Florida Getaways of the Day
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Looe Key: Stop and smell the conch!( Photo courtesy Florida Keys Tourism Council / May 10, 2006 )
We've all done it. Hightail it over the Seven-Mile Bridge en route to Key West, only to encounter that pesky "speed trap" on Big Pine Key. "What a slow and boring stretch of road," you tell yourself as you creep through town at 25 mph. Not only that, but you never have seen those miniature deer they keep warning you to avoid.
Well, my friends, you ain't seen nothin'. Big Pine at Mile Marker 36 is the gateway to "the other coral reef" -- Looe Key.
Dive, snorkel and tour boats sail regularly from Big Pine and nearby Bahia Honda State Park. Accommodations are available, though not plentiful. Ask the locals. We stopped at a restaurant and asked the bartender, and she pointed us to a delightful room on the ground-floor of a private home on a peaceful canal.
After a day of snorkeling in this underwater wonderland, or lying on the beautiful beaches of Bahia Honda, slip off U.S. 1 onto one of Big Pine's side streets just before dusk to explore this eight-mile long island by car or bicycle and -- by golly! -- you just might find the elusive Key Deer.
-- Bob Rountree
For more information, visit the Florida Keys Tourism Council web site at www.fla-keys.com/lowerkeys