The Florida Keys, the continental United States’ southernmost island chain, is characterized by a balmy subtropical climate, breathtaking natural beauty and a uniquely laid-back atmosphere that seems to be a world away from big cities and theme parks. Beginning just south of Miami, the Florida Keys are divided into five regions: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine and the Lower Keys, and Key West. Each region has its own special flavor, attractions and museums, historical and cultural offerings, flora, fauna, restaurants with local seafood and other specialties, fishing, diving, water sports and boutique-type shopping experiences. The islands are connected by the Florida Keys Overseas Highway’s 42 bridges — one almost seven miles long — over the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors to the Keys will find vistas of blue sea and sky, edged with tall palm trees and olive green mangroves. Sharing this eco-paradise are white herons, roseate spoonbills, pelicans, sea gulls, ospreys and countless underwater creatures including sea turtles.