Distance from Baltimore: 1,042 miles, about a two-hour flight or 17-hour drive Why it's hot: If you want to experience a tropical vacation without having to take out your passport, head to the Florida Keys. These islands off the south shore of Florida span 110 miles and are connected by bridges and highways. For diving and snorkeling, head to Key Largo, the first island. If you're a fan of fishing, Islamorada is known for offshore sport fishing, especially during winter. Marathon, known as the heart of the Florida Keys, is home to luxury resorts. Big Pine Key is perfect for boating. Finally, Key West, the southernmost point of the U.S., is home to all of these attractions and more. Laze under the sun on the gorgeous beaches before going out to enjoy the thriving night life, beginning at Duval Street. Don't miss: John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park Everglades National Park in Key Largo, the northernmost location in the chain, offers snorkeling, scuba diving, glass-bottom boats and a chance to view a real living coral reef. In Key West, check out the sunset celebration each evening at Mallory Square. Information: Go to http://www.fla-keys.com.
Karen Bleier, Baltimore Sun