The Islands of Key West
Between the happening town of Key West and world famous Duval Street, lie a stretch of hundreds of small tropical uninhibited islands that run 70 miles west from Key West to Boca Grande, the Marquesas Keys, and all the way to the Dry Tortugas. Each of these larger sized islands, with their own individual personalities, are rich in diversity for fishing, diving, spearfishing, eco touring and birding.
Boca Grande Key is the largest, located 14 miles west between Key West and the Marquesas Keys. While well favored by the locals for its gorgeous white sandy shoreline and beautiful coral patch reefs, this island is also part of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. It offers an all in one stop package where its beautiful white beach awaits you with a peaceful picturesque slice of paradise. You may find yourself strolling along the water's edge, relaxing and soaking up some sun, having a picnic lunch, viewing the wildlife or diving, snorkeling and swimming the crystal clear blue waters surrounding this pristine island.
The Marquesas Keys offer a much different adventure. These keys were formed by a meteorite many millions of years ago; whose impact created the two-mile-wide lagoon perfectly surrounded by land, and presently represent the only natural atoll in the Western Hemisphere. The area is truly an awe striking paradise and is rich for scuba diving, spearfishing, fishing, and eco wildlife viewing. The waters around the Marquesas Keys are teaming and thriving with all types of deep sea and tropical fish, and some of the most pristine and beautiful reefs in the Florida Keys Marine National Sanctuary and the world.
Almost 70 miles west of Key West lay a cluster of seven islands, composed of coral reefs and sand, called the Dry Tortugas. The area is known for its famous bird and marine life, its legends of pirates and sunken gold, and its military past. On one of these islands (Garden Key), lies Fort Jefferson, the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. It was built in the mid 1800s with over 16 million bricks. It was originally built to protect the Gulf of Mexico shipping lanes where ships traveled from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean around the Florida peninsula. In 1992, the area became a National Park; the Dry Tortugas National Park. It was created to protect and preserve a pristine subtropical marine ecosystem, including the world's third-largest living coral barrier reef, and is generally regarded today as the most unspoiled, beautiful and well-preserved marine areas in the Florida Keys, and one of the most in the world. A place like no other...truly a paradise on earth!