Community Information

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Florida Keys and Monroe County Arts
The Keys are made up of small towns and communities. However, due to the strong economy from our tourist base, the Arts are a primary part of our culture. Most weekends bring festivals and street parties throughout the Keys and especially in Key West. Photography of wildlife here is also great.
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts does a great job in supporting Art in the Keys
Also see the Key West Arts and historical society


Gallery Guide






Museums/History and Nature

Also see the Key West Arts and historical society
• The Keys Community Concert Band. Susan Bazin 451-4530.
• Keys Chamber Orchestra. Call Inga-Lisa Wright, 305-744-0508
• The Key West Pops, Inc. - 305 293-7658, P.O. Box 6206

• Note to musicians-There are about a zillion Tiki bars etc, that have live music. The times range from the afternoon through the evening. The pay is generally better than you'll find working in a regular club in the rest of the country. In addition to that most outdoor venues shut their nusic down about 11-so the hours
are shorter.

Museums and Culture
• Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum - 305 294-1136, 907 Whitehead St., Key West FL
• Flagler's Station Historeum®-901 Caroline St., 1-305-295-3562.
• Key West East Martello Museum - 305 296-3913, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd.
• Key West Lighthouse Museum - 305 294-0012, 938 Whitehead Street
• Key West Museum of Art & History - 305 295-6616
• Key West Shipwreck Historeum - 305 292-8990, 1 Whitehead Street
• Little White House Museum - 305 294-9911
• Lofton B. Sands African Bahamian Museum - 305 293-9692,
• Wrecker's Museum - 322 Duval St., 294-9502.Theater/dance
• Middle Florida Keys
• Marathon Community Theatre, 5101 O/S Hwy.....305 743-0994
• Key West Theatre
• Island Opera Theatre.....305 296-1520
• Red Barn Theatre, 319 Duval St (Rear).....305 296-9911
• Waterfront Playhouse, Mallory Square.....305 294-5015Art Galleries/ Visual Arts
• Over 90 galleries throughout the Keys

• Note to Artists; regardless of the medium, ther is a place for you in the Keys. The Keys strongly support resident artists.Writers groups in all genres (from screenwriting to novels) are spread throughout the Keys.

There is definitely a reason so many world class writers and Play-rights have made and do make the Keys their home. Especially Key West.(“Ernest Hemingway” )

The musician and actor community here is strong.In conclusion, the arts community in the keys is strong and will even grow stronger. If you like the arts and a small community with lots of outdoor opportunities, The Florida Keys could be just your place.Wouldn’t it be nice to vacation here and not have to leave? 

Writers groups in all genres (from screenwriting to novels) are spread throughout the Keys. There is definitely a reason so many world class writers and Play-rights have made and do make the Keys their home. Especially Key West.(“Ernest Hemingway” ) The musician and actor community here is strong.

The Florida Keys Council for the Arts is the primary cultural umbrella for the Florida Keys, and serves the population from Key Largo to Key West. A non-profit local arts agency, it makes grants, operates the Monroe County Art in Public Places program, sponsors seminars, and manages the on-line cultural calendar for the region.

It also manages the County's Tourism Development Council arts marketing grants and serves as a leading advocate for cultural tourism in lower Florida. In 1998, the Florida Keys Council of the Arts was designated by the Board of Monroe County Commissioners as the area's Local Arts Agency as provided by Florida Statute 286.011. Established in 1997 as the Monroe Council of the Arts Corporation.

The name was changed to the Florida Keys Council of the Arts in 2001. Today the organization is the liaison among cultural organizations, all levels of government and the private sector in encouraging and promoting the arts throughout Monroe County. The council endeavors to make the arts a part of the fabric of daily life.

From its inception through fiscal year end 2006, FKCA has awarded $433,916 in privately-raised funds and grants to literary, visual and performing artists and cultural organizations. Add to that sum the Cultural Umbrella event funding, the South Florida Cultural Consortium Visual & Media Artists Fellowships and The Art in Public Places commissions, and the total distributed in the Keys cultural community through FKCA’s efforts come to $2.5 million to date. The annual economic impact of the non-profit cultural community in the Keys is estimated at over $22 million.

The Florida Keys Council of the Arts, a non-profit,501(c) (3) corporation in a public-private partnership with local county government since 1997 serves 76,329 local residents and three million visitors annually. A ten-member board of directors guides the council, assisted by three alternate directors, two directors Emeritus and twenty-five advisory board members.


In conclusion, the arts community in the keys is strong and will even grow stronger. If you like the arts and a small community with lots of outdoor opportunities, The Florida Keys could be just your place.

Wouldn’t it be nice to vacation here and not have to leave?

Complete Details for 2008-2009 Fl Keys Elementary Schools

See article at the bottom showing Monroe was at the top of the list with a 3.92 GPA; the second-highest, Brevard County, had a 3.87 GPA.

Monroe County is totally dedicated to good education. The school district offers a first class educational system to all its residents. With over 1500 employees
To see Monroe County Private Schools go to
Schools listing
• ASD 275828-Public Big Pine Key Neighborhood School Big Pine Key Monroe 33043
• ASD 9902- Public Coral Shores High School Tavernier Monroe 3307o
• ASD 144250 Public Gerald Adams Elementary School Key West Monroe 33040
• ASD 144249 Public Glynn Archer Elementary School Key West Monroe 33040
• ASD 123786 Private Grace Lutheran School Key West Monroe 33040
• ASD 39184 Public Horace O'Bryant Middle School Key West Monroe 33040
• ASD 123787 Private Island Christian School Islamorada Monroe 33036
• ASD 9972 Public Key Largo School Key Largo Monroe 33037
• ASD 9981 Public Key West High School Key West Monroe 33040
• ASD 123788 Private Little Lambs Preschool & Childcare Key West Monroe 33040
• ASD 44232 Public Marathon Junior Senior High School Marathon Monroe 33050
• ASD 9983 Catholic Mary Immaculate Star Of The Sea School Key West Monroe 33040
• ASD 144254 Public Plantation Key School Tavernier Monroe 33070
• ASD 9982 Public Poinciana Elementary School Key West Monroe 33040
• ASD 140995 Public Sigsbee Elementary School Key West Monroe
• 33040 144253 Public Stanley Switlick Elementary School Marathon Monroe 33050
• ASD 144251 Public Sugarloaf Elementary Middle School Summerland Key Monroe 33042

Private schools
• ACADEMY AT OCEAN REEF, 2 Dockside Lane N, Key Largo, 305-367-2409
• ISLAND CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, MM 83.2, Islamorada, 305-664-2781
• ISLAND CHRISTIAN SCHOOL-SOUTH, 14 125th St., Gulf, Marathon, 305-743-2200
• MARATHON LUTHERAN SCHOOL, 325 122nd St., Gulf, Marathon, 305-289-0700
• MARY IMMACULATE STAR OF THE SEA SCHOOL, 700 Truman, Key West, 305-294-1031 Pre schools and kindergarten
• ABC DAY SCHOOL, 6630 65th St. Ocean, Marathon, 305-743-3521
• COMMUNITY COOPERATIVE PRESCHOOL, 550 122nd St., Marathon, 303-743-3517
• EASTER SEALS FLORIDA, 5220 W. Junior College Rd., Key West, 305-294-1089
• FREDERICK DOUGLASS CHILD CARE CENTER, 103 Olivia, Key West, 305-294-3934
• GRACE LUTHERAN SCHOOL, 2713 Flagler Ave., Key West, 305-296-6262
• GROUPER LANE PRESCHOOL, 735 Grouper Lane, Key Largo, 305-852-9520
• HAPPY APPLE PRESCHOOL, 12350 O/S Hwy., Marathon, 305-743-9020
• ISLAND CHRISTIAN SCHOOL-SOUTH, 14 125th St., Gulf, Marathon, 305-743-2200
• ISLAND PRE-SCHOOL, 5 Transylvania Ave., Key Largo, 305-451-1181
• KEYS ACADEMY AT ST. JUSTIN, MM 105.5, Key Largo, 305-451-6415
• KEY WEST PRESCHOOL CO-OP, 2610 Flagler Ave., Key West, 305-296-4749
• KREATIVE KIDS CHRISTIAN ACADEMY, 4711 O/S Hwy., Marathon, 305-743-7165
• LIGHTHOUSE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY, 5580 MacDonald Ave., Key West, 305-292-5582
• LITTLE BEARS PRE-SCHOOL & DAYCARE, MM.100.4, Key Largo, 305-451-0755
• LITTLE SEAHORSE ACADEMY, MM.104.9, Key Largo, 305-451-6045
• MONROE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, 241 Trumbo Rd., Key West, 305-293-1400
• MONTESSORI IN KEY LARGO,  MM. 99.5, Key Largo, 305-453-3939
• MONTESSORI ISLAND SCHOOL, MM 92.3 Oceanside, Tavernier, 305-852-3438
• ST JAMES CHILDREN'S CENTER, MM 87.5, Plantation Key, 305-852-2161
• TEMPLE CHRISTIAN PRE-SCHOOL, 5727 2nd Ave., Stock Island, Key West, 305-294-2775
• VINEYARD EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING CENTER, County Rd., Big Pine Key, 305-872-3404
• WESLEY HOUSE CHILD CARE CENTER, 1100 Varela, Key West, 305-296-5231 Universities and colleges
• FLORIDA KEYS COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Upper Keys, Tavernier, 305-852-8007
• FLORIDA KEYS COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Middle Keys, Marathon, 305-743-2133
• FLORIDA KEYS COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Main Office, Key West, 305-296-9081
• NATIONAL UNDERSEA RESEARCH CENTER, 515 Caribbean Dr, Key Largo, 305-451-0233
• SAINT LEO UNIVERSITY, 718 Boca Chica Naval Air Station, Key West, 305-293-284 Junior/Community Colleges:
• Florida Keys community College and Adult education

Monroe tops in its class
Board: Schools should exceed state standards
BY JOHN L. GUERRA Citizen Staff

Monroe County schools this year collectively earned the highest grade point average in the state, besting more than 65 other school districts, Schools Superintendent Randy Acevedo said. Educators, however, think it's time to compare county student achievement with other scores nationally.

Monroe was at the top of the list with a 3.92 GPA; the second-highest, Brevard County, had a 3.87 GPA.
Monroe's score shows that of the 13 schools rated, 12 received an "A" rating. Key West High School received a "B." Three schools — Coral Shores High School, Horace O'Bryant Middle School and Marathon High School — improved one letter grade.

"When you look at the grades in a GPA format, we had the best performance statewide this past year," Acevedo said. "I am very proud of our staff, students, parents and community — it takes a team and a village."

It's the latest indication that county schoolchildren are performing well on standardized tests and improving scores; recent Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) results reflected higher scores in reading, writing, math and science. Third-graders, for instance, showed increases as high as 32 points at some schools in reading and math; 81 percent of the county's third-graders were reading at or above grade level. Upper grades also showed increases in test scores, with some schools showing more improvement than others.

The high scores have renewed calls by School Board members to take students to the next step by comparing Monroe County scores nationally, not just in-state.

"We have had discussions at the board table that these Florida standards are not stringent enough," member Debra Walker said, "and that we should compare our progress to national and international standards. Now we are free to set new goals based on even tougher criteria."

The scores in the Florida school report card program and FCAT results often clash with the federal government's annual yearly progress measurement under No Child Left Behind. That is the level of improvement each schoolchild is expected to reach year to year in reading, math and other subjects.

Though Florida may rate schools as "A" performers, the federal Education Department designates those same schools as "F" performers for failing to reach annual yearly progress under No Child Left Behind. In 2006, 712 schools that Florida considered "A" performers were listed as "F" schools.

Though Standard & Poor's education analysts rate Monroe students' reading proficiency in 2008 at 62.5 percent and writing proficiency at 67.7 percent, the county still isn't meeting annual yearly progress targets under federal No Child Left Behind requirements, S&P reports.

As in other states, Florida has a student testing regime — FCAT — that's similar to the one mandated by No Child Left Behind. Under the federal program, "F"-rated schools that don't improve over several years can be closed or turned into charter schools or put under a state's direct control.

The FCAT testing regime launched under former Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002 in effect puts Florida schools out of the federal government's reach. FCAT also is a better measure of Florida student success, the former governor has said.

Still, Monroe's "A" school ratings are nothing to sneeze at, said School Board member John Dick.

"It is great news for our schools and district," Dick said. "It is a job well-done by all the personnel involved, and of course, our students."

Being at the top of the state school GPA scorecard gives the county some financial rewards, Dick said.

"The state has what is called school recognition funds, and "A"-rated schools receive $85 per student as a bonus," he said. "Schools have discretion with how they use the money, but [most schools] use it to give staff members a bonus."

Health and Medical Link to Monroe County Clinics
The Florida Keys demand good healthcare facilities. Although the total population is less than 90,000, due to the influx of tourists,
good healthcare has to be available. In addition Miami and its world class Baptist hospital and all the other facilities, is just hours away.
Healthcare Facilities in the Keys:

Monroe County Physicians Directory

Nursing Homes

Plantation Key Nursing Center
Telephone: 888-959-5948 x58523
Address: 48 High Point Rd Tavernier, FL 33070
Services: , Nursing Home

Key West Health And Rehabilitation Center
Telephone: 888-959-5948 x52962
Address: 5860 W Junior College Rd Key West, FL 33040
Services: , Nursing Home

* Hospitals, 3
* Skilled Nursing facility, 2

Key West - Health Care Clinics

FMC Dialysis Svc of Key West(305) 294-8453 - 1122 Key Plz, Key West, FL
Care Center For Mental Health(305) 292-6843 - 1205 4th St, Key West, FL
All Keyes Complete Wellness(305) 296-7533 - 619 Eaton St, Ste 2, Key West, FL
Kessinger Charles W(305) 296-7533 - 524 Eaton St, Key West, FL
Keys Medical Ctr(305) 294-1706 - 3426 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL
Fl Keys Intensive Outpatient(305) 396-7275 - 1205 4th St, Key West, FL
New Beginnings Clinic(305) 292-4670 - 724 Truman Ave, Key West, FL
Walker Richard C MD(305) 294-1068 - 2407 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL
Counseling Center of Key West(305) 294-8777 - 1111 12th St, Ste 206, Key West, FL
Surgery Center of Key West LLC(305) 293-1801 - 931 Toppino Dr, Key West, FL

Key Largo - Health Care Clinics

A1 Urgent Care(305) 453-3006 - 101451 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL
VA Key Largo Clinic(305) 451-0164 - 105662 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL
Coastal Counseling Svc(305) 453-0602 - 99696 Overseas Hwy, Ste 4, Key Largo, FL
Keys Counseling(305) 453-9522 - 99551 Overseas Hwy, Ste 205, Key Largo, FL
Key Largo Health Ctr(305) 451-0440 - 102900 Overseas Hwy, Ste 8, Key Largo, FL

Marathon - Health Care Clinics

Childrens Clinic(305) 743-4321 - 9499 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL
Rural Health Network(305) 289-8915 - 2901 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL
O'Connor John P MD(305) 743-9436 - 13365 Overseas Hwy, Ste 102, Marathon, FL

Islamorada - Health Care Clinics

Essence of the Phoenix(305) 664-2490 - 81990 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL
Islamorada Chiropractic(305) 664-4240 - 81905 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL

Guidance Clinics of the Florida Keys:
GCC - Marathon
3000 41st Street - Ocean,
Marathon, FL 33050
(305) 434-7660 • Fax: (305) 434-9040
Hours of Operation: M-F (8am-5pm)

GCC - Key West
1205 Fourth Street,
Key West, FL 33040
(305) 434-7660 • Fax: (305) 292-6723
Hours of Operation: M-F (8am-5pm)

GCC - Key Largo
99198 Overseas Hwy., Suite 5,
Key Largo, FL 33037
(305) 434-7660 • Fax: (305) 451-8019
Hours of Operation: M-F (8am–5pm)

WomenKind in Key West

Alternative Medicine

Ket West Urgent Care


* MARATHON, FL 33050
* TELEPHONE#:305 743-5533

* KEY WEST , FL 33041-9107
TELEPHONE#:305 294-5531
Owned by Health Management Assoicates

* TAVERNIER, FL 33070 TELEPHONE#:305 434-1582

Monroe County Health Department

Lower Keys / Key West
(305) 293-7500

Middle Keys / Marathon
(305) 289-2708

Upper Keys / Tavernier
(305) 853-3240

Hours: Lower Keys Office
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday
Upper Keys Office
M, Tu, W and Fri (call for appts. 853-3240)

Lower Keys Office (Main Office)
1100 Simonton Street
The E. H. Gato Building
Key West, FL 33040

Middle Keys Office
Ruth Ivins Center
3333 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL 33050
Fax: (305) 289-2479

Upper Keys Office
The Roth Building
50 High Point Road
Tavernier, FL 33070
Fax: (305) 853-3242

For names and numbers of physicians in the Keys go to
In addition to local facilities, the world class health facilities of Miami are 3 hours away from Key West.

Miles of oceanfront and Gulf front access await you in the Keys.
Recreational opportunities in the outdoors are the most important assets of the Keys.
The fishing and boating here is incredible-both in the Ocean and the back-country (the Gulf). There is something
to catch year round and our weather lets you do it. If you like the water, this is the place
Recreational Opportunities:
•  47 Marinas
•  13 Parks,
•  3 Golf Courses
•  10 Campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks
• 13 public Tennis Courts
• 18 Boat Ramps
• To see a complete list of parks and recreational opportunities see
• the sites below

Things to do outdoors:
• Fishing-saltwater, freshwater-Ocean, lakes and the Everglades
• Boating-Ocean, Gulf or Bay
• Diving
• Hiking
• Tennis
• Bike riding
• Birding
• Photography and Wildlife watching
• Kayaking—canoes-there are good rental locations and lots of places to launch.
• Air boating into the Everglades
• Windsurfing the flats

Other places to visit.
• Audubon House- original Audubon engravings (not Audubon's residence)
• Conch Tour Train-
• Curry Mansion Inn - 305 294-5349 511 Caroline Street, Key West FL 33040
• Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum - 305 294-1136, 907 Whitehead St., Key West FL
• Flagler's Station Historeum®-901 Caroline St., 1-305-295-3562.
• Haitian Art Co. - 305 296-8932, 600 Francis St., Key West FL 33040
• Heritage House Museum - 305 296-3573, 410 Caroline Street, Key West FL 33040
• Historic Seaport at Key West Bight.
• Key West Aquarium - 1 Whitehead St., Mallory Market
• Key West East Martello Museum - 305 296-3913, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd.
• Key West Lighthouse Museum - 305 294-0012, 938 Whitehead Street
• Key West Museum of Art & History - 305 295-6616
• Custom House - 281 Front Street, Key West FL 33040
• Key West Shipwreck Historeum - 305 292-8990, 1 Whitehead Street
• Little White House Museum - 305 294-9911
• Wrecker's Museum - 322 Duval St., 294-9502. Built in 1829. This is Key West's oldest house.

State Parks in the Florida Keys
Key West's Ft. Zach beach and park-Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park, Key West.

Florida's true wealth is based on its abundance of wildlife, diverse natural communities and unique cultural heritage. The State Parks in the Florida Keys are each unique in their character and beauty.

Bahia Honda State Park - Big Pine Key, mile marker 36.

Bahia Honda has a natural environment found nowhere else in the continental United States. In the park you will find several biological communities: beach dune, coastal berm, mangrove forest, tropical hardwood hammock, and submerged marine habitats. These communities host many plant and animal species of the Carribbean including several rare and unusual plants. Bird life of Bahia Honda includes herons, roseate spoonbilles, egrets, sopreys, pelicans, and terns. Unlike most of the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda has a beautiful sandy beach along both the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay. Snorkeling, swimming, fishing, camping (80 sites), six bayside cabins, and access to two boat ramps, make Bahia an outstanding recreational opportunity.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park - Key Largo, located on C.R. 905 (1/4 mile north of Overseas Hwy).

This park, at 2,304 acres, is one of largest hardwood hammocks in the United States. It is home to 84 protected species of plants and animals, including the American crocodile. Nature lovers, bird watchers, and photographers can explore over 6 miles of trails, most of which are paved and accessible to both bicycles and wheelchairs.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park - Key West, end of Southard Street, in Truman Annex.

"Fort Zach", as the locals call it, was once surrounded by water and crucial to the defenses of the early United States. Today, historians, nature buffs, and beach-goers visit Key West's hometown state park. With it's pleasant manmade beach for swimming and snorkeling and shady picnic areas, Fort Taylor continues to be a favorite.

Indian Key State Historic Site - off Islamorada, mile marker 78.5, accessible only by private boat or charter boats available at nearby marinas.

This island was inhabited by Indians for several thousand years prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The wrecking and salvanging "industry" of the 1700s brought change and war to the mostly peaceful Indians. Jacob Housman bought the island in 1831, built a town, only to have it burned down in 1840 by the Seminoles during the Second Seminal War. A fascinating part of Florida's history and worth a visit if you have access to a boat.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park - Key Largo, mile marker 102.5.

The first underwater state park in the United States, Pennekamp covers 70 nautical miles of coral reefs (a small portion of America's only living coral reef), seagrass beds, and mangrove swamps. The park offers swimming, snorkeling, picnicking, camping, fishing, and boat ramp access. Concessions at the park offer glassbottom boat tours, a snokeling tour, scuba lessons and tours, canoeing, moteorboat, and sailboat rental.

Lignumvitae Key State Botanical Site - off Islamorada, mile marker 78.5, accessible only by private boat or charter boats available at nearby marinas.This 280-acre island supports many trees native to tropical forests such as mastic, gumbo limbo, Jamaica dogwood, poisonwood, and lignumvitae. 1-hour guided walks are fiven at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m., Thursday through Monday. The park is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Long Key State Recreational Area - Long Key, mile marker 67.5

Abundant in marine life and bird life, as well as tropical hammock trees Long Key visitors enjoy the area'a sun-drenched, subtropical waters, and two nature trails available.

San Pedro Underwater Archeological Preserve - Long Key.

The San Pedro was a 287-ton ship, part of the fleet of New Spain in 1733. Her remains were discoverd in 1960 under 18 feet of water in Hawk Channel near Indian Key. The underwater site has been enhanced with seven replica cannons, an anchor and an information plaque. To prevent anchor damage, tie up to mooring buoys located at the site.

Pro Sports
• A 2-3 hour drive to Miami:
• Florida Marlins
• 2269 Dan Marino Blvd, Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL 33056 · 305-626-7400
• Miami Dolphins
• 2269 Dan Marino Blvd, Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL 33056 · 305-620-2578
• Miami Heat
• 601 Biscayne Blvd, American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL 33132-1801 · 786-777-432

FLORIDA KEYS -- Featuring vivid coral reefs teeming with exotic sea creatures, the Florida Keys offer a ready-made vacation paradise that attracts almost 800,000 snorkel and scuba aficionados each year who can't wait to get into the water and explore — even as first-timers.

Snorkeling requires a mask, snorkel, fins for propulsion and inflatable snorkeling vest to enjoy a day of underwater sightseeing. Professional snorkel charters provide (and rent) equipment and offer simple instruction. Add a T-shirt and sun block to protect exposed backs, waists and legs, and you're ready to go.

Spectacular reefs are a short boat ride from the islands, located in shallow water that's often just 10 to 15 feet deep.

How to Catch a Florida Keys Lobster - Lobster Season Florida Keys

Some favorite snorkel sites include the nation's first undersea park, Key Largo's John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and nearby, the 9-foot-tall 4,000-pound bronze statue, "Christ of the Deep." The shrine stands on a concrete base in approximately 25 feet of water and is one of the most photographed underwater sites in the world.

At French Reef and Davis Reef, also in the Key Largo area, large groupers and moray eels cruise among the cliffs and canyons, gullies and archways at depths from 15 to 40 feet.

Off Islamorada, Alligator Reef boasts huge populations of yellowtail snapper, grunts, goatfish and damselfish, as well as a mini-wall where lobsters hide in crevices.

Among Marathon's notable patch reefs and spur-and-groove formations is Sombrero Reef, marked by a large lighted tower. You might see a pair of spotfin butterflyfish circle in their courting dance, French angelfish nip and peck at reef plants, a huge school of grunts slide back and forth in a gentle tidal surge or a stingray scour the sandy bottom for a snack.

The Lower Keys' Looe Key Reef is acclaimed as one of the most spectacular shallow-water undersea environs. Its great numbers of reef fish annually "host" a well attended, albeit unusual, event for snorkelers and divers — the Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival.

Key West offers snorkelers nearby offshore wreck and artificial reef sites including the unique Stargazer project, created by Keys metal sculptor Ann Labriola. In 22 feet of water, the 200-foot-long creation is composed of 10 steel cutouts of star constellations, each weighing between 2,000 and 8,000 pounds. Each pattern is home to abundant marine life.

Snorkeling is the perfect family activity for Keys visitors seeking close, calm observation of the inhabitants of one of the world's most diverse, complex and beautiful ecosystems.

Florida Keys visitor information: or 800-FLA-KEYS


FLORIDA KEYS — Family time in the Florida Keys means moms, dads, 'tweens and teens can bond during a variety of soft adventure learning vacations. Together, they can try new sports in the active-lifestyle destination, learning skills in as little as two days or embracing the ultimate experience on a weeklong adventure.

Learning to scuba dive is increasingly popular among families. The calm, clear waters surrounding the island chain, which parallels the continental United States' only living coral barrier reef, provide the perfect learning environment for parents and children — as well as a lifetime of diving fun, adventure and memories.

Kids as young as 10 years old can learn to be junior scuba divers. Scuba divers also can become underwater photographers, treasure hunters, marine biologists or even underwater archeologists.

Learning options range from introductory one-day courses through open-water certification classes with three to five days of training covering concepts such as basic physics and physiology, ocean waves, marine life and monitoring time and depth during a dive. That is followed by pool and open-water dives at the reef. Students learn about underwater coral and natural formations during an ocean dive, immersed in bright colors and a variety of reef fish and marine life.

Some of the first recreational dive training centers in America were opened in the Keys. Dozens of dive charter operations are staffed with working professionals who actively teach and train every day.

For information on dive training centers in the Florida Keys, visit

Families also can learn or improve upon angling skills by teaming up with one of the region's professional fishing captains for a private learning charter or joining a group for a party-boat fishing experience.

Women in particular, from grandmas to pre-teens, can enjoy friendly mentoring during the annual Ladies, Let's Go Fishing! seminar and tournament. The hands-on weekend, dubbed the "no yelling school of fishing," introduces female anglers to offshore, inshore, bottom and fly-fishing tackle and techniques in a nonintimidating atmosphere.

Ladies train with fishing tackle and tools, practicing spincasting, throwing a cast net, tying knots, boat handling, backing a trailer and gaffing a grapefruit. One of the most popular experiences for new anglers is learning to reel against pressure — with an unsuspecting male playing the role of a hooked fish.

For information, visit

Families can get underway and hoist the sails during sailing lessons, targeted to novice sailors who want to experience on-the-water training. Basic through advanced cruising, live-aboard cruises and charters are offered in the waters off the Keys.

Florida Keys Sailing, located in Marathon, offers training for a sailing license to charter or rent a sailboat. Classes range from day sailing trips (with lessons but no tests!) to three-day soup-to-nuts learning courses, after which sailors should be skilled enough to skipper a 24- to 30-foot boat.

Five- and seven-day bareboat cruising classes offer serious candidates the skills to captain and charter a 40- or 50-foot sailboat anywhere in the world, and be able to take the family out for a cruise. For information, visit

At Islamorada's Florida Keys Sailing Academy, aficionados can train aboard the Cour Volant, a 2002 Jeanneau SO40 built in France. Sailing classes range from one-day mate classes to weekend cruising refresher courses and three-day basic keelboat classes that explore sail theory and safety at sea.

At the conclusion of the course, students can safely and comfortably take a 25- to 30-foot boat out day sailing. Also popular among "maiden" voyagers are the academy's classes taught by women for women. For information, visit

For families with young adults age 18 and older, Marathon's Dolphin Research Center offers unique entry-level and career-focused courses to learn more about the marine mammals — perhaps the ultimate vacation experience.

Established in 1985, DolphinLab enables students of many ages to learn about dolphins in a unique natural setting of outdoor classrooms and 90,000 square feet of seawater lagoons, The experience gained appeals to individuals who aspire to be trainers or research scientists in the marine mammal field.

Each weeklong course offers hands-on activities, seminars and discussions with expert educators about marine mammal care, training, research and environmental issues. Basic DolphinLab is a seven-day class perfect for the supreme dolphin enthusiast. Adult-focused career classes are fully accredited through Florida Keys Community College, and participants earn college credits.

Younger students age 15-17 can enroll in a seven-day Teen DolphinLab or Dolphin Camps for ages 10-12 and 13-14, where students meet the resident dolphin population and observe their behavioral and physical characteristics as a way of learning respect for each individual. For more information, visit

Florida Keys Visitor information: or 800-FLA-KEYS

The Keys sub-tropical climate offers year-round sports and recreational opportunities. Winter, spring and fall are filled with lots of sunshine.
The hottest month is August with an average high of 89 F and an average low of 78 F. In January the average high temperature is 74 F and the average low is 65 F.
There has never been frost or freezing conditions in Key West.
Normal annual precipitation is 39 plus inches, with the largest monthly totals accumulating from July through September.

Subtropics marked by two distinct seasons
Weather is what brings a lot of people to Southern Florida - particularly during the dry, mild winter.
It's also what drives a lot of people away - particularly during the hot, rainy, sweaty, sticky summer.
Welcome to the subtropics, an area just outside the tropics, which lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
When lightning flashes, count the number of seconds before thunder is heard. Divide the number by five. The answer is the approximate distance in miles from the lightning.
Never seek refuge from a storm under a tree
Make sure you are not the highest object around you
Avoid open fields, open water, beaches
If you are on the road, stay in your car
Avoid heavy exertion during the hottest part of the day - noon to 3 p.m.
Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Remember, alcohol and caffeine increase dehydration. Wear a hat and sunscreen
Our subtropical weather is marked by two distinct seasons - the rainy season, part of which is hurricane season, and the dry season, part of which is windsurfing season.
During rainy season, May 15 to Oct. 15, Southern Florida receives 42 of its annual 53 inches of rain.
Rainy season temperatures average highs in the high 80s and low 90s and lows in the 70s.
A typical rainy-season day in Southern Florida starts with a hot, humid morning, followed by a hotter afternoon, clouds moving in from the east, and sometimes violent thunderstorms.
The frequency of summer thunderstorms has made Southern Florida the lightning capital of the world, so it's a good idea to seek shelter as the clouds roll in.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30
Emergency managers suggest that residents educate themselves about hurricanes and be prepared, just in case.
In contrast to Southern Florida's rainy season, dry season is, well, dry.
Eleven inches of rain spread over six months doesn't exactly put us in the same arid league with the Sahara, but the countryside can get pretty parched.
In one of those curious hydrological coincidences, the dry season also happens to be tourist season, so we have all those extra people using up the available water that isn't replenished because it's the dry season.
So water levels in aquifers can drop, and the South Florida Water Management District can impose water-use restrictions.
All this dryness can lead to serious wildfires, and residents are urged to clear vegetation around their homes.
People should never throw cigarette butts from car windows - that practice is bad for the environment at any time - but during dry season, it can easily and quickly spark a major fire.
Dry season temperatures average highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s.
But things can get chilly around here.
The big factors are cold fronts that occasionally blast through Southern Florida, bringing nasty cold rain and leaving behind unsubtropical, cold air.
You can usually tell when a cold front is coming without even looking at a weather map.
Southern Florida's prevailing winter winds are light and easterly, but a couple of days before a front hits, winds pick up and clock around to the south - the winds are warm and the days sunny.
This is when area wind surfers load up their gear and head to their favorite sailing sites.
As the front approaches, winds shift to the Southern, then west - winds still warm, days still sunny.
Eventually, the front appears on the horizon like a long, gray wall; when it hits, the wind jerks abruptly around to the north, and the air behind the front feels as if somebody up north left the door open on a giant freezer.
Fortunately, cold temperatures following a front usually don't last long.
Within a few days, skies clear, temperatures warm, and once again, Southern Florida shows off the weather that attracts all those winter visitors.
Then, within a few weeks, the overall dry, mild dry season gives way to the rainy, sweaty rainy season that drives them all away.

The above article was written by By KEVIN LOLLAR, Published by on November 3, 2003.
His emphasis was on the southwest area of Florida just above the everglades, however the article primarily relates to the Keys as well.

The Keys Temperature Annual high average
Month Air
January 7 4
February 75
March 78
April 81
May 85
June 87
July 89
August 89
September 88
October 84
November 80
December 76

Water temperatures go from 69 in January to 87 in July and August.

Other Keys Weather Indicators
Average Wind Speed 10.9
Clear Days 104
Partly Cloudy Days 155
Cloudy Days 107
Avg. Relative Humidity 74.5. To see stats by the month, go to

Although it looks like we have lots of cloudy days, the sun is out almost year rou.

Also, although we do get rain here-it is a tropical rain and comes and goes quickly, generally acts as a refresher to the hot days..

To see average January temperatures across the United States go to
Compare where you live or want to live in Florida. For more specific info, look at the area you are interested in and go to the weather page.

So what about Hurricanes, the rainy season and humidity?
We are a tropical climate, so our rainy season comes in the summer. Generally it will rain hard for a half hour then subside. It does get humid then. Although not as bad as you would think. Our water breezes really help cool us off.
Despite four devastating hurricanes in 2004, the number of Florida visitors rose 7% to an all-time high of 79.8 million last year and is on target to hit 80 million this year.
To think on:
If you live on the coast you stand the greatest chance of having one affect you. Some areas of Florida have gone fifty years plus without one but you never know.

In my opinion, the best thing you can do is buy a home that was built after Andrew-August 92 that was built to stricter building codes. Have window protection and a backup generator and make sure your insurance is up to date. If they ask you to leave, do it!

Realize-If you live in an older home that was not built up to the stricter building codes (After Hurricane Andrew-August 1992) or you live in a mobile home you stand the best chance of having major structural damage.

Living on the beach in a mobile home is asking for it. Although, you may never have a problem, you are still definitely taking your chances. Barrier islands and open-water Ocean or Gulf front are the most prone to damage.
For current information about hurricanes go to
For current weather forecasts by cities go to in a waterfront home typically means that you will pay a higher Insurance premium. The insurance is higher due to flood and wind concerns.
Part of this is also because the pricing on these homes is higher so there is more value to insure against.

Having said all this, I can’t imagine living elsewhere. It is really great to wake up and it’s sunny out.
We spend over half our lives indoors…so when you do go outside, it would be nice if it was warm




Contact Info:

fred mullinsdonna mullinserin biby

Fred Mullins, PA, Donna Mullins, Erin Biby
Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Company
1201 White Street, Suite 101
Key West, FL, 33040

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