Scarlet Macaw, South Florida ©Author Adventures

John James Audubon

If you like tropical birds, visit the Florida Keys and imagine seeing it the way John James Audubon (1785-1851) did. Born in the country now known as Haiti, he became the quintessential author and illustrator of books on birds, notably A Synopsis of Birds in North America, which you can find at

His illustrations beautifully unfold magnificent colors and vivid details on the birds of the Keys. Our link does not include his illustrations but they can be found through most any public library or online here:

Read a short biography of the 19th century naturalist, ornithologist, and painter here: You can also check out the Kentucky and Texas pages of to learn more about Audubon.

The Keys

The Keys have long captured the spirit and imagination of travelers seeking adventures and recreation in a relaxed tropical setting. Some things have changed since the “Olde Florida” days (a.k.a. “The Conch Republic”) and some things, like its underwater wonders, continue to attract ocean enthusiasts.

The Map

If you go, try using the map and follow John James Audubon’s footsteps around the Florida Keys. (He traveled to Sandy Key the most often.)

Or plan a visit just to the magnificent Dry Tortugas, which you can reach by ferry, but be prepared because the island has no public phones, restrooms, shops, restaurants, or snack bars.

On the long drive down, passengers can watch The Big Year. It’s a bird-centric comedy with Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black. It is family-friendly if you don’t mind occasional “fowl” language.

In addition to literary landmarks and bird-watching, people visit the Keys for many reasons. We enjoyed Key Largo, Islamorada, and Key West, where fresh island breezes and exotic shores inspire writing.

This is the eleventh and final stop on Florida Author Adventures Trail #2.

Patricia Smart