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Breezy circumstances keep life temperate in the Florida Keys

Florida Keys suntan

The Florida Keys' unique geographic location has imparted the region with moderate temperatures year-round, providing the perfect climate for favorite visitor activities - outdoor recreation and late-night partying.

Common sense would dictate that daytime temperatures in the Florida Keys, the Southernmost region in the continental United States, would average significantly higher than in the nation's northern climes. Surprisingly, this simple geographic rule does not necessarily apply.

The island chain that makes up the Florida Keys is isolated between the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Here, nature's own air conditioning - cooling breezes sweeping off the ocean waves - keep the Key's climate surprisingly temperate.

Florida Keys Canoe

Key West, the Keys' most far-flung island, boasts an average daytime high temperature of 81.9 degrees Fahrenheit. With similar readings for the entire island chain, the Keys are the perfect place to enjoy water recreation - with scuba diving or snorkeling on the region's rare living reefs, water skiing, sailing and offshore swimming - any time of the year.

During the late evening, when the temperature in Key West reaches its average low of 73 degrees Fahrenheit, the weather creates a climate for celebration into the wee hours in the city's streets.

Keys Flats Fishing

There are basically two seasons in the Keys - winter and summer, or "dry" and "wet". Winter brings day after day of short-sleeve weather and clear blue skies. In the summer, the rains come. Usually, showers in the Keys are short and sweet, providing sudden shade from the summer sun. Because weather systems move swiftly in the tropics, showers can be unpredictable, yet visitors caught in downpours find they dry off rapidly with the reappearance of the bright sun.

Thermometers and overcoats don't seem to get much exercise in the Florida Keys - the mercury generally slumbers lazily - but snowbirds will find the Keys' climate an invigorating elixir.