The Florida Keys have long been a popular choice for film producers seeking a subtropical adventure setting for their next cinematic project. Since the late 1940s, the island chain has played a role in many notable films — ranging from Bogart's "Key Largo" to James Bond classics and contemporary fare like "The Beach Bum."
The Florida Keys are full of unforgettable activities for parents, kids, grandparents and extended families. And through Oct. 15, the Key West Attractions Association invites families to explore the island chain’s attractions, tours, watersports and other offerings with a value-added program that provides free admission and opportunities for kids age 12 or younger.
For 15 years Jeanne Selander has overseen the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm on Stock Island — believed to be the only facility of its kind on jailhouse property in the United States — and the care of 150 exotic creatures. Her “charges” include an ostrich, lemurs, kinkajous, bearded dragons and 17-year-old Mo the Sloth.
The bearded brotherhood of Hemingway Look-Alike Contest winners gained a new member July 25 in Key West, home of legendary author Ernest Hemingway for most of the 1930s. Zach Taylor, a 63-year-old white-bearded Georgia man, triumphed over 136 other entrants to win the contest that highlights the island city’s annual Hemingway Days celebration.
Key West, at the tip of the Florida Keys, blends 19th-century charm with a laid-back contemporary atmosphere. Visitors to the continental United States’ southernmost city will find palm-shaded streets, picturesque Victorian architecture, environmental attractions and eco-experiences, a lively multicultural culinary scene, unique museums, a nightly waterfront sunset celebration and a flourishing arts community.
Stretching from the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge to Stock Island, the Lower Keys are home to two national wildlife refuges including one protecting Key deer, a state park and part of a national marine sanctuary. The region’s focus on the environment has earned it the title of the Natural Keys.
The islands of Marathon in the Middle Keys appeal to multigenerational families and recreational boaters with facilities including cozy inns, luxury resorts, waterside vacation homes, RV parks, marinas and plenty of dining and natural attractions. Highlights include the world-renowned Turtle Hospital, Crane Point Hammock, historic Pigeon Key and the iconic Seven Mile Bridge.
Islamorada, heralded for its angling diversity, features the Florida Keys' largest fleet of offshore charter and shallow-water “backcountry” boats. The area also offers eco-tours, reef diving and snorkeling, watersports such as stand-up paddling and kiteboarding, tennis facilities, bicycle trails, historic hikes, enticing galleries and beautiful vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay.
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.
These days, people are hungry to reconnect with the individuals and activities that matter most to them. And the Florida Keys are uniquely positioned to satisfy that desire. The Keys’ vast open spaces offer seemingly endless opportunities to rediscover the natural world after coronavirus confinement, and share unforgettable experiences with friends and family.