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Visiting the Florida Keys: Fun Facts
Where Are the Florida Keys
My family and I are so thankful right now to be 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 are vacationing, Islamorada, on Upper Matecumbe Key. It is another hour and a half or so 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Fishing in the Keys
The Keys are home to more sportfishing records than any other destination in the world.
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. This year it was July 25th and 26th. 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.
More to Come...
Stay tuned for more Florida Keys hubs as the days go by. Look for Florida Keys History, What to Do in the Florida Keys, and possibly more. This is one of our favorite places on earth as my husband grew up in Miami and we were able to visit more often in the past. We have enjoyed showing our children some of our history.
For More Information on The Keys
- Visiting the Florida Keys: Keys History
The beautiful Florida Keys have a rich history, from inhabitation by the Indians to explorers to Henry Flagler's railroad. This article gives a brief overview.