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Keys to happiness

Soak up the sun and fun along Florida’s 125-mile island chain

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Photographs by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/YVETTE CARDOZO

Allison Wilkie demonstrates a yoga pose on a stand-up paddleboard at Bahia Honda State Park.

Water, water everywhere.

IF YOU GO

The best time to visit the Florida keys is late fall through late spring when the air is cooler and drier. There is plenty to do in summer; there no longer seems to be an off-season.

Fresh tropical breezes and a vigorous anti-mosquito program kept most of the bugs at bay. The Florida Department of Health website updates daily and when I visited in mid-July, they had not had a case of Zika in Monroe County, which includes the southern edge of mainland Florida and the Keys.

Among the interesting places to stay are Historic Key West Inns. These are boutique hotels created from local houses. They are cozy, with just a few dozen rooms, modernized and located in Key West’s Old Town near restaurants and Duval Street.

The Florida Keys: fla-keys.com

Historic Key West Inns: historickeywestinns.com

The Stoned Crab: stonedcrabkeywest.com

Ibis Bay Paddle Sports: keywestpaddle.com

Blue Heaven: blueheavenkw.com

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum: hemingwayhome.com

Mote Marine Tropical Research Laboratory: tinyurl.com/y9t8zvn9

Serenity Eco Therapy: serenityecoguides.com

Turtle Hospital: turtlehospital.org

Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival: lowerkeyschamber.com/festival.php

Hungry Tarpon Restaurant: hungrytarpon.com

Photo diary: tinyurl.com/ydh8kn68

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Annette Robertson explores a portion of the artificial reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo. + Enlarge

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Nicole Pacha (left) and Sarah Brunner pretend to play instruments at the Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival off Big Pine Ke... + Enlarge

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A plate of stone crab, oysters, Tortuga pink shrimp and other delights await diners at The Stoned Crab in Key West. + Enlarge

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