Welcome to Upper Keys
Sophisticated coral reef islands for the ultimate tropical getaway
Well known for being the diving capital of the world, Key Largo, Tavernier, and Islamorada have made a name for themselves. With their diverse coral reefs, waterfront dining, and some of the best fishing, there are endless land and sea activities to bring people flocking to enjoy the treasures of paradise. Features like these offer a unique lifestyle draped in small-town island vibes. Over the years, Key Largo has served as a backdrop for famous Hollywood films and popular TV shows adding to the mystery of what it is actually like to live in the Florida Keys.
Islamorada, on the other hand, is a legendary sport-fishing destination, hosting the world’s largest fleet of offshore charter boats per square mile. With the perfect weather and a myriad of attractions, every day feels like an adventure in this Island town. The most popular types of accommodations here are on the waterfront, ranging from eclectic boutique style hotels to all inclusive waterfront resorts.
What to Love
- Laid-back atmosphere
- Dreamy sunrises and sunsets
- Short drive to the airport
- Dazzling waterfront restaurants
- Family friendly community
- Local community events
- A never ending ocean breeze
In the Upper Keys, water is the attraction. But if you think your days spent kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, or swimming with the dolphins couldn’t get any better, wait until you’ve seen the stunning underwater statue called Christ of the Abyss or snorkeled next to a sea turtle! You will be mind blown and craving more!
Don’t worry, if you are more of a land lover the Florida Keys has plenty to offer as well. You can enjoy treks through untouched nature, walk through a wildlife refuge, hike the everglades and meet a few local iguana friends. If hiking isn’t your thing, then pull up a beach chair and lounge while dipping your toes in the water. Whatever your interests, it’s almost impossible to be bored here. Sit back, set your watch to island time, grab a drink and enjoy the ocean breeze while watching the sun dip on the horizon.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Independent mom-and-pop run stores rule the roost in the Upper Keys, imbuing the atmosphere with a homely charm that enchants both locals and tourists. Whether you’re looking for snorkeling gear or want to pick up a new swimsuit there are a wide variety of stores for you. While shopping pop into a gallery that sells beautiful art created by local artists who appreciate and understand the beauty of the Florida Keys. The local jewelry stores will not disappoint, some selling high quality jewelry that you can only find here! Visit Ocean Gardens for high-end gift items and home decor. Ocean Gardens offers boutique items, antiques, subtropical collectibles, from shells and conches to glass buoys and rusty anchors. Looking for something more unique? Sea Dragon, with it’s authentic Bali-style furniture and fountains, silk arrangements, wall art, and gifts will not disappoint.
Fresh off Key Largo’s shores, you will find seafood delights at The Fish House. Their food is always fresh and locally sourced. Famous for its broiled Yellowtail Matecumbe plates spiced with scrumptious flavors, shallots, onions, and briny capers, this restaurant’s menu is to die for! Looking for something other than seafood? Savor a truffled mushroom pizza paired with a bottle of Stephanie at C&C Wood Fired Eats. Wanting a more elevated seafood experience ? Stop into Chef Micheals for delightful new American entrees as well as one of a kind preparations for your local seafood dish. Craving those authentic steakhouse flavors? Ziggy’s brings you juicy steak, chops, and seafood platters paired with delectable sides like their lobster mac and cheese.
Things to Do
The Upper Keys offers a perfect balance between adventures and relaxation. Every day here presents a chance to rejuvenate your energy. Explore the only living coral reef in North America and dive deep to witness the iconic nine-foot-tall bronze statue known as Christ of the Abyss submerged in clear blue water placed there in the 20th century. Looking for some thrifty fun? Every winter, the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market takes over Founders Park, sprawling with hundreds of vendors displaying varieties of items from beachwear to jewelry, show-priced motors and boats, and lots of food and drinks.
The Morada Way Arts & Culture District hosts a monthly Art Walk, spotlighting island key artists, musicians, chefs, and artisans showcasing their masterpieces and creativity. If you are looking for a more subversive experience you can swim with dolphins, sea lions, and fish or take a bottomless boat ride at the Theatre of the Sea. For a more lively time embark on a sunset cruise while checking out the Islamorada sandbar and the famous Alligator Lighthouse with the Islander Girls Snorkel and Tours.
The Upper Keys is served by the Monroe County School District, renowned for its high-performing top rated schools. Some of the area’s top academic institutions include: