Off Florida's southern coast, there is an archipelago of coral cays known as the Florida Keys. They mark the southernmost point of the US. The Keys are a chain of islands that start along the southeast coast of the Florida peninsula, roughly 15 miles (24.14 km) south of Miami. They curve gently to the south-southwest and then westward to Key West.
You pass through countless tiny islands on this route that are tucked between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. One of the most beautiful drives in the USA is between Key West and the Florida Keys. The 101-mile-long island chain is only connected by one road: the fabled Overseas Highway, originally Henry Flagler's Overseas Railway, which was partially wrecked by the historic 1935 Labor Day Hurricane. It has since evolved into the All-American Road under the National Scenic Byways program. The drive is a holiday unto itself thanks to the stunning scenery, considerable historic importance, and a plethora of recreational options.
Everyone can have fun and relax in the Florida Keys. Grab a hammock and relax if you like to spend your quiet island time lounging on the beach. On the other hand, there are endless chances available to you if you're seeking for some fun and adventure. The Florida Keys can be either exciting or relaxing, depending on how you want to spend your time there.
Florida’s unique ecosystem allows both alligators and crocodiles to thrive. Off Card Sound Round north of Key Largo, you can explore the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge if you dare. You’ll be able to see the American crocodile in the wild, though be sure to keep your distance. It’s a convenient way to see these saurian beasts without taking a tour of the Everglades (which you should do at some point in your life!)
For adventure seekers, the first stop will be Key Largo. This island is home to the Everglades National Park and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Hop on a glass-bottom boat and enjoy the stunning underwater life any way you like. It’s a fantastic place for families, couples, and friends alike! At these parks, you will find the most environment-related activities including canoeing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and even snorkeling. These are by far the best ways to get a closer look at nature and understand the delicate ecosystem we live in. The Pilot House Restaurant in Key Largo, which has a marina and glass-bottom bar you’ll definitely want to see, also has some of the best food in this chain of islands. Other attractions at Key Largo include Tavernier and the Harry Harris Park for a fun day out with your family and kids.
Fly-fishing is another great escape in The Florida Keys. The place where the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush, enjoyed his fishing in Islamorada. This island is also more commonly called the Sport Fishing Capital of the world. There are amazing seafood restaurants and marinas available to you. Be sure to get at least one Rum Runner while you’re visiting.
Take a pit stop where it originated in Islamorada at the Tiki Bar at the Postcard Inn and then order it everywhere you go from there! The Cheeca Lodge & Spa is a completely upscale spa resort with lush surroundings. Stay and play on the nine-hole golf course, soothe your soul in the full-service spa, play tennis, or enjoy the three swimming pools. On-site restaurants are pricey but epicurean. With a fun tiki bar right on the beach and a kids’ club to get some peace away from the little ones, it’s a place couples and families will love. There’s a resort fee, but it covers the use of kayaks, fishing gear, bikes, and fitness classes.
Traveling south, you will reach Marathon. This is the perfect family spot with opportunities that include boating and the endless availability of accommodation facilities and marinas. One famous attraction of the Marathon is the Seven-Mile Bridge. This bridge gives you the feel of driving on the water while also giving you the opportunity to be a part of dolphin sightings and encounters.
Marathon’s Turtle Hospital is a special place where you can learn about injured sea turtles and what’s being done to help rehabilitate them. Take a 90-minute guided tour where you’ll even have the opportunity to feed these gentle animals. Founded in 1986, this place has helped rehabilitate and release over 1,500 sea turtles! This island is also famous for being the place where along with the Miami Seaquarium the TV show “Flipper” was shot from 1964 to 1967.
Bahia Honda State Park in the Lower Keys at mile marker 37 is great for getting your water sports thrills. Kayaking, snorkeling, jet skis, and more await. Or simply stay dry and catch the sunset. Portions of the park are still recovering after Hurricane Irma, including Sandspur Beach and Sandspur campground and are currently closed. Make sure to check out the website to plan your trip first!
As you move further south in your quest to explore all the islands that make up The Florida Keys, you will come across Big Pine and the Lower Keys. These islands are home to Key deer, which are an actively endangered species. There is a Wildlife Refuge developed for the conservation of the animal, known as the Key Deer Wildlife Refuge. There’s no charge to visit, so it’s ideal for budget-savvy travelers. Be gentle and enjoy the native fauna while trying to catch a glimpse of these sweet creatures.
Another major attraction on these islands is the most amazing beach. Known as one of the USA's best beaches, the Lower Keys beach is sure to take your breath away. You can further settle down and enjoy your island time at the marinas and picnic grounds, while also taking advantage of the camping facilities.
After finding out you’ve been to the Florida Keys, most people will wonder if you’ve been to Key West.
You can tour the city by foot, bicycle, trolley, or electric car and enjoy the village, theaters, museums, galleries, sidewalk cafes, and legendary pubs. Head down to the southernmost city in the U.S. and get a photo at the Southernmost Point. This is an oversized buoy landmark that represents the lowest point on the map.
While you’re here, you should also visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. He was one of Key West’s most legendary residents when he lived in the house during the most prolific decade of his career.
You should also visit Mallory Square, where there’s a nightly Key West sunset celebration. You’ll see jugglers, tightrope walkers, sword swallowers, buskers, and other characters that put on family-friendly entertainment.
There’s also plenty of adult entertainment and for 10 days in October, it’s Fantasy Fest. Bringing in as many as 75,000 revelers each year, it’s an event that invites grown-ups out to play and celebrates the Florida Keys culture.
This stretch of islands is some of the most beautiful scenery in the U.S. If you’ve been searching for the perfect destination this year, make it happen! The sand and sea are waiting for you.
East Coast Limousine offers tours to the Florida Keys from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. Get in touch with us for further details and a free estimate.