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Visiting the Florida Keys: Fun Facts

Updated on June 18, 2018
TripleAMom profile image

Wendy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with three children (21, 18, and 12). She enjoys family, the beach, and time at the horse farm.

Map of Florida Keys
Map of Florida Keys | Source

Where Are the Florida Keys

My family and I enjoy vacationing in the Florida Keys. Even though we we live in Pensacola, Florida, the Keys seem a world away because we live at one end of Florida and the Keys are at the opposite end, the very tip of Florida. It is a 13 hour trip from Pensacola to the area where we vacation, a town called Islamorada which incorporates Upper Matecumbe Key.and a couple of other keys. It is another hour and a half down to Key West. It is about three hours from Miami all the way down to Key West. It is interesting that the southern tip of Key West is only 90 miles from Cuba. The keys are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida Keys Beauty
Florida Keys Beauty

Facts About the Florida Keys

  • The Florida Keys are made up of about 1700 islands. Very few are populated and only 43 are connected by bridges.
  • The total land area of the Florida Keys is 137.3 square miles.
  • 42 bridges connect the islands, with the longest being the world famous Seven Mile Bridge, and the shortest being only 37 feet long.
  • The inhabited Keys are connected by Highway US1, which is also known as the Overseas Highway. It was completed in 1938.
  • To find locations in the Keys, Mile Markers are used. For example, your hotel may be at MM 54. The tip of Key West is MM 0.
  • Famous people in history making their home in the Keys: novelist Ernest Hemingway, playwrite Tennessee Williams, and studier of birds John James Audubon. Hemingway's home can be toured in Key West.
  • Islamorada is considered the "Sport fishing capital of the world". Some of the best charter boat captains can be found here.
  • The "Hemingway Cat" is a polydactyl cat, a cat with 6 toes, acquired by Ernest Hemingway from a ship's captain in Key West. Today more than 60 of these cats can be found in Hemingway's home in Key West and are protected by his will. Some of these are decendents of Hemingway's first cat.
  • Some animals of the Keys: Key Deer, Lower Keys Marsh rabbit, Key Largo wood rat, Manatee, Caribbean Monk Seal, sea turtles, osprey, bald eagle, and so many more.
  • Do you like Key Lime Pie? The origin comes from the 19th century in Key West, Florida. Key Lime Pie is the official pie of the state of Florida as of legislation enacted on July 1, 2006. In 1965, legislator, Bernie Papy, Jr. wrote legislation stating that a $100 fine would be imposed on anyone advertising "Key Lime Pie" that wasn't actually made from key limes. It did not pass.

Photo from shore onto the Atlantic Ocean.
Photo from shore onto the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Marathon Key is home to the Turtle Hospital, at Mile Marker 48.5 bayside. It is the only veterinary hospital in the world dedicated to the treatment of sea turtles. It was opened in 1986 to heal injured sea turtles and return them to the wild.The most common type of sea turtle in the Keys is the Loggerhead turtle.
  • Key Largo is known for John Pennekamp State Park, which was the first underwater preserve in the United States. It celebrated it's 50th birthday on December 10, 2010.
  • Conch shells, particularly the Queen Conch, used to be harvested for it's meat and the shells used as a means of communication. It is now illegal to harvest conch, and all meat from conch shells used to make the famed conch fritters known in the Keys comes from the Bahamas.


Florida spiny lobster
Florida spiny lobster | Source

Fishing in the Keys

The Keys are home to more sport fishing records than any other destination in the world. The best sport fish to find in the Keys include amberjack, bonefish, dolphin (mahi mahi), grouper, sailfish, swordfish, and shark.

Many presidents have vacationed in the Keys and enjoyed fishing. These presidents have included Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, and George HW Bush.

Stone Crab season is October 15-May 15 each year. Stone crabs are harvested for their claws. It is indicated that the crabs can regrow their claws, and though it is legal to harvest both of a crab's claws, it is to the crab's advantage to only harvest one.

There are two Lobser seasons in the Keys. There is a mini season that lasts for two days in July. Actual lobster season runs from August 6-March 31. In Florida the catch is the Florida Spiny Lobster which looks and tastes different than Maine lobster.

Robbie's Marina and Bud N Mary's Marina in Islamorada are not only known for great fishing charters, but both marinas have very large tarpon hanging out around the docks that visitors can feed. Beware of the pelicans who like to steal the fish before they hit the water.

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    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      3 years ago from Florida

      Keiffer, thank you so much for your comment. I really enjoyed researching this.

    • profile image

      Keiffer 

      3 years ago

      I'd vetrune that this article has saved me more time than any other.

    • profile image

      Bhumi 

      3 years ago

      haricot: I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think minkag the best of out the cards that we have is the wisest and most positive outlook one can ever have. galaxy: Heaven knows 當然是玄又又玄的答案 簡直不可說 :o)

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 

      5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Great hub with lots of info. Been only to Orlando, but hoping to visit the other areas someday.

      Voting up....

    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      5 years ago from Florida

      blissfulwriter-I don't mind at all the link, thanks very much. Ronclimer-Sounds like a great book, I'll check it out. This is only the first of 3 articles on the Keys. Published the 2nd last night and about to start working on the 3rd. I see you're from Orlando, another Floridian. I have an article on Pensacola also :). Can you tell I love Florida!!

    • Ronclimer profile image

      Ronclimer 

      5 years ago from First Real Estate School in Hendersonville, North Carolina

      Great article. I just finisfed reading a book,"Last Train To Paradise". It is the story of Henry Flagler building the overseas railroad to Key West in 1910. Check this out from your library on audio for your next trip from Pensacola to key west.

      You didn't mention the sunset celebration at Mallory Square. Great article.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 

      5 years ago

      Those are quite interesting facts. So interesting that I decided to link to your Hub from my Hub about Florida here ...

      http://blissfulwriter.hubpages.com/t/324cd5

      Hope you don't mind.

    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Slywas- I know where you're talking about. Hope your vacation is awesome.

    • slywas007 profile image

      Idalberto TOrres 

      5 years ago from Miami Florida

      TripleAMom will be staying in Key Largo Florida near John Pennekamp Park.

    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      5 years ago from Florida

      superfreak-it is definitely worth the trip. We have loved being here. slywas007-this is a great place for the rest. Where do you stay (what key)? Thanks to both of you for commenting.

    • slywas007 profile image

      Idalberto TOrres 

      5 years ago from Miami Florida

      Great Hub!!! I will be vacationing in the Keys next week so it was great to read your Hub. I am looking forward to some rest and relaxation combined with some fishing!!!

    • Superfreak profile image

      Superfreak 

      5 years ago from Lousisana

      Reading this really makes me want to go to the keys as I love sport fishing and did know that fact about so many record fish have come from there.

    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      5 years ago from Florida

      I'll have another one out today and planning on a third about the Keys. I'm loving this series!! The research is quite fun. Thanks teaches.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Living so close to this area, it is sad that we have not made it down there yet. You have made it all the more interesting and have forced me to consider a trip soon.

    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Dexter-thanks for reading and commenting. It is definitely bringing back memories for us. We came here more often when my husband's parents were in Miami, but now that his mother is in Gainesville, we haven't been here in a long time.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 

      5 years ago from United States

      I have been to the Florida Keys once and absolutely loved it. This hub brought back great memories. I am looking forward to more information you will be sharing. Have a great time!

    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Swflorida, how awesome to get down.every 6 months. My husband lived in Miami flowing up and went often too. It's amazing.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      Since we lived in Florida for several years we often went to the keys. I loved Keywest with all its history. And it is a beautiful place. and fun just to roam around. You did a great job in covering every aspect of this fun and wonderful place. Voted UP

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      I have always wanted to visit the Keys. Thank you for telling us so much about them. Have fun down there!

    • swflorida profile image

      swflorida 

      5 years ago from Sarasota, FL

      Key West is amazing, there is no place like it! We visit every 6 months, it is only a 5 1/2 hour car trip for us. I love the drive. @Carly - I have never seen "critters" down there, like at home. Key West is only 4 miles by 2 miles I believe. I don't think there is that much room for them to roam : )

    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      5 years ago from Florida

      The Keys are beautiful. There are some places where you can walk out in the "back country" very far into the water and see so many things. It's pretty shallow. There are some alligators and crocs, but you don't see them except in marshes, and where you stay, it's not like that. There are bugs, but not bad. I am from Florida so I guess I'm used to it. REally though, the Keys are great. Will post more pics in next couple of hubs.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      You know I have been in Orlando for about 5 years now. I moved from Michigan. I still can't get used to the scary, deadly snakes, big spiders and always on the look out for those gators ready to snatch off a toe by the water's edge. Let alone the biggest bugs I have ever seen and things always seem to move in bushes. Are the Keys like that too?

    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      5 years ago from Florida

      CarlySullens--It is definitely hot but worth it. Watch for my other hubs coming. One will be about things to do down here. We are renting a boat from this awesome place that has good prices.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Sounds like a great vacation. My husband has been wanting to take me to the keys, and we live in Orlando. I have never been there but look forward to going. Although you are brave to go in August!!!! Is it real hot there? Maybe in winter we will head down to the keys for some R and R.

    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      5 years ago from Florida

      No problem Mhatter. It's fun to learn.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for sharing these fun and interesting facts.

    • TripleAMom profile imageAUTHOR

      TripleAMom 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Realhousewife, I live close to Destin. I think our beaches are prettier with the sugar white sand, but the atmosphere and the water is just amazing here. Billy-I'll try to have fun for both of us :) We've been trying to get back down here for years. It's actually been 10 years. Even though we're in the same state as the Keys, with gas prices and cost of staying down here, it can get really expensive. Haven't been able to until this year, but it's one of my favorite places on earth for sure. T4an-will enjoy seeing your hub on the Caribbean. One of my close friends is in Grand Cayman. Julie-thanks for reading and commenting. bankscottage-I will definitely look for the Wyland Whaling Walls. We are going to Key West one day. I've actually never been all the way down because we love the middle keys.

    • bankscottage profile image

      bankscottage 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great Hub. Hope you have a great time in the Keys. I've been there a few times. We took our kids on vacation and part of the vacation was the experience of traveling the Overseas Highway. Look for the Wyland Whaling Walls (one in Key West, 2 in Marathon). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Whaling_Walls... I enjoy the Keys, it is almost like going to the Caribbean with out leaving the U.S.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      5 years ago from Clinton CT

      I've never been there, but I would love to go. Great list of facts!!!

    • T4an profile image

      T4an 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Great hub. I have been to Florida about 4 times, but it has been such a long time since I have been there. I like the 'series hubs'. I am doing one on the Caribbean at the moment. You have made me want to go back to Florida. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Have a great time Wendy! Have a vacation for me while you are at it. Not that I'm jealous or anything.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hey pretty cool! I have been to Florida several times - but we went to Destin and Miami. I have never been to the keys but it looks like there are many great reasons to hit it!

      Thanks - great hub!

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