Florida Keys - Abbey Travel, Ireland

Florida Keys


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Welcome to Florida Keys

Florida Keys

Stretching from Miami to Key West, the southern leg of US Highway 1 covers 113 miles (182km) across 42 bridges, leapfrogging the Florida Keys, a necklace of coral islands strung across the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Key West, the very last of the Keys, is the southernmost point of the continental United States.

The Keys are a favourite destination for Americans and international tourists, who are drawn by the world-renowned seafood restaurants, funky towns, shopping, nightlife and laid-back ambience of the local communities. Others come to enjoy watery activities like scuba diving and deep-sea fishing, or explore the relics of this historically rich area.

The city of Key West can be reached from Miami in less than four hours by road, passing through the scenic vistas of the individual keys, a world of emerald-green lagoons, deep blue sea, nodding palms, rustling pines and mangrove swamps. Seabirds populate this eco-paradise and offshore countless sea creatures are protected in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Key Largo, longest island in the chain and closest to Miami, is particularly popular for diving, and is famed for its underwater preserve, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and an underwater hotel where couples can tie the knot below the waves.

Between Key Largo and Key West the highway crosses the amazing Seven Mile Bridge, largest segmental bridge in the world, situated at Marathon, where visitors can swim with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center.

Information & Facts


Although the Florida Keys have a tropical climate, temperatures never become unbearably high or unpleasantly cool, because of the cooling influence of the ocean. Summers are sunny and humid, with rain occurring mainly from late May in the form of thunderstorms, which last through to the Atlantic hurricane season. The Keys are at risk in the hurricane belt, the highest potential period for storms hitting being between mid-August and mid-October. Winters in the Keys are mild, sunny, frost free and clear.

Getting Around

The best way to explore the Florida Keys is by car, but the Overseas Highway can be extremely busy, particularly at weekends and over holiday periods, so patience is required. This is the only main road in and out of the Keys. In Key West, parking can be difficult; park-and-ride shuttles and taxis are available and recommended. Buses are available as well. The Dade-Monroe Express bus runs from Key Marathon to Florida City, offering round trips on the hour and stopping on demand. Greyhound runs a Keys shuttle bus several times a day between Miami International Airport, stopping at all major points along the Keys. Cycling is a pleasant way to explore the individual Keys, and scooter rentals are also popular.

Kids Attractions

The Florida Keys offers plenty in the way of kids' activities and attractions and families travelling with the little ones in tow will be pleased to know there's plenty of fun to be had.

Many of the resorts in the Keys cater to children with playgrounds, kid's pool, tennis, dolphin swims and more. Take older kids on a bike ride around the keys to explore all there is on offer, and with year round sunshine, the miles of sandy white tropical beaches are always beckoning and Anne's Beach on Lower Matecumbe Key on Islamorada is the perfect place to enjoy a family picnic.

Another great place to enjoy a lazy day in the sunshine is at the Botanical Gardens surrounding Matheson House, a house made from coral rock, on Lignumvitae Key, a place popular with those looking to escape the resorts and explore the Keys' natural beauty. Kids will love the nature walks in the Lower Keys and searching for the elusive Key deer on Big Pine Key will provide a morning of fun, while the resident alligator at Blue Hole, an abandoned rock quarry, is worth a visit, as is the Children's Museum in Marathon where kids can learn about the Keys' history when it was home to pirates, Indians and railroaders.

Older kids, especially boys, will love the more active and sporty Key Largo where fishing is a popular past time and, when all else fails, pack the bucket and spade, Frisbee and beach bats and head on down to the beach for a day of sand castle building and splashing in the shallows.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.


One of the world's most thrilling island archipelagos, the Florida Keys knows how to party and with a healthy respect for tourism, the Florida Keys have enough restaurants, bars, clubs and cocktail lounges that will leave even the most seasoned party-animal weak at the knees.

What could be better than sipping on a cold beer or cocktail while the sunsets across the turquoise waters off the Keys? You can do so at the World Famous Tiki Bar at the Holiday Isle Resort or the Kokomo Bar on Islamorada where the drinks never stop flowing and sunburnt sunbathers flock straight from their beach towels to imbibe.

In Key West, head to Mallory Square to kick start your night out before hitting Holiday Isle's beachside clubs, popular with twenty-somethings, or for a more raucous night on the town, head to Duval Street where there are more bars to choose from than you can count (after a few drinks) and a popular location for bar-hopping, while Ernest Hemmingway's favourite bar, Sloppy Joe's Bar, has been serving thirsty holidaymakers since 1933.

For a mellower Florida Keys experience, Key Largo's more relaxed beach bars are the perfect place to chill out and unwind with a drink such at places like Breezers Tiki Bar and the Bogart-themed Caribbean Club, while Coconuts hosts live bands from Wednesday to Sunday.

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