The Lower Keys begin where the Florida Keys island chain takes a graceful westerly turn toward the sunset, shortly after the famous Seven Mile Bridge. It is a quiet region of small resorts, down-home restaurants, single-family homes, untrammeled wildernesses and rich history.
Explore the National Key Deer Refuge, a large expanse of mostly undeveloped pine lands where the diminutive Key Deer live, or venture out to No Name Key.
Big Pine Key is home to the National Key Deer Refuge, where the majority of the Key Deer population can be found. As Key deer are endangered, many precautions have been taken to preserve as much Key Deer habitat as possible:
- Signs are prominently placed along U.S. 1 (the Overseas Highway) to inform drivers that they are entering Key deer habitat, and warning them that feeding Key deer is prohibited
- Approximately two miles of US 1 on the eastern end of Big Pine Key are elevated and fenced off to allow Key deer to pass under the road
- The stretch of US 1 in Big Pine Key has a night-time speed limit of 35 miles per hour (as Key deer are most active at night) and the speed limits (45 MPH in the day) are "strictly enforced" according to signage
If you're looking for an off-shore adventure, Big Pine is also the jumping off point for numerous snorkeling and dive charters to Looe Key reef.
Come visit Big Pine & the Lower keys. Like all the Keys, you'll find it's rich in history.