The people of the Lower Keys vary between winter escapees and native Conchs. Some local families have been Keys castaways for generations, and there is somewhat of a more insular feel than other parts of the Overseas Hwy. It’s an odd contrast: the islands get at their most isolated, rural and quintessentially ‘Keez-y’ before opening onto (relatively) cosmopolitan, heterogeneous and free-spirited Key West.
People aside, the big draw in the lower Keys is nature. You'll find the loveliest state park in the Keys here, and one of its rarest species. For paddlers, there is a great mangrove wilderness to explore in a photogenic and pristine environment.