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Upper Keys

No, really, you’re in the islands!

It is a bit hard to tell when you first arrive, though. The huge, rooty blanket of mangrove forest that forms the South Florida coastline spreads like a woody morass into Key Largo; little differentiates the island from Florida proper. Keep heading south and the scenery becomes more archipelagically pleasant as the mangroves give way to wider stretches of road and ocean, until all of a sudden you’re in Islamorada and the water is everywhere. If you want to avoid traffic on US 1, you can try the less trafficked FL 997 and Card Sound Rd to FL 905 (toll $1), which passes Alabama Jack’s.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Upper Keys.