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If you love fishing, diving, shopping, sipping or splashing, you’ll love the Florida Keys. The string of islands south of Miami are so bewitching, people keep returning. Others never leave.

We should know, since we were among them. Twice, we made our home in the Keys: first on Long Key and then Key Largo. It’s where we bought our first house.

I remember walking to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park with Aren in a stroller and having dinner at the Fish House. Every once in a while we’d sneak down to the Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada and walk over to Lorelei’s for the sunset.

But what is it that called to our soul? It was the water. Chris and I spent our time from Key Largo to Key West snorkeling and diving the multitude of coral preserves and teaching scuba diving. Turtles, nurse sharks, crab, green morays, lobster and angelfish are on the visual menu if you’re going out with Amy Slate’s.

When we’re fishing goliath grouper, mangrove snapper and tarpon our favorite. Good thing we’ve got a few fishing guide friends to take us out.

Our favorite place to stay is at Hawk’s Cay on Duck Key where we ride bikes across the Truman bridges, swim in the lagoon, feed the dolphins, sip hurricanes and dine on fresh fish we caught ourselves.

Have you been to the Florida Keys or Key West? What are your favorite memories?