Road Trip, Florida Keys
Favorite thing: fly into miami then traval down to the keys, you can take the florida turnpike down to florida city then at little further to Homestead, we normally stop here for a couple of days , in the fairway motell,, from here you can either travel up to the everglades for the day or start ot make your way down highway 1,
The first thing most people want to do when they go to the keys is to head straight for Key West. As fun as Key West is, I think that the natural beauty of the Keys is more evident on some of the smaller keys to the north. That being said, Key West definately has the most activity and the most crowds.
Fondest memory: Since this is a page about Key West, watching the sunset at Mallory Square with the back drop of crowds of people and street performers, is an experience that everyone should have at least once. I have to be true to myself, my real Fondest Memory is Fishing with Bryan on the Iowa Fortune.
Key West is the end of the line for the Florida Keys. It is about 150 miles from Miami and worlds apart in every other sense. This tiny little town offers many opportunities for fishing, boating and other water sports. Key West also has a fairly lively nightlife scene and is home to the Halloween weekend Fantasy Fest, the Keys' version of Mardi Gras.
For more information about things to do, see my Key West page.
After passing Marathon and crossing the Seven Mile Bridge, you'll find yourself in Big Pine Key. This is the largest of the lower keys and the place to find some of the best beaches and for spotting the elusive and endangered key deer.
Big Pine Key is about 30 miles from Key West. Most people bypass the area in favor of the more popular end destination, still in awe of the Seven Mile Bridge and dreaming about burgers and frozen drinks at Sloppy Joe's. But Big Pine Key is a great place to stop for several reasons.
Bahia Honda State Park is considered by many to have the best beaches in the Florida Keys. Those who venture further to Key West in search of white sand will miss out on the real deal. Big Pine Key is also much less developed than its lower key neighbor 30 miles south. The forested areas have been preserved and set aside as a refuge for key deer.
Another thing to consider is that you're likely to find better hotel deals in this area and will save a bit of cash by staying here (or camping in the park) as opposed to heading to crowded Key West, where the sought after destination's hotel prices can really soar, especially during spring break and the holidays.
Tiny little Duck Key is a place most people pass by on the way to the lower Keys, figuring that they have hit all the major Keys and now seek to cross the seven mile bridge. But, in the Keys, the most overlooked areas are the ones most worthy of a stop.
Duck Key is located between Islamorada and Marathon. The island got its name from its unusual shape, which, from the air, resembles a duck. This key is actually a separate island comprised of 5 separate sub-islands and separated from the Overseas Highway by a side road.
This island/key is home to one of the finest resorts in the Keys. The Hawk's Cay Resort is as pricey as Islamorada's Cheeca Lodge, but less well known. The resort has great accommodations, as well as a wide variety of water based activities.
The island has some of the most exclusive residences in the Keys as well. Even if you don't stay at Hawk's Cay, its worth a drive over to view the impressive architecture and see how the wealthy Keys' residents live.
Marathon is a somewhat popular destination in the Florida Keys. It is about 50 miles north of Key West and just north of the famous seven mile bridge. Marathon offers all of the fishing and water sports opportunities of the other Keys, in addition to glass bottom boat rides, nature trails and other charter boat excursions. Marathon also contains one of the two airports found in the Keys (the other is in Key West).
I haven't spent much time here, mostly passing though on trips to Key West or to head over the seven mile bridge. But its a nice enough area, and less well known and therefore less crowded than Islamorada.
Favorite thing: Islamorada has always been my favorite party destination in the Keys. Its about an hour and a half from Miami, making it a closer destination than Key West, and it has everything the Keys have to offer. The Holiday Isle Resort offers boat trips, fishing trips, jet skis and, at the end of the day, the best rum runners you'll find anywhere.
Key Largo is the first key you'll reach when heading over from the mainland. The keys are connected to South Florida by the Overseas Highway- a two lane road which stretches from Key Largo to Key West.
Key Largo is a good place to visit when you are short on time. There are several great attractions in the area as well. The John Pennykamp State Park is one of the most popular places to visit and gives you a great opportunity to explore the coral reefs and landscape of this area. Here you will find glass bottom boat trips as well as snorkeling and diving. From here, its about 25 miles to Islamorada, home of the Holiday Isle Resort and the Tiki Bar.
Between Marathon and Little Duck Key.
The first bridge, initially devoted to a railway was partly destroyed by an hurricane. Now it is used by pedestrians and cycle drivers.
Fondest memory: 7 Miles for a bridge which is at some meters from the ocean : amazing !