Florida Guide > Accommodation
South of Kissimee - Part 2
The Florida Keys are made up of the Upper keys , Middle keys , Lower keys and of course Key West. The Upper keys are made up of Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorado.
Key Largo is the largest community and here is where Humphrey Bogart filmed The African Queen. The boat is usually moored in the marina and in the Holiday Inn hotel you can see a selection of stills of Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. In Key Largo there is a wild bird re hab centre and a maritime museum.
While in Key Largo you must take time to explore the extensive coral reefs at the John Pennekamp coral reef state park where you can see miles of brilliant underwater life around which you can snorkel or you may wish to see it from a glass bottom boat. Even if you take the glass bottom boat you are sure to see lobsters, angel fish, eels, jelly fish, shoals of minnows and barracudas.
Another must do while in the keys is swim with the dolphins there are several encounter programmes in the keys, It is expensive but something that you will never forget. After swimming and touching the dolphins you can spend the rest of the day watching the dolphins being trained. While we were there one of the dolphins was actually learning to paint. There is plenty of accomodation in the keys from cheap motels to expensive hotels.
Islamorada is a strip of small islands and fishing is the big thing here. The men of our party went deep sea night fishing and came back with tales of catching blue marlin and a small shark. You are allowed to keep your catch and take it back and eat it if you have the facilities.
The Middle Keys are smaller then the Upper Keys. Marathon being the largest community has a number of small secluded beaches with good swimming waters and lovely shaded picnic tables. As with most of the keys Marathon has a park which has 2 museums and a number of nature trails, a must if you want to see the wildlife and native birds. You will also find the dolphin research centre here at Grassy Key. If by now you haven’t used up all your film then get your camera ready for crossing the seven mile bridge which links the Middle keys to the Lower keys. The bridge is fairly new but the old bridge runs along side and is mainly used by joggers and fishermen. The seven mile grill is where all the locals go to eat for it serves fine conch chowders and shrimp steamed in beer. Once again the Lower Keys have fabulous beaches and plenty of wildlife and exotic plants. Bahia Honda State Park is well worth stopping off at. If you are a keen underwater explorer then Looe Key Marine Sanctuary is the place to see rays, octopus, lovely coloured fish and beautiful corals.
Only 90 miles from Cuba is Key West, famous for its laid back lifestyle. Key West has everything. It has a large gay population and you will encounter some incredible sights. Walk the side streets, sit longer over meals and just take in the sights. The old town contains most of the attractions and is the best place for taking in Key Wests wild characters , raucious nightlife and scrumptious seafood.
Mallory Square is where to go to watch the famous sunset with plenty of artists from jugglers to fire eaters to keep you entertained. The southern most point in Key West is landmarked by a striped bouy once again cameras at the ready. For me the keys are the place to revisit time and time again and never get bored.
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