8 Interesting Facts About the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys – not just a fantastic vacation destination. The Keys have a rich history, and are home to some fascinating marine facts. Here are eight interesting tidbits you may not know about the warm and sunny destination.
- In the region known as the Florida Keys, there are 800 keys in total, and they stretch over 180 miles.
- There are 42 bridges connecting all the Florida Keys islands. The longest bridge, Seven Mile Bridge, is 35,716 feet long, and it connects the mainland of Florida to the Florida Keys. The shortest bridge, Harris Gap Bridge, is only 37 feet in length.
- Key West is the southernmost city in the continental United States, and it is actually closer to Havana, Cuba than to Miami, Florida. Cuba is only 90 miles away from Key West.
- The term “key” comes from the Spanish word, “cayo” which translates to “small island.”
- Most of the sand in Key West’s beaches isn’t natural, but was shipped in from the Caribbean. No wonder it’s beautiful!
- The Florida Keys (and Florida in general) have the most sea turtle nests in the U.S. Read about what WorldStrides students get to experience when they visit a world-class sea turtle hospital in Florida here
- The Keys are known as the world’s premier sport fishing destination. However, the Queen Conch is a protected species and catching it is prohibited.
- Since 1981, more than 23 artificial reefs have been created in the waters off the Keys, mostly through the sinking of ships! For example, in 2002, the Spiegal Grove, a then 34-year old landing ship of the U.S. Navy, was sunk in Key Largo (on purpose!) to form an artificial coral reef. By the way, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is the only national marine sanctuary to have approved artificial reefs. Read more about the most active artificial reef program here.
Ready for some fun in the sun (and water)? Students who participate in our Florida Eco programs get to explore all things marine biology first-hand. Check out what our Splash Into Science and Florida: H2O programs have to offer young aspiring scientists!