About The Florida Keys


The Florida Keys consist of a chain of islands connected by 42 bridges, positioned just south of Miami. Each island has its own special flavor – historic places, regional cuisine, uncommon flora and fauna, distinct fishing and diving locations and local idiosyncrasies. Key Largo is known as the “Diving Capital of the World” while Islamorada is called the “Sport Fishing Capital”. Marathon, a more developed midpoint metropolis, is considered the “Heart of the Keys”. Big Pine Key has tall evergreen trees and fresh water, making it the ideal home for the diminutive Key deer. The Lower Keys are perhaps the most unspoiled and untouched by progress of all of the Keys And Key West, located at the very end of US Highway 1 is the oldest city and the “Southernmost”. Often described as racy, raucous, bawdy, and brilliant, Key West has become a Mecca for dropouts, millionaires, and tourists. All told, our home is 120 miles of perfect balance between natural beauty and extraordinary excitement. In the following page, you’ll get to know your island home.

Key Largo


Legend has it that in the early 1500’s when Spanish explorers first set foot on the coral rock island that is now called Key Largo, they were greeted by the Calusa Indians. Because of its size, the Spanish named it Cayo Largo (meaning Long Key). It is the first island of the Florida Keys. Like most of the Florida Keys, Key Largo is a water lover’s paradise. With the underwater John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the crystal waters at Molasses Reef, and the caves of French Reef close at-hand, it’s easy to understand why Key Largo is known as the Diving Capital of the World. Key Largo also is home to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, where a variety of sick or injured birds are brought to be rehabilitated and set free. Self-guided tours through the center will introduce you to just some of the native birds of our area. –Key Largo Real Estate To explore more of the Florida Keys natural environment, schedule a guided trek through the Key Largo State Botanical Site, where an array of endangered plants and animals, rare birds, and other exotic wildlife resides. Nature trails also are offered at Pennekamp Park. Harry Harris Park, located in Tavernier at the southern end of Key Largo provides a public park for locals and visitors alike. –Tavernier Real Estate Features of the park include a public boat ramp, sandy beach and baseball fields. Tavernier boasts some of the oldest buildings in the Upper Keys, allowing for a peek into this area’s rich history. If it’s good fishing you’re after, look no further. From hard-fighting, deep-sea game fish like marlin, wahoo, sailfish and tuna, to backcountry favorites like tarpon and bonefish, Key Largo offers anglers of any skill a great variety and abundance year-round. The splendors of this tropical paradise provide a life style unchallenged anywhere in the world. Come and create your own legends, stay and let us share our unique heritage with you again and again.

Islamorada


Hundreds of years ago, Spanish explorers sailed by Islamorada, saw the purple hue of its coastline (from the lavender shells of sea snails, Janthina) and gave it its name “islas moradas”, Spanish for purple isles. Indians lived on this small clump of islands nearly 4,000 years ago. It’s not likely that you’ll see any purple snails, but there’s plenty of local color to take in. Located South West of Key Largo on Upper Matecumbe Key, Islamorada is the self-proclaimed “Sport fishing Capital of the World”. Islamorada is now one of the largest towns in the Keys, known as the Village of Islands. The Village offers a number of attractions in addition to fabulous fishing and diving. You can explore the wreckage of the Dutch-built ship San Pedro (located in 18-feet of water about 1.25 nautical miles south of Indian Key) or the Underwater Coral Gardens of both Upper / Lower Matecumbe Keys. Nature buffs will find plenty to do here. At Long Key State Recreation Area, campers can kick back or meander nature trails. Added trails are offered at Windley Key Quarry Fossil Reef State Geologic Site, where acres of fossilized coral and an environmental center are at-hand, and at Lignumvitae Key State Botanical Site-an island with the highest elevation in the Keys: a dizzying 18 feet. –Islamorada Real Estate

Marathon


Often referred to as the “Heart of the Keys”, Marathon is located in the center of the Florida Keys. No island or attraction in the Keys is more than 60 minutes away. Perhaps the best known icon of Marathon is the Seven Mile Bridge, the longest segmental bridge in the world. Beside its new concrete counterpart, the old Seven Mile Bridge jets into the sea like a giant fishing pier, inviting anglers, walkers and nature lovers to enjoy one of the Florida Keys’ most scenic and historic treats. One of the Keys’ two airports is located in Marathon (MM 52) as well as a nine-hole golf course (at Key Colony), sport resorts, and a resident population of more than 11,000. It’s from here that travelers begin their breathtaking drive on the Seven Mile Bridge, a vantage point unsurpassed for taking in the sheer sweep of the Straits of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Having since grown into a sizable resort area –sport fishing being the primary reason — Marathon boast what amounts to the world’s longest fishing pier. Twelve miles of former bridges, closed to automobile traffic since the 1982 Overseas Highway renovation, serve avid bridge anglers. Numerous certified charter boat captains reside in Marathon, taking visitors and locals alike diving, snorkeling, fishing, sailing and touring along our coral reef. Marathon is also home to Crane Point Hammock, a 63.5 acre land tract that is one of the most important historical and archaeological sites in the Keys. The area contains evidence of pre-Colombian and prehistoric Bahamian artifacts, and once was the site of an entire Indian village. On site are the Museum of Natural History of the Florida Keys and an adjoining children’s museum. Another historical site, recently opened to the public is Pigeon Key, the historic old Railroad Island, located in the middle of the Old Seven Mile Bridge. It was the location of the work camp and village for the hardy souls that constructed, operated and maintained the bridge itself, and is currently undergoing restoration of the historic buildings. Marathon also is home to the Dolphin Research Center and the Turtle Hospital. Both play important roles in the preservation of indigenous Keys’ marine life.

Lower Keys


The Lower Keys are certainly unique in their makeup. Taking a Westerly turn after the Seven Mile Bridge these Keys are by far the most unspoiled islands in the Keys, and are rich in history. Geologists claim that the Lower Keys could be part of the original Appalachian ridge because of their physical characteristics. The islands have a deep foundation of fossil coral layered with oolite (egg-shaped limestone granules) and a northward alignment into the Gulf of Mexico. Some, like Big Pine Key even feature fresh water. If you’re interested in getting back to nature, you’ll find a camping resort at MM 39 on Sunshine Key. Further south, Bahia Honda State Recreation Area (MM37) features three camping areas. On the south side of Spanish Harbor at MM 30 is the National Key Deer Refuge. Divers and snorkelers will find an underwater paradise at Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, five to six miles South West of Big Pine Key.

Key West


Key West is the end of the road in our chain of islands It’s a city where real estate titles date back to the Kings of Spain. It’s filled with palm-lined streets and gingerbread mansions, tin-roofed conch houses, the John Audubon House and Ernest Hemingway’s home. Its history includes Thomas Edison, Lou Gehrig, Harry Truman, and Tennessee Williams. It’s home of the treasure of the Spanish galleon, La Nuestra Senora de Atocha. All on an island four miles long by two miles wide. Key West is blessed with near-perfect weather and is surrounded by a bountiful coral reef, making the great outdoors one of the island’s biggest attractions. The southern coast is lined with sandy beaches, with facilities ranging from tennis courts and picnic tables to water sports concessions and restaurants. Fishing, scuba diving, and nature tours lure the more energetic visitors onto the warm, clear waters. Birders are equally impressed with the opportunities the island’s weather and waters afford. More than 60 species breed here, while another 140 or so can be spotted on migration stops. It’s a fascinating place, with a rich and varied history. The past includes a star-studded list of writers, artists, and statesmen, from Hemingway and President Truman to Tennessee Williams and John James Audubon, all of whose residences now house museums. Key West prides itself in scores of buildings dating back to the early 1800s. Locals who appreciate Key West’s architecture strive to restore rather than build new. As a result, few other cities can claim as many well preserved Victorian era houses. Conchs also are enthusiastic about their dining. Key West’s proximity to the sea gives it a long tradition of fresh seafood, but the result of 200 years of influence by Bahamians, Cubans, New Englanders, and tourists has created much more complex, international dining. Atmosphere and prices are equally diverse, with expensive, elegant dining rooms overlooking the ocean just a block away from moderately priced rustic, open-air bars and restaurants specializing in Cuban or Caribbean food. Whether it’s the hectic pace of spring break or Fantasy Fest, or just another calm peaceful day in paradise. Key West offers something for everyone.

Fishing


Fishing and the Florida Keys a combination that can’t be beat. Whether you’re looking for the excitement of deep sea fishing or the serenity of flats fishing, you’re sure to find the type of fishing that suits you here in the Florida Keys.

Backcountry Fishing


When you hire a backcountry guide, you’re doing more than just heading out for a day of saltwater angling. Specially designed skiffs average from 16 to 20 feet in length with shallow draft enabling them to run through shallow water. Common catches when fishing the flats include barracuda, bonefish, permit, redfish, shark and tarpon. Backcountry fishing in Florida Bay brings with it the excellent chance to reel in black drum, ladyfish, pompano, redfish, sheepshead, shark, snapper, snook, tarpon and trout.

Party Boat Fishing


For those looking to get out in the open seas (but not too far out) there is an abundance of party boats (or headboats) throughout the entire Florida Keys. Ranging in size by passenger capacity, party boats are the perfect choice for the novice fishermen looking for a chance to reel in the big one. Both half day and full-day excursions are available, and you will find a knowledgeable and friendly crew waiting to make even the most inexperienced angler welcome. Generally, Keys party boats fish at anchor in a variety of locations. In shallow waters, anglers can expect to catch cero and Spanish mackerel on the surface and grouper, mangrove snapper, mutton, porgy, sheepshead and yellowtail. Fishing reefs bring catches that can include big grouper, bonito, cero, king mackerel, mutton snapper, sailfish, tuna, yellowtail and wahoo. Deep ledge (130 to 200 feet) fishing is the spot of choice for big king mackerel, muttons, vermillion and lane snappers, larger porgy, mangrove, silk and genuine red snappers. Fishing the wrecks will bring big amberjack, smoker kings, grouper and blacktip sharks.

Deep Sea Fishing


If it’s serious fishing you’re looking for, deep sea fishing is the answer for you. Charters to the Gulf Stream offer challenging and exciting fishing, usually at depths of 1,000 to 2,000 feet. Seasoned anglers will find the thrill of the hunt for dolphin (the fish), marlin, sailfish, shark, tuna and wahoo. Smaller than party boat charters, deep sea charters (also known as offshore) generally take up to six people. As with party boats, both half and full day excursions are available. The groups are smaller and the cost is higher, but the challenge is far greater, and worth it. For the veteran big game fisherman who wants the best, the answer is found in the deep sea.

Snorkeling and Diving


Snorkeling and diving the reef off the Keys is an unforgettable experience. The Florida Keys are home to the longest living reef in the Western hemisphere; with over 500 wrecks to explore; an underwater hotel, and crystal clear waters with visibility up to 120 feet. The reef consists of corals such as stag and elkhorn, brain, tree and sea fans along with more than 600 varieties of fish. The shapes, colors and unique characteristics of the reef create a living, breathing, moving landscape. Wreck diving has become increasingly popular in the Keys. These artificial reefs provide excellent night dive sites and give the natural reef a much needed rest. Though many of the Keys wrecks are historically significant, such as Spanish galleons and civil wars wrecks, others have been man made by citizens concerned about the preservation of the natural reef. Scuba instruction at all levels from open water through instruction certification is available at many dive operations. Thanks for visiting the best website for Florida Keys real estate. Although the site specializes in Key Largo Real Estate, feel free to browse and/or contact Pete for any property in the Florida Keys. –Florida Keys Real Estate, Key Largo Real Estate