Sarah Fangman, superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, is a Minnesota native whose impressive career as a marine scientist has spanned the country. Not only has she conducted more than 600 dives in sanctuary waters, she also holds a Coast Guard 100-ton master captain’s license and is a certified submersible pilot.
Captain Samantha “Sam” Zeher operates KeyZ Charters, an eco-tour operation specializing in wildlife tours out of Islamorada’s popular Robbie’s Marina. Offerings include sightseeing excursions with birdwatching and sunset viewing and Islamorada–area island trips that explore Indian Key, Lignumvitae Key and Alligator Lighthouse — each with a history dating back to the 1800s.
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.
The Florida Keys island chain offers scores of opportunities to reconnect through shared experiences and memory-making adventures like kayaking or exploring the coral reef. One of the Keys’ most popular action-packed adventures, and one that typically inspires good storytelling, is fishing — whether in deep blue water, along the reef or in the backcountry.
To reconnect with the natural world of the Florida Keys, immerse yourself in the island chain’s many open-air areas where seclusion is intrinsic. Wander along sandy beaches, discover nature trails through hammocks and rainforest areas, or explore the clear blue waters surrounding the Keys. Or find natural gems during a hike or bicycle ride.
In the Florida Keys, the 125-mile-long island chain at the southern tip of Florida, family members can find seemingly endless ways to reconnect. A family road trip through the Keys features five destinations in one vacation: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine and the Lower Keys, and the southernmost island of Key West.