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Recent Lower Keys Area reviews

  • Just what we needed

    "We stayed for the month of February, 2015 and found this house was just what we needed. The oceanfront view was great, the screened in porch was well used, the heated pool was a welcome feature, and it was pet friendly. You can walk to The Square Grouper, which is one of the best restaurants in the Lower Keys. We found the owners were excellent to deal with as well."
    Guest: Tim B. Date of Stay: February 2015 Review Submitted: March 14, 2015
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  • What a Wonderful Home

    "Thank You very much, Gary & Susan, for sharing your wonderful home with us. Such a well equipped house, that really felt like home. We had a fabulous vacation, this is the 2nd time we have been to venture out, but this was a much nicer house, with such wonderful views! I enjoyed riding around on the bicycle.... Wish it hadn't been so windy we may have got out on the kayak!! The amenities at the resort are great, with a lovely pool & hot tub, we also enjoyed playing ping pong & bocce, when the weather was less than perfect!! Venture out has something for everyone. My husband loved fishing from the dock. Some great nearby restaurants, & Key West only 20 miles away, makes it a great location. Highly Recommended!!"
    Guest: Cathy Date of Stay: November 2014 Review Submitted: November 30, 2014
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  • Awesome Week(s)

    "We had a fantastic 2 week vacation at Barry's Beach! Family and friends came in and we had 8 people in the house and it never felt crowded. Pool was great and location was perfect. Kiki's next door, close to Big Pine if you needed anything and very quiet and secluded feeling. This is a great house for a family getaway."
    Guest: Jon Date of Stay: March 2015 Review Submitted: March 29, 2015
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  • Over the top!!!

    "We have been visiting Key West for several years, this was by far the nicest home we have rented. The owners were exceptional to work with. The location and neighbors were awesome. The home was as awesome as it looks and has everything it says has and more. Would come back any time."
    Guest: Hotchie Date of Stay: March 2015 Review Submitted: April 21, 2015
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Lower Keys Area Travel Tips

The Lower Florida Keys are made up of Key West, Big Pine Key, Marathon, Islamorada and Key Largo.

Lower Florida Keys Attractions

The only way to get in and out of the Lower Florida Keys is U.S. Route 1. This All-American road connects all of the Lower Keys with 42 bridges and stretches for seven miles over the ocean without another island in sight. When you're driving into the Lower Keys you'll get amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and the aqua-blue shimmer of the waves where the three bodies of water meet.

A major natural attraction in the area are the Key Deer. These creatures are native to the Lower Keys and often seen eating grass and tree leaves on the side of the road. They're only 2.5 feet tall and small compared to the deer you see on the mainland. The animals are not contained by fences and have the National Key Deer Refuge to roam. With more than 9,200 acres, the animals have access to pine rockland forests, tropical hardwood hammocks, freshwater wetlands, salt marsh wetlands and mangrove forests. Although they have such an expansive area, you're more likely to see Key Deer on Big Pine Key.

Eco-tourism is popular in the Lower Keys because of the several natural wonders that inhabit the region such as blue waters and sea creatures including dolphins, alligators, fish and birds. A tour will take you through the backcountry on a shallow draftboat. You can also sail or row through the area and the peacefulness will give you a new outlook on the laid-back lifestyle of the Lower Keys.

Things to Do

Bahia Honda State Park: This park is located near Big Pine Key on Bahia Honda Key, a small island contained within the park where you'll find a few rental cabins and campsites. The park features beautiful beaches, snorkeling opportunities and fishing. There are boat trips to a nearby reef so divers and snorkelers of all skill levels can explore the fascinating sea life that call this part of the ocean home. If you want to learn more about creatures that inhabit the island, head to the nature center where you can get a more detailed look at the plants and animals that live on Bahia Honda Key.

Diving and Snorkeling: Because the Lower Keys are the least developed of the Florida Keys, divers and snorkelers have wonderful views of the ocean floor. The best spot to dive is Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It's located between mile marker 39.9 and 40 and has been one of the most recognized reef tracts in the Keys. Looe Key Reef also boasts one of the biggest varieties of marine species in the Northern Hemisphere. The corals range in depth from 20 to 40 feet and one reef plummets more than 100 feet deep. It's here where you can see sea turtles, eagle rays and the occasional manta ray and whale shark. A more recent attraction includes the Adolphus Busch Sr., a ship that was intentionally sunk in 1998. The island freighter was sunk completely intact and resides below the surface in 100 feet of water.

Key West Aquarium: The aquarium on Key West opened in 1934 and was one of the first family-oriented attractions in the Keys. At the aquarium observe grouper, eels, barracuda, tarpon, parrotfish and tropical fish, to name a few. Kids will love getting to walk up to the touch tank that houses small creatures that can be touched and fed. Guided tours are available and you can even participate in a shark feeding and get the chance to pet a shark.

Ernest Hemingway: The Ernest Hemingway House in Key West is a must-see for literary fans. The famed American author lived in the home for more than 10 years. Visitors can tour the home to learn more about the estate, the famous six-toed cats that roam the house as well as the man who lived there. Try to catch a glimpse of one of the 50 cats at the home, some of whom are direct descendants of the original six-toed cat Snowball.

The Blue Hole: Head to mile marker 31 on Big Pine Key and see the Blue Hole. It's in the Key Deer Refuge and a "borrow pit" from when railroads made their way in and out of the Lower Keys. This is one of the best spots for diving if you want to get up close to the animals. You'll likely see alligators, turtles and freshwater fish all living in the Blue Hole. In addition to this natural attraction, you'll also find the Jack Watson Memorial Nature Trail and Watson's Hammock just down the road. It's a 0.7-mile, self-guided trail that will take you through a pine rockland habitat. The Manillo Trail spurs off the main trail and is handicap accessible.

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