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USA/South: Upper Keys, FL

The Eighth Wonder of the World


Walks, Hikes, Cycling and Kayaking

The Upper Keys offers a number of trails that wind through hardwood hammocks (dense stands of trees) and nature preserves. From Dagny Johnson in north Key Largo to Windley Key in Islamorada, you can find places to get away from the crowds and get in touch with nature. 

The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail: The trail, also known as FKOHT, features more than 70 miles of existing trails paved in segments along a 106-mile corridor that will eventually stretch from Key Largo to Key West. For the most part, the Heritage Trail runs alongside the new Overseas Highway, offering panoramic views of the Keys for walkers, hikers and bikers, as well as numerous opportunities for kayaking and fishing. The longest continuous section of paved trail is the 34-mile stretch between mile marker (MM) 106 at Key Largo and MM 72 at Islamorada in the Upper Keys.

Dagny Johnson State Park: This park has a self-guided nature trail that includes a native plant and butterfly garden. There are also six miles of back country trails that offer an chance to see some of the 84 protected and rare species of plants and animals in this area, including wild cotton, mahogany mistletoe and the Schaus swallowtail butterfly. A stand of West Indian tropical hardwood provides birdwatchers and photographers with great opportunities.

Long Key State Park: Visitors can explore the park by kayaking through a chain of lagoons or hiking two land-based trails. The 1.1-mile Golden Orb Trail leads to an observation tower that offers a panoramic view of the island and its vast array of flora and fauna.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Molasses Reef: This 17-acre reef varies in depth, making it great for divers and snorkelers. One of the main attractions is the statue of Christ of the Abyss, a replica of its more famous cousin located off Genoa, Italy. Nearby Grecian Rocks is great for snorkelers, because the water is fairly shallow. The Duane and the Bibb were two Coast Guard Cutters that sank in 1987 and created an artificial reef. The Spiegel Grove was similarly scuttled in 2002 and sits in 130 feet of water six miles from shore near Dixie Shoal.

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