Folklore, films and widespread hearsay have given the FLORIDA KEYS – a hundred-mile chain of islands that runs to within ninety miles of Cuba – an image of glamorous intrigue they don’t really deserve; at least, not now that the go-go days of the cocaine cowboys in the 1980s are long gone. The Keys can more accurately be described as an outdoor-lover’s paradise, where fishing, snorkelling and diving dominate. Terrific untainted natural areas include the Florida Reef, a great band of living coral just a few miles off the coast. But for many, the various keys are only stops on the way to Key West. This self-proclaimed “Conch Republic” has vibrant, Caribbean-style streets with plenty of convivial bars in which to while away the hours, watching the spectacular sunsets.

Wherever you are on the Keys, you’ll experience distinctive cuisine, served for the most part in hip little shacks where the food is fresh and the atmosphere laidback. Conch, a rich meaty mollusc, is a speciality, served in chowders and fritters. There’s also key lime pie, a delicate, creamy concoction of special Key limes and condensed milk that bears little resemblance to the lurid green imposter pies served in the rest of the US.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

20 places to embrace the great outdoors in the USA

20 places to embrace the great outdoors in the USA

Whether you're dreaming of a week-long expedition or an afternoon spent in the sun, the USA is ripe with possibilities for an outdoor adventure. From hiking to…

16 May 2017 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
The best weekend getaways in the USA

The best weekend getaways in the USA

The USA is a big place – but no matter where you’re based, it’s easy to hit the road for a couple of hours or hop on a plane or train for a total change …

04 May 2017 • Rebecca Hallett insert_drive_file Article
7 places to get off the tourist trail in New York City

7 places to get off the tourist trail in New York City

Ticked off New York City’s big sights and wondering where to go next? From sinking a pint in Brooklyn's Red Hook to sampling Italian delicacies in The Bronx, …

11 Apr 2017 • Stephen Keeling insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month