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Post details: Florida Keys

Florida Keys

If Florida were a lizard, the Keys would be its master tongue probing the warm waters of the surrounding oceans for juicy morsels. Strung on the US Highway 1 like Caribbean pearls, the Keys are an elongated archipelago gently arcing in the southeasterly direction and reaching the farthest point some 100 miles away from its entrance. Despite the common origin, each individual island maintains a unique character so that the whole necklace offers a little bead of fun for everyone.

At the very beginning, you'll find a colorful coral reef accompanied by a series of fishermen's havens and heavens. And as you drive inwards you discover other hidden gems - secluded marina here, a thick coppice of mangrove trees there, a herd of dwarf deer, maybe a quaint backyard cluttered with tropical bric-a-brac or a family restaurant where you can have a fish a thousand ways and the obligatory Key Lime Pie to boot. You won't find many beaches here, but the ones you do find are so shallow that you can wade amazingly far from the shore and still be only knee deep in the water. And if you make it all the way to Key West, you can roam its narrow colonial streets with the ghost of Ernest Hemingway or just hang out at the Mallory Square and enjoy the streaming sunset.

But my favorite place in the Keys is the Old Bahia Honda bridge. A structure no longer used, but elevated high enough to give you a different perspective. As we were climbing an old wooded trail to the remainder of the bridge, I was puzzling why these islands were called keys in the first place. Only when we entered a small concrete platform, did the answer materialized in front of my eyes. These were the Keys to Paradise.

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