there’s plenty of sun.
On the other hand, it can be a bit cool in December.
If you are a fan of swimming in the ocean, however, you’ll probably want to postpone your plans until spring or early summer.
Another reason to go during the off-season is to avoid the large crowds and high prices that often accompany peak seasons.
Although there is no such thing as a free lunch, the Florida Keys have several festivals that run throughout the winter, which is a great opportunity to enjoy the region for less.
Best Ways To Get Around The Florida Keys
There are many transportation options in the Florida Keys that will allow you to get around the island and enjoy its beauty
The following are some of the best ways you can get around the Florida Keys:
- Car rental: This is an economical and convenient way to travel the islands at your own pace. A car can be rented from any of the Florida Keys’ car rental agencies, or you can book one in advance through a major rental company.
- Overseas Highway: This scenic route runs 113 miles from Key Largo, Florida to Key West and features breathtaking views of the islands and ocean. You will find plenty of stops along the highway.
- Water transport: You have two options. You can either take a ferry to Key West or rent a boat and jet ski so you can explore the waters. Many tour companies also offer boat tours to take you to the best places for snorkeling and fishing.
- Bikes and scooters: There are many bike rental shops on islands where you can rent a scooter or bike for the day. This is a great way for you to explore the islands at your own pace while enjoying the beautiful scenery.
- Taxis or shuttles: These are available at all times and can get you to your destination safely and quickly. If you don’t want to rent a car, or if you’re traveling with a group, this is an excellent option.
You should note that prices and availability of transportation options can vary depending on the season. To ensure a pleasant and smooth experience, plan ahead and book your transportation well in advance.
The Florida Keys are the perfect destination for an unforgettable getaway. Located in the southeasternmost portion of the United States, this gorgeous archipelago stretches from the tip of the Florida peninsula to the Dry Tortugas.
A visit to these tropical islands will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime!
From iconic landmarks and attractions to stunning beaches and lush nature, there is something for everyone to explore in the Florida Keys.