The Keys are a string of islands south of Miami. Of these the most popular
is Key West, where tourism is the primary income source.
For information about the Keys - contact the Key West Visitors Bureau
Diving and Snorkeling: The Keys offer excellent viewing of fantastically
colored fish and coral on natural reefs as well as shipwrecks which create
artificial reefs to explore.
Dry Tortugas National Park is actually seven islands about 70 miles
southwest of Key West, and is only accessible by boat. Discovered by Ponce
de Leon, he named the islands after the many varieties of turtles found
there. The "Dry" was added after it was discovered that there was no fresh
water available. The park is open for day trips and overnight camping. It
is a great place for snorkeling and diving.
Within the Park (on Garden Key) is The National Monument, Fort Jefferson,
was a prison for Union deserters during the Civil War, and a quarantine
station in 1886 for smallpox and cholera victims. This is the only island
where you can stay overnight and there are 10 free campsites here available
by calling Everglades National Park Office (305) 242-7700. There are no
freshwater showers or drinking water; you must bring it in.
National Key Deer Refuge (305) 872-2239 encompasses several islands but The
Big Pine and No Name Keys are open to the public. See Kayak Nature Tours.
Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge has two large nesting areas for
wading birds, as well as many crabs, sponges coral reefs and mangroves. This
is a less crowded and peaceful place to kayak or canoe. See Kayak Nature
Kayak Nature Tours
- Lost World Adventures offers guided journeys from three to four hours and
two-hour sunset journeys. You will paddle the mangrove coastlines of the
National Key Deer Refuge or Great White Heron Refuge. For information
www.keys-kayak-canoe-tours.com or call 305 872-8950.
- Reflections Kayak Nature Tours has guided tours and kayak rentals as well.
(305) 872-2896. They will deliver and pick up your kayak.