The Overseas Highway is a 113-mile (181.9 km) highway carrying U.S. Route 1 (US 1) through the Florida Keys to Key West.
A Fun and Inexpensive Vacation for the Entire Family!
The Florida Keys are a perfect place for a short trip (think 3-5 days) so for lucky Americans it would make a great weekend. If planned correctly can make for a very affordable family vacation.
The Overseas Highway, Route 1, leads you from Miami south through the Florida Keys.
The route is 113-miles long and takes you from beautiful savanna lands to the tropical islands with the largest area of coral reefs in the United States.
Since the road is connecting a chain of islands, you will pass over countless bridges that have you floating above the water, and you’ll feel like a boat coasting through, including one bridge that is nearly seven miles long.
You can drive to the southernmost point in the USA near Key West, which sits closer to Cuba than to Miami,
and you can visit the Ernest Hemingway Museum and the descendants of his six-toed cats. But even beyond the overseas highway, there is still plenty to see and do on a Florida road trip.
The first tropical paradise you will encounter when leaving Miami is Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay is a Florida town on a barrier island across the Rickenbacker Causeway from Miami. It lies between 2 large parks—Crandon Park and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park—each with long, sheltered beaches, mangroves and tropical forest inhabited by birdlife, butterflies and loggerhead turtles.
Established in 1963, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the first undersea park in the United States. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and the adjacent Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, cover approximately 178 nautical square miles of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps.
The park extends 3 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and is approximately 25 miles in length. These areas were established to protect and preserve a portion of the only living coral reef in the continental United States. The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 14, 1972.
The park named for the late John D. Pennekamp, a Miami newspaper editor, whose efforts contributed to the establishments of Everglades National Park and the preservation of what would become John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
The park contains a wide variety of tropical vegetation, shore birds and marine life. While the mangrove swamps and tropical hammocks offer visitors a unique and interesting experience, it is the coral formations and associated marine life that most park visitors come to enjoy. The coral reef at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park are among the most beautiful and diverse of all living communities.
The island of Plantation Key is located just 20 miles south of Key Largo, along the stretch of US Highway 1 that winds through the Florida Keys.
According to the 2000 census, the population of this small tropical island doesn’t exceed 3,500. The majority of the accommodations on Plantation Key are through waterfront vacation rentals. Additional accommodations can be found on Islamorada, about 7 miles away.
In fact a number of the main activities and attractions are clustered closely enough together to form an easy walking distance.
Plantation may be one of the smaller Key islands, however there is still plenty to see and do. Visitors and tourists interested in the treasures found among sunken vessels off the coast of Florida will not want to miss a trip to see the McKee castle.
The landmark site was built in the late Forties, in honor of Art McKee, Jr; the Navy diver who discovered the remains of a Spanish Fleet, lost in 1733. After his discovery he brought up numerous treasures including silver coins and bars as well as cannons and many other invaluable items. Mr. McKee is considered by many to be “the father of modern treasure diving” and today the castle can be seen at Treasure Village.
Islamorada is a village encompassing 6 of the Florida Keys, known for their coral reefs. The Theater of the Sea features dolphin encounters. Exhibits at the History of Diving Museum include a 16th-century treasure chest.
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park is a former quarry. Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park has tropical forest. Indian Key Historic State Park is a tiny island with 1800s ruins.
Welcome to Islamorada!
Situated between the saltwater wilderness of Everglades National Park and the deep blue waters of the Florida Strait is Islamorada, made up of six islands: Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key and the offshore islands of Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key.
Perhaps the world’s highest density of professional offshore charter boats with tournament-grade captains can be found in Islamorada, a village of islands where backcountry sport fishing and saltwater fly fishing were pioneered.
Highly skilled recreational fishing guides ply their trade here, in the style of legendary fishing figures Ted Williams, Jimmy Albright and Cecil Keith.
Islamorada may be the only place on Earth where it is possible to catch a sailfish offshore and pursue bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook and redfish in just inches of water in the backcountry, all in the same day.
While in Islamorada, or driving through make it a point to get a bite to eat at Robbies’
Historically a favorite tourist spot for the rich and well-to-do, Long Key now serves as a tranquil haven for bird-watching, swimming, kayaking or relaxing on the shoreline as you gaze across the Atlantic Ocean.
In the early 20th century, Henry Flagler’s Long Key Fishing Camp was a popular luxury destination along his railroad to Key West.
Celebrities and many of the world’s best-known salt water anglers of the time fished here, including U.S. presidents and author Zane Grey. The entire facility was destroyed by the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and never reopened.
Long Key sustained significant damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017. Efforts still continue to restore the 60 ocean-front campsites.
The full-facility campsites were known for their views overlooking the aqua blue waters of the Florida Keys. Please contact the park for the most up-to-date information regarding restoration efforts.
THINGS TO DO IN LONG KEY
HOTELS AND CONDOS IN LONG KEY
VACATION RENTALS IN LONG KEY
EXTREME ACTIVITIES IN LONG KEY
FIND GREAT CHEAP FLIGHTS TO MIAMI, FLORIDA
Enjoy The Beautiful Florida Keys!
Next Destination – The GRASSY KEY
Local lore has it that this sleepy little key was named not for its vegetation—mostly native trees and shrubs—but for an early settler by the name of Grassy.
A few families operating small fishing camps and roadside motels primarily inhabit the key.
There’s no marked definition between it and Marathon, so it feels sort of like a suburb of its much larger neighbor to the south.
Grassy Key’s sights tend toward the natural, including a worthwhile dolphin attraction and a small state park.