The TropicsThe formal term "tropics" refers to that part of Earth where the sun is directly overhead at some point during each solar year, and at 90 degrees to the horizon at some point during each day. This area is described on a globe as being any place located between the Tropic of Cancer to the north of the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn to the south. The tropic of Cancer runs at 23° 26′ 16″, between Key West and Cuba, and Key West is at 24° 33' 81" Therefore, although they are as close to the tropics as it is possible to get without leaving the contiguous U.S., the Florida Keys and Key West are in the sub-tropics. They are not tropical. Key West misses being formally in the tropics by approximately 72 miles. Technical data aside, the Florida peninsula from Sarasota southward, and the Keys in particular, embody what most people would describe as "tropical."