CITY MILE MARKER
APPROX. MILES FROM MIAMI
Key Largo MM118-90.7 58
Islamorada MM90.7- 63 76
Marathon MM63-47 111
Lower Keys MM47- 4 128
Key West MM4-0 159
When Jimmy Buffett sings about "Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude" in
the Florida Keys, he has things absolutely right. The Florida Keys are casual,
relaxed, and dedicated to preserving their laid-back nature. Leave your neckties
and high heels at home. Business as usual in the Keys means "No jacket
required". The Florida Keys stretch some 200 sun-drenched miles from
Biscayne Bay to the Dry Tortugas, encompassing innumerable islands, reefs,
lakes, bays, and beaches. The largest of the Florida Keys is the first Key - Key
Largo. The most famous of the Florida Keys is Key West - the last Key in the
string of islands. The Florida Keys are linked by 42 bridges scattered along the
126-mile Overseas Highway. Businesses and residents refer to where you are
in the Florida Keys by the Mile Marker - the green and white markers along the
highway. The Florida Keys environment ranges from the fragility of America's
only living coral reefs to the seemingly impenetrable mangrove fortresses of the
back country. Crystal-clear aqua-marine waters beckon you to explore their living
tapestry of undersea life. In the Florida Keys, life focuses on the water.
We break the Florida Keys into three main sections - the Upper Keys, the Middle
Keys and the Lower Keys. The Upper Keys is from MM 108 to 65 and is where
Key Largo, Tavernier, and Islamorada (the "Village of Islands") are located. The
Middle Keys is from MM 64 to MM 40 and includes the city of Marathon and the
7-mile bridge. Then the Lower Keys is from MM 40 to 0 and includes Bahia
Honda, Big Pine Key, Key West and a few Keys in between like Little Torch Key,
Ramrod Key, Cudjoe Key and Summerland Key. Each area of the Florida Keys
is unique to itself.
Here is a list of all the Keys in each area.
The Upper Florida Keys are well-known for the two things: Scuba Diving and
Sport Fishing. Key Largo has been dubbed the "Diving Capital of the World" and
Islamorada has been dubbed the "Sport Fishing Capital of the World".
The Upper Keys is the area where you'll find the most charter fishing boats,
marinas and tackle shops and is where many celebrities and politicians come to
vacation and partake in the world's best sports fishing. President George Bush,
Sr., President Herbert Hoover, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill are
just a few of the famous that have visited Islamorada. Its location along the
Florida Keys chain of islands is closer to the Gulf Stream than any other Florida
Keys making fishing in this area outstanding!
Off the city of Key Largo there are some of the best dive sites in the Florida Keys.
Several of the dive sites are located inside John Pennekamp State Park. Sting
rays, manta rays, spotted eagle rays, eels, turtles, nurse sharks, reef sharks,
crabs, lobsters, huge grouper and tarpon, and tropical fish are what divers and
snorklers should expect to find on their dive.
The movies "PT 109" and "Key Largo" were filmed in the Upper Florida Keys.
And you can visit the original boat from the movie "The African Queen" starring
Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn at the Holiday Inn at Mile Marker 100.
If you're in the Upper Keys traveling on Highway 1 toward Key West, to the right is
the Florida Bay and a bit further, the Everglades National Park. Surrounding the
Florida Keys is the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary which was
designated by The National Marine Sanctuaries Act of 1972 to protect marine
For nature lovers, Key Largo's proximity to the Everglades makes it a premier
destination for kayakers, birders and other eco-tourists. All this beauty, has
inspired a vibrant community of artists who show their work at several local art
Key Largo Chamber of Commerce video
Islamorada Chamber of Commerce video
The Middle Florida Keys consists of many Keys or islands starting with Long
Key, the Conch Keys, Duck Key, Grassy Key, Boot Key, Crawl Key and Pigeon
Key. Marathon, "the heart of the Florida Keys" is on Key Vaca and is separated
from the Lower Florida Keys on the south end by the Seven Mile Bridge.
Marathon is a 10-mile-long island city which like the Upper Keys, is well-known
for scuba diving and sport fishing.
The Marathon Hump, a rise in the ocean bottom, is about 27 miles South East of
Marathon and is a popular sport fishing location. The Hump rises from 1150 feet
on the east side to 410 feet at the top and is an excellent location for catching the
huge game fish like dolphin, wahoo, blackfin tuna, huge amberjack, blue marlin,
sailfish, white marlin and big sharks, chiefly makos and great whites. Fishing
deep on the bottom, you might catch snowy grouper, queen snapper and a
variety of other bottom dwellers.
For the nature lovers, Marathon's Crane Point is a wondrously preserved tropical
hardwood grove and also has a historical home of an early 20th Century settler
Long Key is the place to visit for a beautiful park like setting with many
opportunities to fish, kayak, camp or simply just relax on the beach.
Hawk's Cay Resort & Marina is on Duck Key and is a popular place to hold
corporate meetings. Grassy Key is the closest to Marathon Key is where the
Dolphin Research Center is. This is a great attraction in Marathon offering a day
long learning experience for adults and children. Learn all about the bottle nose
dolphin and even swim with them in a limited session at the Research Center.
Marathon Chamber of Commerce video
Leaving the seven mile bridge, you enter the Lower Florida Keys. There are no
fast food restaurants, few buildings, as a matter of fact, hardly any businesses at
all except on Big Pine Key.
Bahia Honda State Park and Recreation Area at mile marker 37. With its white
sandy beaches and abundant wildlife, it has been mentioned at times in
important travel magazines as being one of the most beautiful beaches in the
The National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key is a large expanse of mostly
undeveloped pine lands where the diminutive Key Deer live. Read more about
the Deer Refuge here.
There is a unique key in the Lower Keys called "No Name Key". Here you'll see
homes that are completely self-sufficient - there is no electricity on this island.
You have to drive through Big Pine Key to get to No Name Key. When you take a
right at the only light on Big Pine Key, bear to the right and follow the road.
The Lower Keys as well as all of the Florida Keys, offers great scuba diving,
snorkeling and sport fishing. Little Palm Island is a resort just off Big Pine Key
where celebrities go to 'get away from it all'. It is accessible only by boat and
visitors ride an old restored wooden boat to reach the small resort.
On your way to Key West, you'll undoubtedly notice one or two large blimps in the
sky around Cudjoe Key. These are actually huge radar blimps that take turns
guarding the Keys from 1400 feet up.
Boca Chica is the location of the Naval Air Station Key West (NAS Key West). This
is the last major landmark you will see before you enter Key West.
Commissioned in 1917, the Naval Air Station was built here when Navy research
found it to have the most days of perfect flying weather of anywhere in the country.
Information about the Florida Keys and Key West
Photo taken at Key Largo Dry Rocks Dive Site
Photo taken at Whale Harbor Marina, Islamorada
"Picnic Island" - Seven Mile Bridge in the Background
Photo taken at Looe Key Reef