Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle

Fall/Winter 2017

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

Issue link: http://read.dreamscapes.ca/i/889690

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Page 21 of 63

I n this 193-kilometre string of tropical islands, the history, architecture and "vibe" are so distinctive that you might think you're in another country rather than the U.S. And, technically, you are. In 1982, the Keys "seceded" from the union, set up a "border," and issued "Conch Republic" passports (pronounced "konk," after a tasty local shellfish)! The first island, Key Largo, offers easy access to Everglades National Park and world-class diving and fishing. It's also the home port to the original steamboat used in Bogart's film, The African Queen. Driving south, you'll come upon Islamorada, renowned for its laid-back atmosphere as well as its arts and cultural district and Art Walks, on which you can meet and speak with the artists. Anglers especially love the great sport fishing. Marathon is the perfect family destina- tion, thanks to the Dolphin Research Center, where kids can play ball with dol- phins, and the Turtle Hospital dedicated to the rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles. And, of course, there are abundant oppor- tunities to get out onto the water. Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys feature wonderful family campgrounds; three national wildlife refuges including the National Key Deer Refuge, home to the elu- sive Key deer; and a national marine sanctuary. At the end of the road, Key West is a historic little city with accommodation ranging from superb hotels to quaint B&Bs. It's filled with distinctive "gingerbread" houses and famous residences, including those of Ernest Hemingway and John James Audubon, both of which you can tour. There are countless water sports for outdoor enthusiasts, numerous boutiques and gal- leries for shoppers and restaurants galore serving seafood fresh off the boat. About 113 kilometres offshore, Fort Jefferson sits in Dry Tortugas National Park, one of America's most remote national parks. And don't forget the nightly sunset celebrations on Mallory Dock. There's nowhere quite like the Florida Keys. LEFT: Anglers flock to the Florida Keys, known for their superb fishing grounds. Steve Bly/Florida Keys News Bureau BELOW: A family poses for the iconic shot at one of the most photographed landmarks in the Florida Keys. Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau DS TRAVEL PLANNER For more information on all there is to see and do in the Florida Keys, visit fla-keys.com. DREAMSCAPES FALL/ WINTER 2017 22 The Florida Keys: LIKE NOWHERE ELSE ON EARTH! BY STEVE WINSTON

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