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A LAID-BACK PARADISE
 
(2013 - Winter/Spring Issue)

Writer: ELIZABETH CLARKE



Nothing spells relaxation like the Florida Keys.

Known for a laid-back pace and crystal-clear waters, the five districts of the Keys offer unique ways to unwind and recharge, whether that means fishing, diving, snorkelling, sightseeing, communing with nature or simply enjoying a Jimmy Buffett-style day: sipping a margarita while soaking up the sun.

Islands in the Sun

Just an hour from Miami, Key Largo still feels a world away from city life and suburban sprawl. It’s the dive capital of the world, featuring an undersea spectacle at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park along with excellent sport fishing and lush scenery at every turn.

Head south to Islamorada, sport-fishing capital of the world, and you’ll find six islands sitting between the saltwater Everglades National Park and the continent’s only coral barrier reef. But don’t miss the great local food (fresh fish!), the History of Diving Museum and the Theater of the Sea marine mammal park, where you can feed the tarpon or swim with the dolphins.

Keep driving and bring the kids to Marathon, a 16-kilometre (10-mile) family-oriented, old-Keys-style community. Of course, it’s got top-notch boating, fishing, hiking and diving. For a little history, check out a 20th-century settler’s home on Crane Point or step back in time on Pigeon Key. Lounge on the sparkly sand at Sombrero Beach before floating in the gentle surf.

If you’re ready for some quiet time, head south to Big Pine and the Lower Keys. Check out the Looe Key coral reef or bicycle through Key deer country. Go fishing, hang out at a quaint resort or explore the remote, tropical paradise of Bahia Honda State Park.

Finally, don’t miss Key West. One sunset at Mallory Square—where jugglers, mimes and streets artists say goodbye to the sun each night—makes even the longest day of travel worth it all. Afterward, enjoy the area’s island cuisine and soak up the legendary bars along famed Duval Street. During the day, visit Ernest Hemingway’s home while strolling the palm-lined streets. Or fill your time with diving, fishing and water sports. Or rent a bike and pedal through old town Key West while admiring the architecture and lush tropical vegetation.

Travel Planner

Find more details at fla-keys.com or call 1-800-FLA-KEYS.

If you have plenty of time, fly into Miami or Fort Lauderdale, rent a car and enjoy a leisurely driving tour of each key. Pressed for time?
Fly directly to Key West or Marathon and dive right into your Keys adventure.

 
 
 
 
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