The Lower Keys Big Pine through Sugarloaf Key
For the Real Estate buyer or investor, the Lower Keys start at Mile Marker 30 or Big Pine Key
You have arrived in a world that is more laid back, slower-paced, more isolated in most ways, and geographically shaped differently.
* Until now you’ve been driving along the mostly northeast-to-southwest spine of each narrow Key, ocean to your left, Florida Bay or the Gulf of Mexico to your right, with neither body of water more than a few hundred feet away (or much less), for almost 100 miles
* Now, beginning at Spanish Harbor, you head north and then due west, before resuming (at Cudjoe Key) the trek towards the southwest (direction: Key West) that you’ve been traveling ever since you left Key Largo. (Ever wonder why it’s Key West and not Key South?)
* And something else is different! We are now crossing Keys that run more north-south than east-west. The actual ocean and gulf are now miles away, to our south or north, while we cross mangrove forests, wetlands, and pine barrens.
* Check out a map: the group of islands we call the Lower Keys are obviously different enough geographically from the Upper and Middle Keys (which run east-west, and end at Marathon) to have been considered by Colonial Spain as a different group of islands altogether. They were administered from Cuba, not from St. Augustine like the rest of Florida.
* When Spain sold Florida to the United States it did not intend to include Key West and the Lower Keys; the young (then Lt.) Admiral-to-be Perry was sent in the USS Shark (true story) to enforce the USA’s claim to the contrary. The rest is history.
This geography has implications today mainly in two ways:
First, the fabulous ecosystem of the Lower Keys backcountry provides – some claim, anyway – richer opportunities for boating and fishing, and certainly better kayaking and birding than any other portion of the Florida Keys from the Mainland to Key West. Almost the entire area north of the Overseas Highway (US#1) is protected wild environment as part of either the National Key Deer Refuge or Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge. And that makes this part of the Keys very special, from a homeowner’s or visitor’s perspective.
Coldwell Banker Schmitt RE Co. Lower Keys Office
Main office phone: (305)872-3050 ext. 5252
Toll Free: (800)488-3050 ext. 5252
29967 Overseas Highway
BIG PINE KEY,FL 33043