How Many Florida Keys Are There? All About The Florida Keys And Relevant Information

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How many Florida Keys are there? Or that Key West is the most southern point in the continental United States? If you’re looking for a place to sunbathe, snorkel, or dive, the Florida Keys is a great choice! In this blog post, we will explore some of the things you can do in this tropical paradise. So pack your sunscreen and get ready for some fun in the sun!

What is the history of the Florida Keys?

The history of the Florida Keys dates back to when Ponce de Leon first discovered the area in 1513. The Spanish explorer christened the string of islands Los Martires, or “the martyrs,” because of the fierce resistance he encountered from the Native Americans living there. The Spaniards later renamed the area La Florida, meaning “land of flowers.”

For centuries, the Keys were used as a stopover for ships traveling between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. In 1822, the U.S. government purchased the islands from Spain and built a lighthouse on Key West to warn ships of the dangerous reefs that lay offshore.

The first permanent settlers in the Keys were fishermen and sponge divers who arrived in the 1870s. They were followed by railroad tycoons Henry Flagler and John D. Rockefeller, who built large resorts in Key West and Miami Beach.

In 1935, a hurricane destroyed most of Flagler’s railroad bridge linking Key West to the mainland, effectively isolating the island from the rest of Florida. To revive tourism in Key West, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order creating The Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge, which today encompasses more than 140,000 acres of land and water.

Today, the Florida Keys are a popular tourist destination with a rich history and diverse culture.

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How many Florida Keys are there?

There are 800 Florida Keys and over 1700 small islands. The island chain starts at the southern tip of Florida and runs up to Key West. The Keys are a popular tourist destination, thanks to their warm weather, crystal clear waters, and coral reefs.

Why are the Florida Keys called keys rather than islands?

Difference between Keys and Islands

  • Islands originate from some form of geological or hydrological activity, typically surrounded by water
  • Keys are created by the activity of living corals as they build a reef, not surrounded by water

The Florida Keys are called keys because they are made of limestone, which is a type of rock that easily erodes. Over time, the waves and wind have created the characteristic jagged shoreline that we see today.

The rocks that make up the keys are very porous, which means that they can easily absorb water. This makes the keys susceptible to flooding, which is why a lot of development has taken place on the higher ground in Key West.

florida keys
Photo courtesy of Florida Keys

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Map Of Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are located between approximately 23.5 and 25.5 degrees North latitude and are in the subtropics. The islands shown on the map of the Florida keys are linked by 42 bridges, which form the Overseas Highway or US1.The 16 Best State Parks Near Orlando To Visit With Kids

  • Starting at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about 15 miles (24 km) south of Miami, they extend in an arc south-southwest.
  • The end of Key West is the westernmost inhabited island but continues to the uninhabited Dry Tortugas.

There are many islands in the Florida Keys archipelago, each with its distinct ecology. The total land area is 137.3 square miles (356 km2), which comprises all of Monroe County and portions of surrounding counties, such as Miami-Dade and Broward.

The southernmost tip of Key West is a mere 90 miles from Cuba.

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What is the best way to get around in the Florida Keys?

The best way to get around in the Florida Keys is by car. The roads are well-maintained and there is a lot of them, so you won’t have trouble finding your way around. Don’t feel comfortable driving in the Keys? There are also plenty of shuttle services and taxi companies available.

If you’re looking for a more scenic route, you can also explore the Keys by boat. There are plenty of marinas and boat ramps throughout the island chain, so you can easily find a spot to launch your vessel.

You can also explore the Keys by bike or on foot, but keep in mind that some areas are quite remote and may be difficult to navigate without a car.

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What are the different islands that make up the Florida Keys?

The Florida Keys are a chain of islands located off the southern tip of Florida. The chain consists of over 1,700 islands, islets, and cays. The islands are divided into three groups: the Upper Keys, the Middle Keys, and the Lower Keys. Below are some interesting islands that you should explore!

Key Largo (the largest island in the Florida Keys)

  • Location

Sitting at the southeastern edge of the Florida Keys, Key Largo is bordered on its west side by Florida Bay and the Everglades National Park backcountry. To its east lies the open Atlantic Ocean.

  • History

The island has a rich history dating back to the 1500s when it was inhabited by the Calusa Indians. In 1822, the island was claimed by the United States and became part of the Territory of Florida. In 1905, the island was incorporated into Monroe County.

  • Activity

Key Largo is best known for its fishing and diving. The island has some of the best fishing in the world, with plenty of marlin, sailfish, and tarpon to be caught. The diving, eco-tours, beaches, and dolphin encounter programs are also excellent.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first underwater preserve in the United States, is part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and contains John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which features a zoo and aquarium.

  • Hotel

The best hotel in Key Largo is the Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort. This hotel is located on the water and offers amazing views of the bay. It also has a private beach, two restaurants, and a pool.

key largo
Photo courtesy of Key Largo

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Islamorada

  • Location

Islamorada is located in the Florida Keys. It is a small town with a population of around 2,000 people. This village comprises three homey islands: Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, and Lower Matecumbe Key.

  • History

Islamorada is located in the Florida Keys and has a rich history dating back to the 16th century. The first inhabitants of the area were the Calusa Indians, who were a Native American tribe that lived in the area for centuries. In the 16th century, the Spanish arrived in the area and established a settlement called Puerto de Carlos. 

In the early 20th century, Islamorada was developed as a resort town and became a popular destination for tourists. Today, Islamorada is a popular tourist destination and is known for its beautiful beaches and fishing resorts.

  • Activity

Islamorada is recognized as the Sports-Fishing Capital of the World, with its angling range praised. They provide eco-tours, water sports gear rentals, tennis amenities, and bicycle paths that showcase history. The Dolphin Research Center offers a unique chance to get up close and personal with these clever animals.

  • Hotel

Some of the best hotels in Islamorada include the Cheeca Lodge and Spa, the Morada Bay Beach Resort, and the Ocean Pointe Suites.

islamorada
Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor

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Marathon

  • Location

The Marathon Florida area is located in the Middle Keys of the Florida Keys. The site is made up of several small islands, including Key Vaca, Boot Key, Knight’s Key, and Sugarloaf Key.

  • History

The town was founded by Henry Flagler in the late 1800s, and quickly became a popular winter getaway for the wealthy. In the early 1900s, Flagler built a railway from Miami to Key West, and Marathon became a stop on the line. The town grew rapidly, and soon became a bustling center for fishing and tourism.

  • Activity

Come explore the colorful undersea world on a scuba diving adventure in the aquarium! See exotic fish up close as they glide past you in their natural habitat. They offer trips for all levels of experience, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, we have something for you.

Crane Point Hammock – 64 acres of pristine historical land rich with archaeology and natural beauty. After crossing the famous Seven Mile Bridge, the longest segmental bridge in existence, you can arrive at our location where the Straits of Florida open up into the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Hotel

The best hotel at Marathon is the Marathon Beach Resort. This hotel offers beautiful rooms and suites, a private beach, and excellent dining options.

marathon
Photo courtesy of Marathon

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Big Pine Key & the Lower Keys

  • Location

Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys are located in the Florida Keys. The Lower Keys are located south of Big Pine Key and include the communities of Islamorada, Marathon, and Key West. Big Pine Key is the largest of the Lower Keys and is home to a variety of businesses and attractions, including the National Key Deer Refuge.

  • History

The history of the Lower Keys and Big Pine Key dates back to when the islands were inhabited by the Calusa Indians. In the early 1800s, the islands were acquired by Andrew Jackson. In 1906, a hurricane destroyed most of the buildings on Big Pine Key. The area was rebuilt and grew slowly until the 1950s when it began to boom due to the construction of the Overseas Highway.

  • Activity

The kayak allows for opportunities to see views of migratory and wading birds, as well as the Keys’ unique flora and fauna in a tranquil natural area.

At the end of Looe Key, Big Pine serves as a jumping-off point for the exquisite shallow coral formation known as Looe Key.

Camping is another popular activity that visitors enjoy while visiting the Keys. Camping is permitted in several places outside of Monroe County and on National Forest lands, allowing guests to get an unspoiled experience by camping when coming to the Keys. Campsites abound in the Lower Keys.

  • Hotel

Some of the best hotels at Big Pine Key & the Lower Keys are the Seaside Inn, the Hampton Inn, and the Best Western.

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Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor

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Key West

  • Location

Key West is the last stop on the Overseas Highway, and it is also the southernmost city in America. It might surprise you to know that Key West is closer to Havana, Cuba than Miami!

  • History

The history of Key West is one of the colorful characters, pirates, and rum. The island was originally inhabited by the Calusa Indians, who were soon replaced by the Spanish. In 1822, Key West was purchased by the United States for $2,000. 

The island served as a strategic military outpost during the Civil War and as a coaling station for steamers. It also became a popular tourist destination in the early 20th century. Today, Key West is known for its art galleries, restaurants, and nightlife.

  • Activity

As the sun sets, visitors and local artists come together on the docks at Mallory Square to celebrate another tropical day. When night falls, there are plenty of restaurants and bars offering live music, from New Orleans-style jazz to local trop-rock. Key West is also home to small theaters that showcase performances by local acting troupes.

Take part in a variety of activities and get creative in a learning workshop, or feast your eyes on an impressive array of galleries for a visual arts experience.

  • Hotel

Some of the best hotels in Key West are the Aqua Hotel, the Inn at Key West, and the La Concha Hotel.

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Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor

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What are some of the things people do in the Florida Keys?

Some things that you will need to do in the Florida Keys include:

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Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor
  • Explore Sports Fishing Capital or Hemingway Days festival, which celebrates the life and works of author Ernest Hemingway. 
  • Drive down the Overseas Highway
  • Stay in a vacation rental
  • Eat at all of the delicious restaurants
  • Swim in the ocean and sunbathe on the beach
  • Go fishing
  • Take a boat tour
  • Relax and have a good time!

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  • The Florida Keys offer a wide variety of activities and attractions that appeal to tourists, including fishing, diving, boating, and swimming.
  • The Keys are also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
  • The tropical climate and relaxed atmosphere make the Keys a popular destination for vacationers.
  • The small towns and villages located throughout the Keys provide a unique and charming setting for visitors.

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How much does it cost to visit the Florida Keys?

The cost of visiting the Florida Keys can vary depending on what you want to do while you’re there.

  • In general, a 7-day trip to the Florida Keys costs $1,348 for a lone traveler, $2,421 for a couple, and $4,539 for a family of four.
  • While the majority of vacation rentals cost between $140 and $440 per night for the entire home, Florida Keys hotels range from $63 to $288 per night with an average of $111.
  • On average, first-class flights to Key West International Airport (EYW) cost between $1,569 and $2,969, while economy flights cost between $500 and $946 per person on average.
  • They advise allocating $49 to $92 per person each day for transportation and dining out at nearby restaurants, depending on the activities.

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FAQs

How many Florida Keys are inhabited?

Only around 30 keys are inhabited. This is because many of the islands are too small or lack fresh water sources.

Which Key in Florida is best?

Depend on what you want:

  • Key West is famous for all
  • Key Largo is the best-known for scuba diving and water sports
  • Marathon (family friendly) …
  • Islamorada (adventure galore) …
  • Big Pine Key (relax and isolation) …
  • Key Largo (for the adventure couple) …
  • Key West (laid-back and boutique stay) …
  • Big Pine Key (romantic and isolated)

Does it get cold in the Florida Keys?

The Florida Keys are a string of islands located off the southern tip of Florida. The climate is tropical and mild, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-seventies in winter to the high eighties in summer.

Although it does not get cold in the Florida Keys, there is usually a breeze blowing and the humidity can be high, so it is often more comfortable than mainland Florida.

Conclusion

So how many Florida Keys are there, you ask? We answered the questions clearly and provided additional relevant information. If you’re looking to plan your island getaway, we can help! Let us know and we’ll give you some great ideas for your next vacation.

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