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.

10 places where you can see America's fall foliage at its finest

10 places where you can see America's fall foliage at its finest

As fall takes hold, a magnificent blanket of gold and amber leaves begins to descend across the USA. Misty morning walks and roaring fires start to bec…

21 Sep 2017 • Phoebe Tatham insert_drive_file Article
Beer and bison burgers: a foodie's guide to Denver

Beer and bison burgers: a foodie's guide to Denver

Countless cities are credited with a burgeoning food scene – but Denver, the Wild West capital of Colorado, stands out from the crowd. In 2016, a stagger…

19 Sep 2017 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
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