The Florida Keys & Key West

10 reasons to discover the Florida Keys in 2020

A 125-mile-long chain of islands beginning just south of Miami, the Florida Keys are renowned for their natural beauty, unique marine environment and a laid-back atmosphere that's a world away from big cities and theme parks. Here's what your clients can expect in the Keys this year...

1. A drive down the Overseas Highway
The spectacular drive down the Overseas Highway is frequently voted one of the best driving routes in the world. The Florida Keys are connected by 42 bridges including the Seven Mile Bridge, offering breathtaking views of turquoise waters and connecting the Keys districts of Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys, and finally the city of Key West.

2. Year-round subtropical sunshine
Visitors can relax to the gentle sound of lapping waves or get out on or into the water 365 days a year. The subtropical climate of the Florida Keys, with temperatures rarely dropping below 21 degrees Celsius, means there's always a warm welcome in the island chain.

3. Fun on the water
The turquoise waters of the Florida Keys offer plenty of ways to get active including flyboarding, eco-kayaking, kite-boarding, world-class sportfishing, snorkelling, scuba diving and more. Home to the continental United States' only living coral barrier reef, Keys waters and habitats are protected within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

4. Unique heritage
Shaped by a thriving maritime culture, the Keys are full of historic attractions – Marathon's tiny Pigeon Key housed workers who built the 'impossible' overseas railroad in the early 1900s, while in Key West visitors can tour the home of Ernest Hemingway and the 'Little White House' of former President Harry S. Truman.

5. Fabulous festivals & events
Quirky festivals and events throughout the year include Fantasy Fest featuring 10 days of costuming and masking festivities; Hemingway Days that celebrates the writer's legacy in Key West; and the Underwater Music Festival, a quirky concert that emphasises reef preservation and is broadcast underwater for divers, snorkellers and the occasional mermaid.

6. Distinctive Keys cuisine
The warm Keys waters produce seafood delicacies including stone crabs, clawless Keys lobster, yellowtail snapper, hog snapper, grouper and mahi-mahi. Keys cuisine reflects a multitude of cultural influences — particularly Cuban in Key West – while no visit is complete without a slice of Key lime pie.

7. Laid-back Key West nightlife
On lively Duval Street and in the Historic Seaport, Key West really heats up once the sun goes down. Sip a tall cool drink at an outdoor bar on Lower Duval, wander into a sultry jazz club or wine bar, or stop by a seaport tavern to mix with the locals.

8. Being part of 'One Human Family'
The Florida Keys embrace diversity and Key West is internationally known as a top LGBTQ+ vacation spot, renowned for its welcoming attitude and inclusive 'One Human Family' philosophy. With dedicated events and accommodation on offer, more than 250,000 LGBTQ+ visitors travel to the city each year.

9. Stunning sunsets
Every night residents and visitors gather to enjoy the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square in Key West, a multicultural happening featuring artisans and performers, as the sun sinks into the Gulf of Mexico. Elsewhere, sunset is a perfect setting for a laid-back waterside dinner in Key Largo or Islamorada.

10. Great places to stay
Wherever your clients are in the Florida Keys, there are plenty of great places to overnight – historic inns and guest houses, boutique independent waterside hideaways, characterful hotels, full-service international resorts, RV parks and even eco-camping. The Keys specialise in laid-back luxury!

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