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The Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys, one of the top U.S. vacation destinations. (Sergey Chernyaev/Dreamstime/TNS)

MIAMI — A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and travelers are ready to travel.

And a lot of them apparently are eager to travel to Key West.

Tripadvisor just released its 2021 Travelers’ Choice Awards for Destinations, and Key West is among the most popular destinations for travel in the United States, falling behind New York, Maui, Las Vegas and New Orleans.

Key West’s popularity makes sense. More than half of the respondents to a recent Tripadvisor survey reported they were likely to take an outdoor or nature-focused trip after the pandemic. Key West is the sort of lawless island where overserved tourists are charged with stealing floating tiki bars, but such outlaw behavior does not damage the island’s potent allure.

Miami Beach was no. 18 on the most popular list, touted as a spot where “visitors can swim, surf and jet ski in the warm and crystal-clear Atlantic waters.” (Editor’s note: Um.)

Theme park capitol Orlando was no. 14, and still other Florida destinations showed up on other Tripadvisor lists. The list of Trending Destinations in the U.S. — places that are growing in popularity while not quite favorites yet — includes several Florida destinations, including St. Augustine (no. 2); Fort Myers Beach (no. 3); Marco Island (no. 6) and Clearwater (no. 9).

Nowhere in sight is Key Largo, which was the No. 1 trending destination a year ago.

Emerging Destinations — “under-the-radar destinations” where visitors can “ditch the crowds, explore, and connect” — include Panama City Beach at No. 2 and no, we don’t understand that either, especially since it’s ahead of spots in Brazil, France and Australia.

The awards are based on Tripadvisor reviews and ratings for hotels and resorts, restaurants, and things to do in destinations across the world over a 12-month period.

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