Big Pine Key
The Lower Keys have a more laid-back feel than the northerly islands, with fewer restaurants and tourist attractions. Signs warn you to slow down and watch out for Key Deer, an endangered species. In Big Pine Key, you can see the small deer with white tails at the National Key Deer Refuge — www.fws.gov/nationalkeydeer/. You can’t feed them but you can watch them feed; you can also bike or jog here. To see the elusive lower Keys marsh rabbit, go in early morning and stay quiet by the tall grass. You can also tour the Bat Tower in Sugarloaf Key — www.keyshistory.org/SL-Sugarloaf-Key.html — at Mile Marker 17. Just don’t expect to see bats. The 1929 structure was built to lure bats as a way to combat mosquitoes. Bats stayed away, but the tower stands.