As the Southernmost island chain in the U.S., the Florida Keys are the epitome of a tropical paradise with white-sand beaches and breathtaking sunsets. With more than 800 keys in total, the region is divided into five areas: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine and the Lower Keys, and Key West. Explore what each region has to offer by taking a virtual tour of the Keys below — check out the video and then five more divine stops.
Take a Virtual Tour of the Florida Keys
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
102601 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037 • (305) 451-6300
Key Largo’s star attraction is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first underwater preserve in the United States, now incorporated within the National Marine Sanctuary. These protected areas feature more than 50 varieties of delicate corals and more than 600 species of fish. Pennekamp, located at mile marker 102.5, offers a variety of water-related activities including scuba, snorkeling and glass-bottom boat excursions to the coral reef.
Morada Way Arts & Cultural District
151 Morada Way, Islamorada, FL 33036 • 140 Morada Way, Islamorada, FL 33036 • (305) 664-2471
Fine arts, music and culinary nuances of Islamorada are reflected in a burgeoning arts and cultural district that showcases eclectic galleries rich with affordable original artwork. A group of Islamorada galleries, restaurants and shops have formed the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District, whose mission is to feature regularly scheduled casual gatherings where visitors and residents can discover, enjoy and obtain stimulating, one-of-a-kind fine art. Offerings include monthly evening “walkabouts” for residents and visitors to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of Islamorada and an Art Walk on the third Thursday of each month featuring receptions with national and Keys-based artists showcased in galleries.
The Turtle Hospital
2396 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050 • (305) 743-2552
The Turtle Hospital, situated at mile marker 48.5 bayside in Marathon, is dedicated to the treatment of sea turtles. It opened in 1986 to heal injured sea turtles and return them to the wild. The hospital’s mission is to educate the public through outreach programs with local schools, conduct and assist with research that aids sea turtles in conjunction with state universities, and work toward environmental legislation that makes beaches and water safe and clean for sea turtles. Visitors can take guided educational tours of the Turtle Hospital facilities and sea turtle rehabilitation area.
Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Nature Center
30587 Overseas Hwy., Big Pine Key, FL 33043 • (305) 872-0774
The new 1,840-square-foot Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Nature Center, near mile marker 30.5, showcases the Keys’ four federally protected refuges: National Key Deer, the Key West, Great White Heron and Crocodile Lake national wildlife refuges. Visitors can get information on Keys wildlife, habitats, and places to explore and volunteer.
400 Wall St., Key West, FL 33040 • (786) 565-7448
Sunset Celebration is a nightly “street carnival” at Mallory Square, overlooking Key West Harbor. It features arts and crafts exhibitors, street performers, food carts, psychics, musicians and other entertainers. Crowds of visitors from around the world flock to the celebration each evening to observe and applaud the setting of the sun over the water.
Check out more amazing Southern destinations in our “Virtual Vacation” series. Click HERE!