Stopping at Alabama Jack’s, a fish shack and dive bar on a remote road between Homestead and Key Largo, has been the classic way to start a Keys trip for decades. We revisited the open-air waterfront spot recently, and we’re happy to say: It’s as shabby and atmospheric as ever.
Destinations that capture that “only in Florida” flavor.
No Name Pub has been around since the 1930s, and it looks like it. It offers tasty food in a historic building, but what makes this the king of Funky Florida is the decor: $90,000 (some say) stapled to the walls and ceiling.
The annual Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim on July 4 is a non-competititve swim across the 1.5-mile wide Peace River. Some kayak, some swim, some just float. It’s been a local tradition for 30 years.
Florida’s wackiness goes back to its first settlers, and Koreshan State Historic Site celebrates one of our earliest eccentrics. Thanks to this cult leader, though, a lovely wooded site on the Estero River was preserved through the years for us to enjoy.
The beach town of Marco Island is all manicured and modern, but here are four adventures into the wild and authentic Florida that are within a quick drive. You can wade across a lagoon to a wild beach or have lunch in a funky fishing town or stroll on a boardwalk into a beautiful old growth cypress swamp.
HOMESTEAD — Robert Is Here, just outside Everglades National Park, is a must-stop for my family on the basis of its Key Lime milkshakes alone. But we also love the menangerie out back, the exotic tropical fruits there for the tasting and the overall ambiance.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has reopened with its iconic mermaid show and water park. The gorgeous spring-fed river is also open for kayak and SUP rentals, although the route from the park has been shortened.
Key West has a lot of off-beat charms, but one of my favorites has always been the chickens that you hear crowing and see strutting everywhere. But don’t feed them! It’s now against the law. Learn about the fascinating feral fowl that are part of Key West’s funky charm.
A Virginia Key kayak outing offers an amazing combo – views of the Miami skyline rising out of Biscayne Bay in one direction, mangrove lagoons with shore birds in the other. An extra treat: It’s the best way to see the old Miami Marine Stadium.
Boyett’s Citrus is a throwback to the Florida before Disney. It’s a mom-and-pop business, with mini-golf, an animal park. animated dinosaurs — and more. There’s no theme except “this might be fun.”