Welcome to Discount Key
Less than 90 miles from Cuba, less than 10 miles square in area, Key West is one of the hottest vacation destinations in the country. There's more packed into this small island than one would think possible, and visitors to the Florida Keys are never disappointed. Key West has a busy central tourist district, but it also has plentiful quiet, palm-lined streets with beautiful Spanish style houses. While the numerous beaches and resorts are primary focal points, there are lots of other family activities on this tiny island to keep one busy.
Key West's beaches lead visitors to clear blue waters that are perfect for swimming, jet skiing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Several luxury resorts offer first-class accommodations and activities for the whole family. Visitors can stay close to shore, or they can take advantage of the many glass-bottom boat tours. Many also hire boats to take them scuba diving in the world-famous reefs. The Key West Aquarium highlights the local marine life in dozens of hands-on activities for children.
The island itself boasts some remarkable attractions for the entire family, yet the island is small enough that visitors can see them all. The Ernest Hemmingway House was home to the famous author when he penned some of his best-known novels. The Audubon House is an authentic home from the 19th century, fully restored and remodeled; authentic antiques and paintings by famed naturalist John James Audubon can be found inside. The Key West Historic Tour traverses the island -- be on the lookout for the best places to enjoy conch, the local specialty. The residents of Key West have devised innumerable ways of serving this sea creature, and all are worth at least a try.
South of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the people of Rock Harbor recognized a good thing when they saw one and changed the name of their community to KEY LARGO after the success of the 1948 film in which Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall grappled with Florida's best-known features - crime and hurricanes. The movie's title suggested somewhere exotic, but the film, though set here, was almost entirely shot in Hollywood. Nonetheless, Key Largo, and its neighbor TAVERNIER , ten miles further on, make nice enough stops on the Upper Keys. You can almost feel urban stresses and strains slip away as you take in the turquoise sea and waving palms.
At ISLAMORADA , some five miles south of Tavernier on Upper Matecumbe Key, the Theater of the Sea , MM84.5 (daily 9.30am-4pm; $17.25; tel 305/664-2431), offers sea shows, glass-bottom boats, snorkel tours and swim-with-the-dolphin programs (9.30am, noon, 2pm; $125). There's good hiking at Long Key State Recreation Area , MM68, a 965-acre expanse of tropical foliage and mangroves that also has one of the best beaches on the Keys (daily 8am-dusk; $3.25 per car plus 50¢ per passenger; tel 305/664-4815), and excellent deep-sea fishing. Marathon Key is midway from the beginning of the Florida Keys to the end. Marathon is known as the heart of the Florida Keys and offers many relaxing vacation resorts.
Whatever your taste, the Florida Keys has something for every individual, couple and family.
84001 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, Fl, US, 33036
The Holiday Isle Beach Resort and Marina is located in Islamorada, Fla. Less than one mile from Theater of the Sea Marine Mammal Adventure Park.