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 Visit Big Pine Key & Lower Keys
For Natural Florida Keys Activities

Just south of Marathon, the Lower Florida Keys begin with tiny Duck Key and Big Pine Key.

Following in a southwesterly direction are Little Torch Key, Ramrod Key, Summerland Key, and Cudjoe Key.

Next are Sugarloaf Key, Saddlebunch Keys, Big Coppitt Key, Boca Chica Key, Stock Island and finally the island of Key West.

Even though the Florida Keys cover a small geographical area, they boast a rather unique characteristic.

Each region is amazingly diverse - and that tenet holds true for the Lower Florida Keys.

From the moment you leave the south end of the Seven Mile Bridge and the somewhat congested 'city' life of Marathon FL, you're embraced by nature.

Florida keys Camping and Starlit Bahia Honda Skies

Florida keys Camping and Starlit Bahia Honda Skies
Photo Courtesy of

Unspoiled and beautiful, the Lower Florida Keys are dotted with a number of large wildlife refuges. On Big Pine you'll find the National Key Deer Refuge, home to the tiny key deer and the life sustaining freshwater pond, the Blue Hole.

Further south you'll find the Great White Heron National Refuge, a bird lover's paradise. Adjacent to this, you'll discover the oldest of the sanctuaries, the Key West National Wildlife Refuge.

Abutting onto the Key Deer and the Great White Heron Refuges are Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve and Newfound Harbor Keys. These two major areas attract all forms of nature lovers from avid sports fishermen to bird watchers and kayak enthusiasts.

Other popular back to nature destinations include Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine with it's different Florida hiking trails. Bahia Honda State Park also has 3 of the best beaches, Sandspur Beach, Loggerhead Beach and Calusa Beach. Bahia Honda is also a premier vacation destination for camping in the Keys as well as for biking, fishing and a variety of water sport activities.

With a variety of trails, the Lower Florida Keys make it possible for hikers, bicyclists and bird watchers to easily connect with nature.

Sea lovers will find that kayaking and canoeing the shallow flats and tiny inlets will provide glimpses of manatee, dolphin, tropical fish, heron, ibis, anhinga, key deer, and other local and migratory wildlife.

Canoeing Big Pine Key

Vacation Canoe Trips At Big Pine
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Department of Commerce

Some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Florida Keys can be found in the Big Pine Key and Lower Keys region. Whether you're exploring magnificent Looe Key Reef, attending the annual Underwater Music Festival every July, or wreck diving the massive Vandenberg, there's no shortage of snorkel and dive sites to explore.

Plus, if at the end of the day, getting back to nature is still what you're all about, don't forget to make reservations at any of the Florida Keys campgrounds found from Big Pine Key to Sugarloaf Key.

However, just because the Lower Florida Keys offer a more 'natural flavor' doesn't mean there aren't amenities. Small communities dot the Lower Keys and nestled throughout these islands you'll find cozy Florida Keys lodging facilities, along with bars and restaurants featuring a variety of tasty, local fare.

There's also the standard plethora of Florida Keys marinas and infrastructure basics such as churches, libraries, shopping venues, fire and police stations. Of course, all on a smaller scale then found elsewhere in the Florida Keys.

The Lower Florida Keys have over the centuries been one of the last military outposts, serving as a defense against invasive forces. In keeping with this tradition, Boca Chica, the island next to Stock Island and closest of the Lower Keys islands to Key West, FL is home to a Naval Air Station. The Naval Air Station Key West, is one of the foremost naval aviator combat training facilities in the country, and adds a beneficial element to the economy of the Florida Keys.

From Big Pine Key down through the Lower Florida Keys, the call of nature is the consistent element that draws people here for their Florida Keys vacation. Refreshing and inspiring, leaving this particular piece of paradise is quite possibly the hardest thing of all to do.

› Big Pine Key & Lower Florida Keys


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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040

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