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The Florida Keys Travel Guide

  • Photo: sashaburt/Shutterstock

Big Pine Key

Welcome to the Keys' most natural holdout, where wildlife refuges protect rare and endangered animals. Here you’ve left behind the commercialism of the Upper Keys for an authentic backcountry atmosphere.

How could things get more casual than Key Largo? Find out by exiting Overseas Highway to explore the habitat of the charmingly diminutive Key deer or cast a line from No Name Bridge. Tours explore the expansive waters

of National Key Deer Refuge and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, one of the first such refuges in the country. Along with Key West National Wildlife Refuge, it encompasses more than 200,000 acres of water and more than 8,000 acres of land on 49 small islands. Besides its namesake bird, the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for uncounted species of birds and three species of sea turtles. It’s the only U.S. breeding site for the endangered hawksbill turtle.

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