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The Lower Keys

This is where are trip through the Florida Keys turns a bit rustic. There isn’t a whole lot going on in this area, and that is more by design than by accident. Upon crossing the Seven-Mile Bridge, you’ll notice the distinct lack of malls, clubs, luxury resorts, and expensive restaurants. While this may mean to the city-slicker that they should keep on truckin’ to Key West, to the discerning outdoorsman, the Lower Keys offer unique outdoorsy opportunities that would be foolish to ignore.

 

First and foremost, the Lower Keys are home to Bahia Honda State Park (located conveniently on Bahia Honda Key), frequently mentioned as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Here, you’ll find beautiful white sand beaches, abundant wildlife, a great marina, and first-rate camping facilities. The relative isolation of the Lower Keys means that Bahia Honda never seems to be crowded, which, coming from some of the beaches is in the Miami area, makes it worth the whole trip.

 

The main bastion of commercial civilization in the Lower Keys is Big Pine Key. Here you can find a smattering of little shops, most of which seem to host dives to nearby reefs. It is also home to Looe Key Marine Sanctuary – a reef that grew out of the crusted hulk of a British ship-of-the-line which ran aground in 1744. You can find any number places on Big Pine that will take you for a dive, if you’re so inclined.

 

There isn’t that much more to see on the lower Keys other than the same beautiful scenery, a few radar blimps, and a naval station before you reach Key West. Even so, The Lower Florida Keys are a great place to go to get away from the crowds that dominate everywhere else in South Florida, and it’s one of the only places you can go to see the rare, diminuitive Key Deer! Beat that!