The U.S. is a great place for planning new trips and adventures. Having said that, it’s the perfect time to plan your next Florida Keys road trip. Follow your gut, take your car keys, and drive all the way down through the U.S. 1 – Florida Keys Overseas Highway – in search of inspiration and few enjoyable entertainment. Believe me, it is not that far!
Drive south along the route, past the southern rim of the Everglades and Florida Bay, and explore great sceneries from Key Largo to the furthest south tip of Key West. If you are a first timer or you need some guidance before hitting the road, let us help you create an itinerary so you can take full advantage of the various features that come along with the warmer climes. Once you get to explore them, you’ll be craving for more!
Key Largo, FL
Start your adventure by driving through Key Largo – The Gateway to the Florida Keys – and enjoy the natural scene. Make few stops and remember that Key Largo is home to tropical hardwoods, winding creeks, two state parks, and a portion of a national marine sanctuary.
Take a deep dive into Key’s Largo’s natural side at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for moderate water activities. But if you don’t want to get wet, the island hosts airboat tours along the Everglades. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to walk through natural trails or visit the rehabilitation center for wild birds to get some environmental education.
Once you complete your tour around the Everglades, try to explore Islamor ada. If you look at the map, you’ll see that Islamorada is made of six islands: Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key and the offshore islands of Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key. It may be hard to pick your favorite island, I know! But it doesn’t matter where in the islands you may find peace, as the deep blue waters that surrounds them are always captivating.
For those seeking adventure, Islamorada offers outdoor fun to fill your day including boating, canoeing, jet skiing, kayaking, SUP, and other coastal activities. Don’t worry, onshore visitors, there are enough shops, art galleries, and fabulous spots worth a selfie. By the way, Islamorada is also considered a great location for chasing sailfish around the Keys.
As you keep driving closer to the middle of the Keys island chains, you’ll reach Marathon, the sweet home to the sea turtles and other sea animals. It is highly recommended to schedule a 90-minute, behind-the-scenes tour of the Turtle Hospital to support the facility’s sea turtle rehabilitation efforts. It’s not your common animal rehab, as you may be amused to see how sea turtles are treated and released for their safety.
This 10-mile-long island chain is comprised mainly of Vaca Key, Fat Deer Key, and Grassy Key. If you are looking for an opportunity to be in contact with nature, book a marine biologist-led tour to experience the magical encounters with rays, sharks, and other lovably frisky sea creatures. Always try to look up if you ever decide to go for a hike, as it is a great spot for bird-watching too.
Lower Keys, FL
So far so good. There is no need to get scared once you start driving through the Seven Mile Bridge because that iconic structure could only mean one thing: Welcome to the Lower Keys! It may give you the impression that you are leaving the U.S. for another country, but that area was considered the place where dreamers and schemers find solitude and liberty. For those drivers crossing the beach during daylight, witness the crystalline blue waters that surrounds the bridge. You won’t be disappointed.
The Lower Keys are also home to two national wildlife refuges, a national marine sanctuary and a state park, and it’s the best location for eco-tours. If you enjoy deer-watching, fishing, paddle-boarding, staying at local resorts, and learn more about their history, slow down as you could be reaching heaven at the end of the road bridge.
Key West, FL
Continue southwest on U.S. 1 route and you’ll find the most endearing spot on the keys: Key West. It is a great tourist destination and it’s the closest point to Cuba in the entire country. You cannot demand for anything better than that. Key West is best known for its heavenly climate, unique history, cultural variety, fabulous architecture, and unabashed romantic appeal.
Everyone enjoys the vibrant events and tours around the city, as Key West is home to great celebrities including Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost and Jimmy Buffett, just to name a few. To give proof that you are 90 miles away from Cuba, take a picture at the Southernmost Point Buoy, and enjoy the best views from different cultural buildings in town.
Once you realize that you made the best out of your road trip, get back to your car and head back home. Soon enough you’ll find out that dreams die hard in the keys.