"The Travel Slut® Travel Tips to the Florida Keys" Top 5 Page for this destination Florida Keys Travelogue by TheTravelSlut
Florida Keys Travel Guide: 251 reviews and 654 photos
Driving vs. flying--they both have their merits.
Ideally, I'd drive one way and fly the other back. There is so much to see in 126 miles of the Keys from 7 Mile bridge to quaint shops and eclectic restaurants and pubs along the way that driving would seem to be an obvious choice.
However---flying over the waters on a clear day would give you a perspective of the Keys that few actually see and observing the USA's only living reef from the air is a treat and something that should be done once in a lifetime.
Driving from Miami to Key West will take a minimum of 3-3.5 hours but should average about 4 hours. Currently there is construction in the Upper Keys near the Anchorage drawbridge (widening to 4 lanes above everything!-yeah!!!!) and many of small towns have now dropped speed limits to 35 MPH and it is enforced all the time. Just enjoy the ride.
Flying today of course can be challenging and flying from Miami to Key West (the only other airport is Marathon about Mile Marker 50). The flight time is less than 40 minutes and the view spectacular but there are weight and size limitations for baggage and schedules can and will change often.
The Florida Keys are unique to North America and certainly unique in the USA.
Being on or near the aqua-colored water is a great feeling and one that should be experienced by anyone that visits the Keys. Whether you scuba, snorkel, swim, float, fish or boat---it is all good. The shops & sights along the highway are interesting enough, but until you actually get on OR in the water, you have not truly and fully experienced the Florida Keys.
I have dozens of great memories from the countless Keys trips I have taken the past 15 years.
Enjoying a Florida Keys sunset with a tropical drink (or margarita) in hand , feeding the tarpon at Robbie's, savoring a fresh-catch seafood meal, or snorkeling/diving the many coral reefs or wrecks all create, and then later bring back, great memories.
If you are a motorcycle buff, your 1st stop in Key Largo should be M.D. Custom Cycles, Inc. @ 102670 Overseas Hwy. (Highway 1 @ MM 102 & Bayside) & 305-451-3606 . They are very friendly, helpful and have great rental rates on Harley Davidson's plus a nice selection of Florida Keys attire.
Another must-see is Robbie’s of Islamorada (MM 77.5) 77500 Overseas Hwy. @ 305-664-8498 & . Experience the “rush” of feeding HUGE tarpon from the dock. Dock entrance is $2.00 per person & a bucket of fish is $2.00. Be forewarned though-the tarpon can jump and they can bite (so do the resident pelicans).
You can also enjoy a hearty breakfast or lunch @ Robbie's. I ordered a fantastic eggs benedict brunch on a trip this past summer.
Statues, sculptures, and monuments are scattered throughout the shoulders and easements along Hwy. 1 and have been for years. These icons though, from what I have been told, are being phased out through the purchase of existing land and buildings. Huge replicas of lobster, tropical fish, dolphins, mermaids, and even a life-size zebra can be seen during an Upper Keys road trip. There are plenty of photo opportunities and take advantage of them like I have been doing recently as they may be gone on your next trip.
The Upper Keys have too many attractions to list including the Theater of the Sea (MM 84.5) @ 305-664-2431 & and Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (MM 102.5). There are many fine restaurants (Lazy Days MM 79.8) and Morada Bay (MM 81.6) plus dolphin encounters and great scuba diving/snorkeling. Be sure to pick up free Great Locations & See Florida Keys guidebooks for info & coupons at any of the visitor information stations along Highway 1 (the Overseas Highway).
The Keys along Highway 1 are easy to navigate as you can often see the Gulf of Mexico (or Florida Bay) on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east.
Finding locations is easy also as the Keys are marked with mile markers starting in the way south at Key West's Mile Marker 0 (zero) and ending at Mile Marker 136 or so in Florida City. You will find directions usually indicate MM for the Mile Marker number.
As an example, MM 84.5 is 84.5 miles from Key West and approximately 42 miles from the top of the Keys. It is also where Theater of the Seas is located (an waterpark-aquarium-themed attraction).
There are 42 bridges connecting over 100 islands and represent 15% of your total drive time.
Highway 1 is also referred to as the Overseas Highway.
The people of the Keys can be laid back or they can be irritated with tourists who drive too fast, are in a hurry too often and forget they are in a protected eco-system.
While there is fishing and lobstering and crabbing going on legally, it is still nice to know that certain areas are off limits and conch's (pronounced conk) are present in the waters--after all--this is the land of Conch Republic.
The speed is there for a reason. It protects people, things, and even Key Deer on Big Pine Key.
Don't come to the Keys on vacation and go home on probation.
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