Florida Keys, Florida, USA

An Adventure’s Archipelago

Iyna Bort Caruso

The Florida Keys have no analogue in the continental United States. Geographically they are utterly unique—a chain of 1,700, small, semi-tropical islands arching over 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West connected by a series of bridges along US 1. For avid fishers and divers, there may be no place like it anywhere.

 The islands lie along the Florida Straits, dividing the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Every island and village along the archipelago affords immediate access to the two distinct bodies of water. On the Gulf of Mexico side, also known as the Florida Bay, boats can enter the Back Country, the vast marshy basin where the Everglades empty into lagoons near the Gulf of Mexico, casting for snook, tarpon, and redfish. On the Atlantic Ocean side, premier sport fishing—sailfish, marlin, mahi mahi—wait just a few miles offshore. Naturally, the Keys have become an ideal second-home destination for large boat owners.

 The Keys are also a renowned diving and snorkeling destination and site of North America’s only living coral barrier reef. Key Largo, 50 miles south of Miami, is known as the “Diving Capital of the World” because of its vast reef ecosystem that includes the underwater John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and numerous artificial reefs surrounding scuttled ships.

 “When you think of the Florida Keys it’s really about all these wonderful outdoor activities—paddle boarding, kayaking into the mangroves, fishing and diving scattered throughout the islands, says Lauren Varney, Marketing Director for Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty. “There’s so much to experience on the water.”

 The most premium properties in the Florida Keys showcase the 360-degrees of water, either on the oceanfront or sunset views over the bay. The Florida Keys have become a popular vacation home market for people throughout the world. These like-minded people are attracted to the laid-back lifestyle and beautiful waters of the Florida Keys as well as the fresh seafood fare and rich traditions.