Each year about this time I begin to get requests for winter travel or spring break. For anyone wanting to stay in the country or who may have forgotten to renew their passport the choice is an easy one…the Florida Keys! There are many accommodations ranging from rustic fishing bungalows to five-star resorts in the Keys.
After driving or flying to Miami you begin the nice 113-mile drive on US 1 all the way to Key West, passing many small areas of interest along the way. Each area has its unique draw for those that are craving that beautiful blue ocean and all it has to offer.
The first main area you reach after traveling through Homestead is Key Largo. The main attraction in Key Largo- other than the restaurants – is the John Pennecamp State Park. Visitors love the glass bottom boat tours, mangrove trails, kayaking, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and snorkeling here. Then there is also the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary to visit. Many birds stop in the Keys for their yearly migration.
The next main area to stop along the way is Islamorada. Several restaurants boast having the best Key Lime pie here! It is here that you can see the Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State site. You’ll be able to see the layers of coral that form the solid ground of the exposed reef islands. Anne’s beach is a favorite area to swim here.
The next area you will be approaching, Marathon, marks the middle of the Keys. Marathon is best known for its excellent fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. One the favorite beaches, and one of the only white sandy beaches in the Keys, is Sombrero Beach. Another attraction for Sea Turtle lovers is the Sea Turtle Hospital. It is a wonderful place for visitors to see the rehabilitation of sea turtles that have been harmed by boat propellers, diseases, predators, and fishing nets.
Just as you leave Marathon you drive over the famous seven-mile bridge, and YES, it really IS seven miles long! After crossing this bridge, you will approach Big Pine Key. The name is very appropriate because it has many trees and is quite like a forest. Many full-time residents live there, and it is not as touristy as other areas in the Keys. It is home to many tiny Key Deer. This area is protected by the National Key Deer Refuge. Just adjacent to Big Pine is No Name Key….and yes, it really is the name of the island! Also, near this area you can find the Bahia Honda State Park, which is supposedly the nicest of all the beaches in the Keys. There are many nature trails and a science center there.
As you keep driving south you finally arrive at the southernmost city of the United States, Key West. The colorful history of the four by two-mile island is filled with stories of poverty, prosperity, death and rebirth. Many ships ran aground here in shallow waters. In fact, many houses are made of salvaged ship boards and coral rock. There is a party atmosphere most of the time in Key West, especially around Duval Street. Key West has many museums and fun places to visit. This was home to several famous writers, including Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, and Tennessee Williams. The sunsets are to die for in Key West and attract many visitors year-round.
The Classy Travel Blog is a great way to educate yourself; Not only with travel tips and tricks, but also with insight on all of the Classy Destinations around the world.