Key Largo, the northernmost island in the Florida Keys, stretches from mile marker 107 on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway to mile marker 91. It’s called the Dive Capital of the World — and it first became famous when the 1948 movie "Key Largo," featuring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, hit the silver screen.
The Florida Keys Overseas Highway, which connects the entire island chain, recently won top honors in GayCities.com’s Best of 2020 awards for “Iconic Road Trips.” While experiencing the “bucket list” drive, travelers can marvel at the ever-changing land- and seascapes to be viewed from the road called the Highway That Goes to Sea.
No one can deny that 2020, and its holiday season, are different than any other year in memory. Whether grief and loss, economic fears or the stress of isolation, almost everyone is feeling the effects of the world’s coronavirus pandemic. Yet even so, it’s possible to find occasional bright spots that bring hope.
While the Florida Keys are temporarily closed to visitors, the Lower Keys’ miniature Key deer continue to flourish, untroubled by the global coronavirus crisis. The deer have been protected for more than 60 years in the National Key Deer Refuge — thanks partly to an unorthodox lawman who helped save the species from extinction.
Emmy Award–winning travel host Samantha Brown is showcasing the Florida Keys in a 30-minute episode of her program “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love,” scheduled to air on public television stations nationwide beginning in January 2020. Guided by local residents, Samantha explores the Keys’ signature foods, literary culture, history, environment and sustainability initiatives.
Interested in learning about coral restoration techniques, capturing invasive lionfish or how Florida Keys wild birds are rehabilitated? Four environmental organizations — unique attractions that appeal to nature lovers and eco-conscious vacationers — provide meaningful ways to connect with and protect the natural world during visits to the island chain.
Whether you’re intrigued by marine mammals, sea turtles, wild birds or the plants that add lushness to the Florida Keys landscape, you can indulge your interest at the island chain’s many environmental attractions. Among them are the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, the Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters and the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden — four "must-visit" spots in the colorful Keys.
All over the Florida Keys, people are constructing costumes for their cats, dogs, parrots, potbellied pigs, rabbits and other domestic species. What’s behind this strange phenomenon? A wacky annual costume competition for critters, known as the Pet Masquerade, that’s a highlight of Key West’s 10-day Fantasy Fest celebration each October.
How does it feel to a have an up-close and personal encounter with two exotic pink flamingos? Nature lovers can find out during the exclusive “Flamingle” experience at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory — believed to be the only butterfly facility in the entire United States that also houses flamingos.
It's sea turtle nesting and hatching season in the Florida Keys — AND two sea turtles rehabilitated at Marathon's Turtle Hospital were recently released to take part in the famed Tour de Turtles. Keys visitors and residents are buzzing about heartwarming video of brand-new hatchlings and the chance to track the Tour de Turtles "competitors" online.