Ponce de Leon and Antonio de Herrara discovered the Florida Keys in
1513. Settlers arrived in the late 1700?s, and a highway connected
Florida?s southernmost islands to the mainland in the late 1800?s.
The Keys consist of 822 islands, extending 220 miles from the
southern tip of the Florida peninsula to the Dry Tortugas. About 30
islands are inhabited. The highest point is just 18 feet above sea
Visitors from around the world are attracted to the islands?
spectacular coral reefs and tropical fish. Beautiful and historic
state parks provide educational, as well as recreational
opportunities for swimming, fishing, snorkeling and boating.
The endangered Key deer live on Big Pine Key and are protected by
the Endangered Species Act. These tiny deer, between 24-28 inches at
the shoulder, are not found anywhere else in the world.
Each day at dusk, crowds gather for a sunset celebration on
Mallory Dock, the last tip of land before the Gulf of Mexico is all
that the eye can see.
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