Posted by: RasmaSandra | May 10, 2018

The Amazing Florida Keys


In our armchair travels, we just took a look at Cuba. Now we are moving on to the United States. It will take us some time to tour the states but as long as you can sit back comfortably in your armchair you can see quite a lot. Our first stop is The Florida Keys. These are tropical islands that stretch for about 120 miles off the southern tip of the U.S. state of Florida, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

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Travel is accessed by the Overseas Highway, U.S. 1 which runs over 42 bridges and many artificial causeways.

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Just off of Key Largo, the longest of the Florida Keys are John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the only living coral reef in the continental United States.

florida coral park marine santa

Here snorkelers and scuba divers can find rich underwater life and quite a few interesting shipwrecks. The park offers a small swimming area with a shell covered beach. There are picnic areas and an information center which displays the habitats and marine life. Tours are available such as glass bottom boat tours.

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Bahia Honda State Park is home to the nicest beach in the Keys. This park has two beach areas, one faces the open ocean and the smaller beach looks across to the old railroad bridge. There is a campground area and there are also picnic areas.

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Dry Tortugas National Park located 70 miles from Key West in the Gulf of Mexico is accessible only by boat or seaplane. This is an archipelago of seven beach ringed islands. It is home to Fort Jefferson, a huge fortification that takes up one island entirely.

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Big Pine Key is located between Marathon and Key West and it is home to the National Key Deer Refuge. The Key deer is a miniature species that fully grown reaches the size of a large dog. The refuge was established in 1957 and created as a sanctuary for the endangered Key deer.

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Here you’ll also find Blue Waters Hole which is a freshwater pond located in a former quarry and home to turtles and alligators.

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The Dolphin Research Center is where visitors can learn about Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions.

florida dolphin sea lion

You can watch trainers interact with the dolphins.

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Key West is home to the most southern piece of land in the U.S. A striped marker stands at the location on the seafront.

Key West, a U.S. island city, is part of the Florida Keys archipelago. It is a well-known cruise ship stop and accessible from the mainland by the Overseas Highway. It is known as a destination for snorkeling and diving and for beaches.

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In Key West, you can find the former home of well-known author Ernest Hemingway.

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Visitors can tour the home see the free-roaming cats, who are descendants of Hemingway’s original pet cats. This is a lovely Spanish-style Colonial house. Hemingway moved here in the early 1930s. He wrote “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and “The Green Hills of Africa” here.

florida custom house

Museum of Art & History at the Custom House is a good place where to learn about the history of Key West. Among the highlights are photos and archival footage of the building of the Overseas Highway, the model of the ill-fated USS Maine and the role of the Navy in Key West.

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Mallory Square once the sun goes down you can come here to see a dog walk a tightrope, a man swallows fire and British acrobats. You can enjoy beer and snacks and enjoy the music.

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Take in the beauty of the different colors of the amazing setting sun.

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Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden is the creation of Nancy, an environmental artist.

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You can take a look into her backyard and see rescued parrots and macaws. She will give an insight into these very intelligent and rare birds.

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Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center this is a 6000-sq.-ft. center and one of the best places in the Keys to learn about the amazing marine environment of South Florida. There is a 20-minute film with lovely footage of life in the reefs, hardwood hammocks, seagrass beds and mangroves. You can take a look at sea creatures in the small aquarium, making up the “Living Reef” section.

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Studios of Key West showcases many artist studios in a three-story space. It hosts some of the best art openings in Key West on the first Thursday of the month. There are TSKW hosts readings, literary and visual workshops, concerts, lectures and community discussion groups.

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Head on over to Duval Street which is the most famous road in Key West. This is the main strip known-for “The Duval Crawl” one of the wildest pub crawls in the country.

Duval Street at night, Key West, Florida Keys, Florida USA

It is amazing to see the mix of neon drink, drag shows, T-shirt kitsch, local theaters, art studios, and boutiques.

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Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is home to an impressive fort that was built in the mid-1800s and played roles in the American Civil War and in the Spanish-American War. It has one of the best beaches in Key West. Free guided tours are available.

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Key West Cemetery is at the center of the town. It was built in the 1847 and is darkly Gothic. It sits on Solares Hill, the highest point on the island. You can get a guided tour.

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Fort East Martello Museum & Gardens is an old fortress that was built to look like an old Italian Martello-style coastal watchtower.

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Here you can find historical memorabilia, artifacts, the folk art of Mario Sanchez and sculptor Stanley Papio, who worked with scrap metal.

florida martello doll

This is also the place where you can find the creepy haunted doll known as “Robert the Doll” which is a terrifying child’s toy from the 19th century that supposedly caused many misfortunes.

florida white house

Little White House is the place where the 33rd President of the US Harry S. Truman loved to vacation. It has been well-preserved and open for guided tours. A small gallery displays photos and historical items with a short video on the ground floor. There are many Truman possessions all about.

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Key West Lighthouse visitors can climb up 88 spiraling stairs to the top. This white lighthouse was built in 1846 and offers great views. You can visit the lighthouse keeper’s cottage with photographs and artifacts.

florida rum

Key West First Legal Rum opened its doors in 2013 and is a distillery that makes fine rum with Florida sugarcane and infused with coconut, vanilla, and key lime. You can try up to eight kinds of rum in the shop for $11, which include a shot glass. Visitors can take a self-guided audio tour of the one-room operation or go for the chef-guided tour.

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