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Florida Keys Vacations   by Orson Johnson

The Florida Keys are a great place to go on holiday. Key West is closer to Cuba than to the major US cities, and there is certainly a more relaxed and amiable attitude than you might find within the US. The Keys attract a wide range of sports enthusiasts, whether you wish to snorkel or go boating.

One of the most popular attractions in recent years has been to swim with the dolphins, one of those lifetime experiences which should not be missed. Water sports enthusiasts are regulars to the keys, and for obvious reasons, though anyone seeking adventure, or even a cosy holiday with a caribbean flavour, should also consider the Keys as a great holiday destination.

As the Keys are an archipelago, which means a string of islands, constructed from exposed points of the ancient coral reef which is still a tourist attraction. A number of the larger islands have been connected to the 'overseas highway', which touches all of the inhabited islands of the Keys, which means that with a car you can visit a number of the Keys, and still have your main base on one island.

Key Largo, for instance, is the 'Dive capital' of the islands, and is a mecca for all expert divers. It is the location of the largest expanse of living coral in the US, and this alone is enough to attract divers, though there is also the opportunity to get married underwater, a service used by about 200 couples every year. As well as diving and snorkelling, it is possible to go fishing, and even visit the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, a truly worthwhile place to see.

Key West, the party-town of the Florida straits, has any number of attractions, from glamorous nightclubs to streets littered with chickens and cats. Better be a cat lover if you visit Key West, because the felines are out in force along every street, semi-feral and expecting to be stroked by everyone that meets them.

The climate of the Keys is very subtropical, and the seasons tend to shift between 'hot and wet' in the summertime to 'hot and dry' in the winter.

The hot nature of the Keys, plus their situation in the Atlantic Ocean, means that they are often subject to fierce storms and hurricanes. As the Keys are simply shallow areas of land on top of coral reefs, they are especially vulnerable to cyclones and flooding. Some people are attracted to the Keys as a holiday destination because of the likelihood of storms and floods, joining the natives in 'hurricane bravado', which takes to extremes the fascination with weather.

2007 will definitely be the year to visit the Florida Keys, especially Key West, as it will be the 25th anniversary of the 'Conch Republic' declaration of independence from the US (they were re-united after a minute), a protest at Us border patrols, and a big party seems inevitable.

Once you've had your fill of the water, you might want to check out the Florida Key's nightlife. There are all sorts of pubs and clubs across the Keys, from Key West's many bars and theatres (as well as a sunset cruise and a trip to the Spirit Theatre and its sťance). Key West nightlife attracts a lot of gay interest, so there are also plenty of nightclubs, including the fabulous Epoch.

The lower and middle Keys also have great places to party, as you would expect from a fun-loving and youth-based group of islands. While the upper Keys are more outrageously party-focused, the lower Keys provide more places to chill and drink, perhaps a respite for the last days of your holiday, when you need to chill. Even if you are not a big party animal, the Keys can provide a great night out.

Accommodation on any of the islands is plentiful. Tourism is the main source of income for many of the Key's inhabitants, so it seems only natural that they should encourage the visitors to stay.

There are both very luxurious hotels and budget Bed-and-Breakfast accommodation, so whatever your financial situation, you can find something on the Keys for you. If you are looking at a more economical holiday in the Florida Keys, then you may well find that getting accommodation from the less well-known keys may provide a better solution to your position than just finding the cheapest rooms on Key West. Being on the littler Islands need not inhibit either your daytime activities or your night time jaunts, as they are mostly connected to each other via the road.

You should be able to find much cheaper accommodation only a short distance from the major Upper Keys, and even more luxury apartments. Being on the Florida Keys, you can expect to pay a lot at restaurants and cafes, but you should certainly not have to pay through the nose for your sleeping arrangements.

About the Author

About The Author Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing listings for bed and breakfasts, apartments, hotels and villas in Florida