And it's Key-lime flavored. The Florida Keys are blissfully cool, quirky, and—barring Key West—largely undiscovered. Hurry! Crystal-blue waters await.

Duck Key, Florida
Credit: Courtesy David McCleaf

The Florida Keys Are Easier To Navigate Than You Think!

A century ago last month, a railroad brought the first major wave of tourists to The Keys. These days, several Southern airports offer direct flights to Key West (EYW) and most offer daily flights to nearby Miami and Fort Lauderdale (often the economical solution). It's roughly a one-hour drive from Miami to Key Largo (the northernmost Key), made easier than ever thanks to an improved stretch of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway (U.S. 1, affectionately known as the "18-mile Stretch") connecting the mainland and The Keys. From there, the two-lane Overseas Highway connects the main islands (see map at left). It takes about three hours—longer on a weekend—to drive the 107-mile stretch of The Florida Keys on U.S. 1. We recommend giving yourself a week to explore at a leisurely pace.