The scenic Overseas Highway is the spine of the Florida Keys, the lifeblood of a 113-mile chain of islands to which 3 million visitors flock every year.
Our Florida Keys Mile Markers Guide is your travel companion, noting historical points of interest, restaurants, unique lodging, campgrounds, dive shops, parks and beaches, boat ramps, kayak launches and things to do in the Florida Keys.
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The Overseas Highway
The Overseas Highway was built on the rail bed of Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad, which was completed in 1912. The railroad served the Keys until 1935 when it was partially destroyed by a Category 5 hurricane. The state of Florida purchased the right-of-way and began construction of the highway, completing the project in 1938, using the narrow-gauge railroad trestles as a roadbed. Those bridges were replaced with modern spans in the 1980s.
MM 127 — You are leaving Florida City, Gateway to the Keys, for a 20-mile trek across marshes, lagoons and ponds to Key Largo. Take your time. This wilderness may appear stark, but it’s fascinating. Perhaps you’ll see an American crocodile. They flourish in this environment.
MM 126.5 — Card Sound Road
Branches off U.S. 1 to North Key Largo across the Card Sound Bridge (toll). Merges back to U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 106.
- Alabama Jack’s, a funky outdoor restaurant and dockside bar, just before the Card Sound Bridge.
- Ocean Reef Club (Private) and the Key Largo Anglers Club (Private)
- Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge
- Crocodile Lake Community Butterfly Garden
- Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
MM 112.5 — Monroe County Line, and where checkpoints are set up during the pandemic and hurricane evacuations.
MM 110.8 — KAYAK — Little Blackwater Sound Boat Ramp, bayside.
MM 108 — Jewfish Creek Bridge crosses the Intracoastal Waterway, the inside passage for boaters going to the Florida Keys from Biscayne Bay.
MM 107.5 — Lake Surprise. Named after an unexpected encounter by workers building Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway. The lake had not appeared on surveys, and it presented a major obstacle for the project. When the crews attempted to build a causeway, the fill material was swallowed by the lake. –– FloridaMemory.com
Key Largo — MM 107
“Dive Capitol of the World”
MM 106 — The Buzzard’s Roost, Oceanside. Dockside bar and waterfront restaurant, just off U.S. 1 at the Garden Cove Marina, 21 Garden Cove Drive, Key Largo. (Big sign on U.S. 1).
MM 106 — DIVE — Silent World Dive Center, Garden Cove Marina, 51 Garden Cove Dr.
MM 106.0 — Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, bayside. Easy-to-reach rest rooms, brochures, maps and discount coupons.
MM 106 – Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park
Turn sharp left at Mile Marker 106 and go north a half-mile. Park features one of the largest tracts of West Indian tropical hardwood hammock in the U.S. and is home to 84 protected species of plants and animals, including wild cotton, mahogany mistletoe, and the American crocodile. Most of the park’s six miles of trails are accessible to hikers and bicycles, including a wheel-chair accessible self-guided nature trail. Permits are required in the backcountry. Day use: $2.50 per person. Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park, County Road 905, Key Largo FL 33037. Phone: 305-676-3777.
MM 105.6— Railroad depot and Key Largo town center from 1910 to 1940. The depot was in the highway median. The community was bayside.
MM 105.3 — Winn Dixie Supermarket.
MM 104.5 — KAYAK— Florida Bay Outfitters. Small fee to launch. The friendly folks here will give you advice on kayak routes and rent kayaks, paddle boards.
MM 104.5 — Rowell’s Waterfront Park Kayak
This park, with a swimming hole, kayak launch, picnic tables and restrooms is a great stop on the Overseas Highway. Chickee-hut picnic shelters are planned. Read more on Rowell’s Waterfront Park.
MM 104.3 (Bayside). Amy Slate’s Amoray Dive Resort.
MM 104.2 (Bayside). Keys Palms RV Resort.
MM 104.1 — Bayside. The Caribbean Club in Key Largo. Its exterior was used in the classic Humphrey Bogart film “Key Largo,” which inspired the community to change its name. This dive bar is plastered with movie memorabilia. Read More about tracking Humphrey Bogart in Key Largo.
MM 104 — Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill, Bayside. Sports bar, tiki bar, restaurant. Owned by the former football coach and Fox NFL commentator, who lives down the road in Tavernier.
MM 104 — Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort.
MM 103.8 — DIVE — Pirates Cove Watersports. Diving, snorkeling paddleboards, kayaks.
MM 103.6 — DIVE — Quiescence Diving Services
MM 103.5 — The 1920s Key Largo Rock Castle, end of Oceana Drive, ocean side.
MM 103.5 — RV. King’s Kamp RV Park, Oceanside. Private campground with many waterfront sites. Packed in winter, but OK the rest of the year. Shaded tent sites along north fence.
MM 103.4 — Marvin Adams Waterway Bridge (The Cut), a canal that connects Atlantic to Florida Bay
MM 102.5 — Lazy Lobster — Popular Keys restaurant directly across from the entrance to John Pennekamp State Park.
MM 102.5 — Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Life on Key Largo revolves around scuba diving and snorkeling on the coral reefs in this 21 mile-long underwater paradise reaching three miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The park has two beaches, a bustling marina with glass-bottom tour boats, dive/snorkel boats, boat ramp, kayak trails, and a campground. Campsites are $36 per night. Day-use admission is $8 per vehicle (plus 50 cents per person), and the boat ramp costs $10. Obtain backcountry bicycling permits for Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock State Park at the ranger station. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Mile Marker 102.5 Overseas Highway, Key Largo FL 33037. Phone: 305-676-3777. Campground reservations: Book online or call 800-326-3521.
MM 102 — Need a free place to stop for a picnic? Behind the Key Largo government center (bayside) visit Peace Park with covered picnic tables and access to restrooms. Moored boats come and go via dinghy or kayak.
MM 101.7 — Largo Resort.
MM 101.5 — RV — Key Largo Kampground and Marina, at the end of Sampson Road.
MM 101.5 – – RV – Calusa Campground and Marina, bayside at 325 Calusa St.
MM 101.4 — Tradewinds Plaza. Oceanside and partially hidden by a wall of trees. Includes a Publix Supermarket.
MM 101.3 — Friendship Park, Oceanside. Park with a playground, picnic tables, ball field, basketball courts. This was once the center of the 1880s community of Newport.
MM 100.8 — DIVE — Rainbow Reef Dive Center
MM 100.6 — DIVE — Key Largo Dive Center.
MM 100.6 — Tower of Pizza Key Largo.
MM 100.5 — Key Largo Chocolates. Key Lime Pie on a stick! Home-made chocolate treats.
MM 100.2 — Key Largo Conch House.
MM 100.0 — Marina Del Mar Resort and Marina.
MM 99.7 — The African Queen
The African Queen is the original vessel from director John Huston’s classic 1951 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. The 100-year-old steamboat is moored next to the Holiday Inn Oceanside. You can take a 90-minute cruise or a two-hour dinner trip. Information and reservations: 305-451-8080.
MM 99.7 — Holiday Inn Key Largo. Book your excursion on the African Queen or the Key Largo Princess glass-bottom boat in the hotel’s gift shop. Check out the waterfall and tiki bar at the hotel swimming pool.
MM 99.6. Laguna Avenue / Caribbean Drive
- DIVE — Sea Dwellers Dive Center, 105 Laguna Ave.
- Skippers Dockside, Laguna Ave. to 528 Caribbean Drive. Large dockside tiki bar and outdoor dining area. Read more in our best tiki bar guide. You may see the African Queen steam past.
- Sharkey’s Pub and Galley, 522 Caribbean Drive. Multi-level outdoor decks overlooking a busy canal. Worth finding.
Read More: Key Largo Visitors Guide
MM 99.5 — DIVE — Divers Direct. Mega-store for divers, snorkelers, and other water sports. In this shopping plaza, you will also find a Thai restaurant, Office Depot, Walgreens, and Bank of America
MM 99.4 — Port Largo
Key Largo Traffic Light before the highway spilts
East at the light onto Atlantic, then an immediate right onto Homestead, then left on Ocean Bay Drive to seek out these hidden treasures:
- American Legion, 2 Seagate Blvd. Key Largo. Large, shady outdoor seating with an entertainment stage. Drinks and food. This place rocks on weekends starting Thursday night. Open to the public. Profits benefit veterans’ causes. Phone: 305-451-0307 | TripAdvisor reviews
- Pilot House Marina and Restaurant, 13 Seagate Blvd, Key Largo. Unique glass bottom bar over water, best seen at night. Across the boat basin from Key Largo Fisheries.
- Key Largo Fisheries, 1313 Ocean Bay Drive. Old Florida wholesale and retail fish market with piles of fresh stone crabs and Florida lobster (in season), local shrimp and fresh-caught snapper, mahi-mahi, and more. Check out display cases for conch salad, smoked fish dip, lobster chowder, and bisque. Best seafood market in the Keys. | TripAdvisor reviews
MM 99.3 — Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen, bayside (southbound lanes). Classic Keys roadside eatery open for breakfast and lunch only. Check out their fish and grits!
MM 99.0 — Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen II. An extension of the iconic original in the median, accessible from both southbound and northbound lanes. Open for lunch and dinner only.
MM 98.3 — Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). Nature center educating the public to learn more about ocean conservation. REEF Headquarters building is a classic conch-style house, recognized as the oldest building in the upper Florida Keys still in its original location.
MM 98.0 — Landings of Largo, Bayside; Moose Lodge, Oceanside; Everglades Park Ranger Station, Bayside. 1st Baptist Church, Oceanside; Rock Harbor Club, Bayside.
MM 98.0 — Shell World. In the center median.
MM 97.8 — Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Gardens, cottages set amidst a botanic garden on Florida Bay.
MM 95 to 100 — The early community of Rock Harbor. A small railroad depot once anchored the community. The name of the post office was Rock Harbor until the 1948 when Humphrey Bogart-Lauren Bacall film Key Largo inspired residents to cash in on that success. In 1952, the post office was renamed Key Largo.
MM 97.0 — Playa Largo Resort.
MM 95.8 — Harriette’s Diner. Popular eatery for locals. Home cookin’.
MM 95.4 — The Drift Key Largo — Small bayfront lodging, an updated version of a classic Keys-style motel. Nearby boat ramp at Mike Forster Memorial Park.
MM 95.3 — KAYAK — Mike Forster Memorial Park, Bayside. Immediately past the Drift Motel, turn right from U.S. 1 onto Sunset Road to this 3-acre pocket park with boat ramp at 20 Sunset Road. No facilities, limited parking, but a great launch site for kayaks.
MM 94.5 — Snapper’s Restaurant. Just off U.S. 1 at 139 Seaside Avenue. Popular waterfront restaurant with dockage. (Peckerheads not allowed).
Tavernier — MM 94
“In early writings, the harbor between Tavernier Key and Key Largo is mentioned as a rendezvous area for Bahamian wreckers, offering a haven from Atlantic gales and a good view of the Upper Keys reefs. In the early 1820s, it is believed slaves were gathered on Key Tavernier to be smuggled into the Bahamas by wreckers, but this has never been documented. It was used, however, as a relay point for escaped slaves en route to the Bahamas.” — keyshistory.org
MM 93.6 — Florida Keys Wild Bird Center
Boardwalk through coastal mangroves at volunteer-run bird rehab facility with an informal backyard feel. The center is free, donations welcome. Open sunrise to sunset. Great stop for kids.
Read More: Wild Bird Center is worth a quick stop
92.6 — Kayak — Harry Harris Beach and Park oceanside. Pet-friendly park with groomed beach, picnic tables, picnic shelters, boat ramp, ball fields and a playground. Free admission weekdays. Monroe County residents free anytime. Non-residents: $8/person on Saturday, Sunday; $15 on holidays and lobster mini-season. Boat ramp fee for boats with trailers, $40. Incidentally, the early community of “Planter” was here.
Read More: Our 15 favorite beaches in the Florida Keys
92.3 — Italian Food Company Express, Bayside. Restaurant and Italian food market serving excellent “Roma” style pizza, panini, salads and pasta dishes. Fresh Italian bread-to-go made in-house. Open for lunch and dinner, 11 am-9 pm, Mon-Sat. Recently opened (2023).
92.2 — Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory, bayside.
92.0 — KAYAK — Bottle Key Launch, Bayside. Tiny public kayak launch at the end of Jo-Jean Way. No parking at the launch. Limited residential street parking nearby.
92.0 — Ace Hardware. We like Ace for basic RV and camping gear and beach supplies.
91.9 — Old Tavernier Post office; Old Settlers Park, oceanside; historic Tavernier Hotel, oceanside. This was the center of the early community of Tavernier.
91.7 — Mangrove Marina Houseboat Rentals for unique overnight lodging, 200 Florida Ave., Tavernier. Bayside.
91.5 — Hospital — Baptist Health Mariner’s Hospital, Bayside.
91.2 — Tavernier Town Shopping Center. Winn-Dixie Supermarket. Multiple eateries, movie theater, liquor store, U.S. Post Office.
90.8 — Tavernier Creek Bridge; Tavernier Creek Marina, Plantation Marina. Bayside.
Plantation Key — MM 90.7
Agricultural community (coconuts and pineapples) inhabited by Bahamian immigrants until Henry Flagler’s railroad plowed through in the early 20th Century. During Prohibition, the island was dominated by bootleggers because of its proximity to the Bahamas.
90.6 — Creekside Inn, 90611 Old Highway, Tavernier. Waterfront motel rooms with dockage. Rates vary with the season. Clean rooms, courteous staff. Breakfast and lunch served dockside on premises. Walk along the dock to the Kayak and SUP launch and rentals by Paddle! in Casa Mar Village, which also includes a seafood market and Captain Slate’s Scuba Adventures.
90.5 — Angler Eddy’s Live Bait & Tackle, 90515 Old Highway.
90.4 — Florida Keys Dive Center
90.1 — Captain Craig’s Restaurant. Seafood.
90.1 — Plantation Key Colony community entrance, Bayside. Large Indian mound in the center of the subdivision.
88.0 — M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom, oceanside. Burger raves, but what’s all this hullaballoo about beer milkshakes? Readers Digest says M.E.A.T has the best hamburgers in the state.
87.7 — Twisted Shrimp. As you might expect, shrimp dishes are the specialty. We like the menu but were disappointed with our overcooked coconut shrimp basket and undercooked breaded fried shrimp basket. More opinions in TripAdvisor Reviews.
MM 87 — Founders Park
Significant public park with a beach, picnic tables, Olympic size pool, amphitheater, marina, boat ramps, baseball fields, tennis complex, pickleball, basketball court, fitness and walking trails, outdoor fitness park, fishing jetty, golf driving range, skate park, kayak rentals, beach, splash playground. Non-resident entry fee: Adults $8; Youth (3-17)/Senior $5.
- Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center
- Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina
- Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
MM 86.7 — Rain Barrel Artisan’s Village
Rain Barrel Artisan’s Village. It’s fun to browse the arts and crafts here. And everybody has to get their picture taken with Betsy, the giant lobster out front. This anatomically correct Florida lobster is 30 feet high and 40 feet long and was created by Marathon artist Richard Blaze three decades ago.
85.5 — Snake Creek Bridge; Coast Guard Station, gulfside. Enter Windley Key.
Islamorada — MM 85.3
“Sportfishing Capital of the World”
85.3 — Hog Heaven Bar & Grill. A popular sports bar and seafood eatery. You can’t miss the sign. The restaurant is tucked behind a building on the oceanside. A frequent stop for bikers and tourists.
84.9 — Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological Site
If you want to understand the Keys’ geological history, stop here to learn about the fossilized coral reef that underlies all of the Florida Keys. The park is an old quarry for rock used in building Flagler’s Overseas Railroad in the early 1900s. Visitors walk along 8-foot-high quarry walls to see cross sections of the beautiful ancient coral. Self-guided trail through the native vegetation identifies dozens of Florida keys trees and bushes and how they have been used. The park has picnic tables. Windley Key State Fossil Reef Geological Site, 84900 Overseas Highway, Islamorada FL 33036. Phone: 305-664-2540
84.3 — The center of the community of Quarry that thrived during the construction of the railroad.
84.2 — Theater of the Sea, established in 1946, is the second oldest marine mammal attraction in the world. Its saltwater lagoon was originally a quarry for Flagler’s Overseas Railway. Live dolphin shows, exhibits, swimming, and various ways to interact with dolphins, sea lions, or rays.
84.2 — Postcard Inn Beach Resort and Marina (formerly Holiday Isle). Home of the Holiday Isle charter fishing fleet and once the site of the iconic Holiday Isle Tiki Bar, which was destroyed in Hurricane Irma in 2017. The Tiki Bar was replaced by a patio bar deeper on the property with a water view. | Hotels.com
84 — Whale Harbor Bridge spans a navigable waterway connecting the ocean to Florida Bay. Oceanside, a long sandbar emerges at low tide, a magnet for recreational boaters and swimmers. If you’re in a boat, stay clear of protected sea grasses south of the inlet or face stiff fines.
84 — KAYAK and KITEboarding. The bridge causeway is a popular launch for kayaks, paddleboards and kite-boarders.
MM 83.5 — Whale Harbor: Sportfishing Marina and Restaurants
- Wahoo’s Tiki Bar. Bar and restaurant with second-floor views of Whale Harbor. They’ll prepare your own catch after you bring it ashore from the nearby charter fleet.
- Whale Harbor Marina. Fishing charter fleet; jet ski and paddle board rentals.
- Shuck ‘n’ Dive. Waterfront outdoor cafe serving Cajun cuisine. A spinoff of the Fort Lauderdale restaurant of the same name.
- Whale Harbor Seafood Buffet. This popular restaurant has been rebuilt and once again serving its “World Famous Seafood Buffet,” and I’m glad to see it back. The huge selection of seafood dishes will make your mouth water, and it’s very good. All you can eat for $34.95 (adults) and $17.95 for children. Click here for the menu.
- The Sandbar at Whale Harbor. Open-air rooftop lounge with a fabulous view of Whale Harbor and the offshore sandbar, a popular swimming spot for boaters.
83.0 — Ziggie and Mad Dog’s. (Warning: Audio blasts when you click on the link.)
83.0 — History of Diving Museum. Museum collects, preserves, displays, and interprets artifacts, antiques, books, documents, photographs, and oral history relative to the History of Diving.
82.2 — Sunset Inn Motel.
82.2. — Islamorada Beer Company, a craft brewery and tap room adjacent to Islamorada Distilling, which makes rums, gin and vodka, sure to become a popular Keys souvenir. (Included in our brewery tour of the Keys.)
82.1 — Islander Resort. Restored and upgraded resort with 114 rooms and all-new cottage-style units and screened-in lanais.
82.1 — Key Lantern Blue Fin Inn.
82.1 — Florida Keys History & Discovery Center, a two-story museum that tells the stories of people and events in the Keys. Open Thursday to Sunday. Good for people who want to learn more about the fascinating history of the Keys.
82 — Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar. Popular sunset tiki bar destination. Bayside.
81.8 — The Moorings. Beach Road, oceanside. Luxury cabins on a beautiful, palm-dotted beach. Pricey but gorgeous. Where Netflix filmed scenes for “Bloodlines.”
81.8 — Cheeca Lodge and Spa. Upscale lodging with private beach, newly renovated after Hurricane Irma.
MM 81.5 — Morada Way Arts & Cultural District
- Florida Keys Brewing Company Local craft brewery with a lovely garden and décor created by making mosaics out of thousands of beer bottle caps. The beer’s good, too!
- Morada Bay Beach Cafe. Bayside waterfront cafe and bar.
- Islamorada Branch Library, 81830 Overseas Highway, Islamorada.
- Hurricane Memorial. The Hurricane Monument tells the story of the devastating 1935 hurricane. This is also a good place to park and explore this historic community, which is developing into the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District. Galleries, restaurants, and art walks (monthly on the third Thursday) with live music.
- Pasta Pantaleo Signature Gallery, 81599 Old Highway.
- Redbone Gallery, 200 Morada Way.
- Elena Madden Studio Gallery, 81641 Old Highway.
- Larabelle Boutique, 81641 Old Highway, Suite B
81.57 — Islamorada Moose Lodge
81.5 — Worldwide Sportsman is the temple of saltwater fishing, outdoor gear, boating accessories, and clothing. Fishing charters in the marina. On display in the middle of the sales floor is a replica of Ernest Hemingway’s wooden fishing vessel, the Pilar. A regular stop for me on every Keys visit.
81.5 Islamorada Fish Company, popular seafood market, restaurant and sunset tiki bar, now part of Worldwide Sportsman. The market has its own fishing fleet, offering fresh fish daily. Outdoor waterfront dining.
81.0 — Kon Tiki Resort. Bay side
80.0 — Roadside park, Bayside
80.0 — Amara Cay Resort.
79.8 — Bud and Mary’s Marina, oceanside. Drift fishing party boats, deep-sea and back-country charters.
79.1 — Tea Table Channel Bridge
78.5 — KAYAK. Indian Key Bridge.
MM 78.5 — Indian Key Causeway
The Indian Key Causeway offers access to swimming, a boat ramp, multiple Kayak and SUP launches, fishing, and three unusual state parks with fascinating histories.
- Lignumvitae Key Botanical Site, bayside, virgin tropical hardwood forest once typical in the Keys, anchored by a 1919 home with a windmill for electricity and a cistern for water, which serves as the visitor center. Accessible only by boat.
- Indian Key Archaeological Site, oceanside, the first county seat of Dade County (1836) and home to salvagers, now a ghost town with overgrown ruins and paths that follow the grid of early streets. Accessible only by boat.
- San Pedro Underwater State Park, oceanside, underwater preserve features the remains of a submerged shipwreck, the San Pedro, part of a Spanish fleet that ran aground in a 1733 hurricane.
- Alligator Reef Lighthouse, oceanside. Named after a Key West-based Navy vessel that shipwrecked here in 1821.
77.9 —KAYAK — Lignumvitae Bridge.
MM 77.5 — Robbie’s Marina — Feed the Tarpon
Rent kayaks at the Kayak Shack for kayak trip to Indian Key. Fishing charters available. There’s a good restaurant overlooking the water, The Hungry Tarpon. We also love the key-lime-pie ice cream at a kiosk here Charli’s Shave Ice at Robbies.
Read more: Feed the tarpon at Robbie’s Marina.
MM 75.0 — Sea Oats Beach. Not much beach left after Hurricane Irma, but turtle nests are booming.
73.5 — Habanos Restaurant at Caloosa Cove. Cuban-influenced menu, casual dining with ocean views and moderate prices. Locals eat here with good reason. The food was very good when we visited.
73.5 — Caloosa Cove Resort and Marina. TrueValue Hardware store, fishing charters, restaurant, hotel.
73.6 — Boy Scouts Sea Base, bayside — Camp 3 for WW-I veterans. Many perished in the 1935 hurricane.
MM 73.4 — Anne’s Beach
A favorite stop for wading along the beach and picnicking on the boardwalk at the southern end of Lower Matecumbe Key. The boardwalk has been replaced since Hurricane Irma tore up the Keys in 2017. Free access. The water is very shallow here and waders are often seen venturing hundreds of yards out.
Read more: Anne’s Beach worth a stop
73.0 — Channel 2 Bridge. Offshore on the bayside are the remains of eight concrete bridge pilings built by WW I veterans. There are several parking spaces so walk out on the old bridge, now a fishing pier and biking/walking trail.
71.8 — Craig Key. Originally named Camp Panama, and was not a natural island, but a wide spot on the Overseas Highway. Former president Herbert Hoover sailed his yacht out of Craig at times in the 1930s. The island’s greatest claim to fame, however, is being the landfall site of the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane.
71.0 — Channel 5 Bridge. Considered by locals to offer the best bridge fishing in the Keys. Mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, grouper, amberjack, tarpon are abundant.
The Middle Keys — MM 70
The Middle Keys encompass 13 islands in the Florida Keys, from Long Key to the Seven Mile Bridge, including Marathon, and boasting some of the best deep-sea, reef, and flats fishing in the Keys.
Read this article: Things to do in Marathon
70.0 — RV — Fiesta Key RV Resort. Very nice RV park with waterfront cottages and guest rooms, beach bar, boat launch and dockage. Swimming pool. General store on premises.
MM 67.5 — Long Key State Park
Once-popular oceanfront campground was wiped out by Hurricane Irma, and restoration efforts were stymied by subsequent storms. The day-use area remains popular for picnics, swimming, kayaking, and fishing. The park offers limited primitive camping (first come, first served) at three sites on back-country trails. As of December 2023, there were no plans to restore the RV campground, according to rangers.
66.5 —KAYAK Long Key. Decent pullover on the bay side, outside of Long Key State Park. Drop your kayak over a low sea wall. Leeward side of the island.
65.8 — Henry Flagler’s Long Key Fishing Camp occupied the southwest end of Long Key. In the early part of the 20th Century, this famed recreation outpost was visited by Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and author/adventurer Zane Grey, who spent 14 winter seasons here fishing and writing. The fishing camp no longer exists, replaced by residential housing.
65.0 — Long Key Bridge, the second-longest bridge (3 miles) of Flagler’s railroad. The old bridge parallels the new one and has been resurfaced for bicyclists, hikers and anglers. Considered one of the best fishing bridges in the Keys. It’s also a fun bridge to bike across.
Read this article: Bicycling the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
62.2 — Walker’s Island (Little Conch Key)
61.2 — Tom’s Harbor Cut Bridge
61.1 — Hawk’s Cay Resort, Duck Key, luxury resort oceanside.
60.6 —KAYAK Tom’s Harbor Channel Bridge. Oceanside launch and pullover. Good fishing!
59.9 — Marathon city limits
59.3 — RV — Jolly Roger Travel Park. Bayside.
59 — Dolphin Research Center, Bayside on Grassy Key. The focus of this not-for-profit facility is on education. Rather than choreographed shows, trainers hold informative sessions as visitors stand on the dock around open-water tanks. Many ways to interact with dolphins are available for an extra fee.
58.7 — RV — Grassy Key RV Park & Resort
MM 56 — Curry Hammock State Park
Kayak — Curry Hammock State Park is our favorite destination for beach camping in the Florida Keys with the demise of the oceanfront campground at Long Key State Park, wiped out by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Curry Hammock sites 7 through 19, 21 and 22 are on the beach, and the remaining 14 sites are not far behind. The ocean is shallow, the surf mild and currents are weak most days, making it ideal for families with small children. Kayaks and canoes can be launched from the day-use area or the campground. Sites are $36 per night plus a $6.70 reservation fee. Discounts for seniors over 65 and active military. Curry Hammock State Park, 56200 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Phone: 305-289-2690. For reservations, book online or call 800-326-3521
For more details: Curry Hammock: Our new go-to campground in the Keys
55 – A 1.5 mile nature trail that is part of Curry Hammock State Park is bayside here (look for a parking area for bicyclists off the road a mile after the park entrance and walk back 300 yards to trail.) Especially nice: You don’t have to pay park admission to explore it. It winds through a beautiful rockland hardwood hammock to an overlook of Florida Bay. Uneven terrain — not for flip-flops.
54.5 — Kayak — Coco Plum Beach. Modest public beach off the beaten track on Coco Plum Drive. From the traffic light on U.S. 1, follow Coco Plum Drive a mile or so to the beach parking lot. The beach has been chewed up by recent storms, but it’s still pleasant and quiet. Expect kite surfers on windy weekends. You can launch your kayak here and paddle to the trail through nearby Curry Hammock State Park.
54 — Village of Key Colony Beach, Oceanside. Take Sadowski Causeway to the end and turn right on West Ocean Drive for the Key Colony Inn, one of the best restaurants in the Keys. Prices are moderate and the seafood selection outstanding. A hidden gem off the beaten path. Also on the causeway, Sparky’s Landing with indoor and outdoor seating.
Marathon — MM 53.5
Marathon is the heart of the Florida Keys, a bustling small city, fishing mecca and transient boating hub with waterfront restaurants, jet-ski tours, kayaking, paddle-boarding, snorkeling at Sombrero Light — or just cruising turquoise waters. Note that addresses coincide with numbered cross streets, not Mile Markers. We try to include both.
53.5 — KAYAK Island Boat Ramp. Public boat ramp. Often used as a base for parasailing. $25 launch fee.
53.4 — The Island Fish Company Tiki Bar & Restaurant. Popular tiki bar and restaurant with sunset view. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Good food, nice views. Adjacent is a boat ramp, parking lot and site of a former retail complex where shallow water and a rocky shoal attracts parrotfish and other colorful sealife.
53.1 — Vaca Cut Bridge, entering the business district of Marathon next 8 miles.
53.0 — Marathon Lady Fishing (73-foot party boat with two trips daily, $45-$55), 11711 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Oceanside.
53.0 — Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters. 11710 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Bayside. Features a coral reef tank, shark tank, tarpon basin and a tide pool touch tank. Adults, $20; Children, $15.
52.7 — Triton Seafood, 11,399 Overseas Highway, Marathon. (Ocean side) If you can’t get into Frank’s, cross the street.
52.5 — King Seafood Market and Restaurant, 10925 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Ocean side.
52.0 — Marathon Monroe County Airport, bayside.
51.1 — Wooden Spoon, 7007 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Popular stop for breakfast. Don’t miss the oversized biscuits!
50.5 — Crane Point Museum and Nature Center, gulfside. Kayak and paddleboard tours; tram tours.
50.5 — RV — Key by the Sea RV Park (Member-owned with transient sites) 305 743-5164
MM 50.0 — Sombrero Beach
There are few “real” beaches in the Keys, and Sombrero Beach is one of them. Turn south at the Publix Shopping Center and follow Sombrero Beach Road to the end. Plenty of parking. Beach has been fully restored since Hurricane Irma. Launch your kayak here to paddle the mangrove tunnels of Boot Key.
Read More: Our 15 favorite beaches in the Florida Keys
50.0 — Publix Supermarket, 5407 Overseas Highway @ Sombrero Beach Blvd.
50.0 — Kayak — 61st Street Gulfside runs through an indescript neighborhood, past the La Isla food truck, to the Gulf, where an unmarked hard-pack sand drive cuts to the right into an open lot with a small boat ramp, an ideal spot to launch a kayak. This may be private property, but there are no signs and it appears fallow.
50.0 — Skipjack Resort and Marina, 19 Sombrero Blvd..
49.5 — Cracked Conch Cafe, 4999 Overseas Hwy, Ocean side.
49.0 — Florida Keys Steak and Lobster House, 3660 Overseas Highway.
49.0 — Overseas Pub and Grill, 3574 Overseas Highway. One of Marathon’s oldest historic landmarks (1937). “Coldest beer in town.”
49.0 — The Stuffed Pig, 3520 Overseas Hwy, Marathon. Bob’s favorite breakfast destination in Marathon. Enjoy flaky, battered fish filets with your eggs.
49.0 — Keys Fisheries, 35th Street Gulfside. Funky eatery and seafood market right on the lobster and crab docks surrounded by stacks of wooden traps and lobster boats. Perfectly Keysy, and the fresh seafood is good, too!
MM 48.5 — Turtle Hospital
Located in a former motel bayside on the Overseas Highway, the Turtle Hospital supports its program of rescuing and rehabilitating about 100 injured sea turtles a year through the admission price paid by visitors.
48.3 — Faro Blanco Resort and Lighthouse Grill. 1996 Overseas Highway. Bayside.
48.0 — Turn-off to Chiki Tiki Bar and Grille at Burdines Waterfront, one of the best casual restaurants and tiki bars in the Keys. To find it, go east on 15th Street, past an old trailer park and stacks of lobster traps, and arrive in a large working marina in a protected harbor. The Chiki Tiki is upstairs with an excellent view. Also popular is Castaway Restaurant on the same back street.
Read More: Tiki bars you’ll love in the Florida Keys
47.5 — Porky’s Bayside BBQ and Captain Pip’s Marina & Hideaway, the place to be in the 1950’s when it was known at Bill Thompson’s Villas and Marina. Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Hoffa, Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher were regulars. Food is very good and reasonably priced.
47.3 — Sunset Grille and Raw Bar — Outdoor eatery at the foot of the Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon. Take the last left (going south) to Knights Key before the Bridge. Upstairs bar and patio has a fabulous sunset view, or dine downstairs on the open deck with pool.
Seven Mile Bridge — MM 47
Famously, the longest bridge in the Keys. (Really just 6.8 miles long.) The old bridge was replaced by the new bridge in the 1980s, leaving an accessible 2.2-mile section to Pigeon Key. This section of the bridge was rebuilt and reopened in January 2022 for hikers and bicyclists. It’s a great place view sunset, too.
Read more: The Old Seven Mile Bridge, the most scenic walk or bike ride in the Keys.
MM 47 — Pigeon Key
Pigeon Key is the beautiful and historic island where workers building Henry Flagler’s Seven Mile Bridge lived from 1909 to 1912. You can visit it via a cute train-themed tram that takes you on a tour. For tickets, go to the visitor center, 1090 Overseas Highway, Marathon. This new location for the visitor center is on your right (bayside) in a gravel lot with a small marina just a little past the 7 Mile Grill, close to the start of the bridge.
43.9 — Moser Channel, highest point on 7-Mile Bridge. Sombrero Light can be seen oceanside
40.0 — West end of the Seven Mile Bridge
The Lower Keys — MM 40
Tourists pass through the Lower Keys en route to Key West, so there are fewer visitors here and lots of open spaces on land and sea. These scenic islands go deep, offering access to undeveloped backcountry treasured by kayakers and anglers. Get off the Overseas Highway and explore!
Read this article: Paradise Found: Things to Do in the Lower Keys
40.0 — KAYAK Little Duck Key Wayside Park. Public park (oceanside) is a good place to stop for a picnic or to use the restroom. There’s a beach where you can wade or swim and palm trees lean like they are waiting to be captured in a postcard. It’s also an easy kayak launch.
39.5 — Missouri-Little Duck Channel Bridge
39.0 — Ohio-Missouri Channel Bridge
38.8 — RV — Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina. Completely restored since being wiped out by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Pool, docks, playground, beaches, boat ramp and marina on 75-acre island. Book one of 399 RV site for your own rig using the above link, or you can book one of their mobile homes through Hotels.com.
38.7 — Ohio- Bahia Honda Channel Bridge
MM 37 — Bahia Honda State Park
Bahia Honda State Park features an award-winning beach, a boat launch, marina, campground and cabins. The Sandspur campground and Sandspur Beach have reopened. Enjoy a day of sunbathing and with iconic views of the crumbling old railroad bridge. For campground and cabin reservations, book online or call 1-800-326-3521, but you’ll have to do it way in advance or get lucky.
36.0 — Bahia Honda Bridge (4-lanes); View the old camelback bridge.
35.0 — KAYAK Bahia Honda Bridge launch. At the west end (towards Key West), access to both ocean and bay.
34.5 — Scout Key, Girl Scout Camp, oceanside.
34.1 — Scout Key, Camp Sawyer, Boy Scouts, oceanside.
34.0 — West Summerland Key
33.7 — KAYAK Spanish Harbor Bridge Boat Ramp. (East end of bridge, Marathon side.) Paddle to No Name Key and a cluster of other islands off Big Pine.
Big Pine Key — MM 33.5
SPEED WARNING: Big Pine is home to the endangered Florida Key Deer, and the speed limit is strictly enforced — 45 mph, daylight; 35 mph at night. Off the highway, the speed limit is 30 mph.
33.8 — KAYAK — Boat ramp alongside highway.
33.0 — RV — Big Pine Key RV Resort. Recently upgraded campground with some sites lining a canal with docks, others waterfront. In addition to RV sites with full hookups, the resort offers RV rentals, rooms in lodge and rustic sites without hookups. Previously known as the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge, under new ownership.
33.0 — KAYAK. Long Beach. Adjacent to Big Pine Key RV Resort, take Long Beach Road about a half-mile. Turn left onto dirt road to Long Beach. There are three launch points. Or you can drive all the way to the end of Long Beach Road and hike out to the beach from the turnabout.
31.0 — Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, Old F.E.C. railway marker, oceanside.
MM 30.3 — National Key Deer Refuge Visitor Center
The endangered Key deer are found in the lower Florida Keys, and nowhere else in the world. The refuge takes up most of the island, and the refuge’s Visitor Center is now on U.S. 1 in a new log-cabin structure, making it more visible and convenient to travelers. (Here’s more about Key Deer, and how to see them.)
MM 30.2 — Key Deer Boulevard (Traffic Light)
- Big Pine Shopping Center is north of the traffic light on Key Deer Blvd., but don’t blink. It’s hidden behind dense vegetation. Winn-Dixie Supermarket, novelty shops, and restaurants, including one of our favorites, locally popular PizzaWorks.
- One of the most colorful spots for lunch, dinner, or drink is the hard-to-find No Name Pub. We’ll help you find it. Take Key Deer Blvd to Watson Blvd., then turn right. Go through a residential area, and No Name Pub is on your left.
- Continuing on Watson Blvd. just past the No Name Pub, is the Old Wooden Bridge Resort and Marina, which is now rents houseboat and cabin accommodations. Kayak rentals and guided tours available.
- No Name Key — Cross the bridge and drive 1.8 miles to a public kayak launch
- The Blue Hole is an abandoned rock quarry used for nearby road fills and Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad. A rare freshwater pond, it is a gathering place for birds, snakes, alligators, key deer, and green iguanas. It is part of the National Key Deer Refuge
- Explore Big Pine on the many unpaved roads crisscrossing the island, and this is where you will find an abundance of Key deer if you haven’t seen them already.
30.0 — DIVE — Looe Key Reef Adventures and Strike Zone Charters
30.0 — Big Pine Rooster, Bayside.
29.5 — Kayak Pine Channel Nature Park. Boardwalk leading to an raised scenic viewing area. Bike racks, kayak/canoe launch, picnic areas, rest room, swimming hole and outdoor shower. Historic Henry Flagler concrete mile marker more than a century old. Read more about Pine Channel Nature Park.
29.3 — North Pine Channel Bridge
28.5 — Little Torch Key. Parmers Resort is highly rated on TripAdvisor. The resort is off U.S. 1 on Barry Avenue. (Turn right immediately after crossing the North Pine Channel Bridge.) Well-maintained cabins and motel rooms on the water.
28.5 — Kiki’s Sandbar Bar and Grille, 183 Barry Ave, Little Torch Key. Downstair open-air bar with entertainment. Upstairs dining. Overlooks the North Pine Channel with docks for boats.
28.0 — Torch Channel Bridge
27.8 –– KAYAK Middle Torch Key Causeway. Go north off U.S. 1 for several miles to Big Torch Key sign. Turn left. Launch from second and third culverts along this road.
27.8 — Bike Trail — A natural area with a bike path that’s 15.5 miles round trip from U.S. 1 on Middle Torch Road.
27.7 — Torch-Ramrod Channel Bridge
27.6 — Ramrod Key, Named for a ship, the Ramrod, wrecked on a reef south of here in the early nineteenth century.
27.3 — DIVE — Looe Key Reef Resort, Dive Center and Tiki Bar. Tiki bar is popular with locals. Dive boat, paddle boards, kayaks and boat rentals. Ramrod Key.
26.6 — South Pine Channel Bridge, east end of bridge, oceanside
27.5 — Boondocks Grille and Drafthouse. Hot spot with largest tiki bar in the Keys, featuring entertainment in season. Performers often add this venue to their Key West bookings.
26.0 — Niles Channel Bridge, middle.
24.9 — KAYAK. Summerland Key. Take Horace Street (bayside) to Northside Drive (2nd right) and turn left on Niles Road. Go to the end of Niles Road (about 1.5 miles). Launch is on the left where the road ends.
24.0 — Summerland Key Sea Base
23.5 — Kemp Channel Bridge, east end of bridge, oceanside
22.5 — Square Grouper. You’d never know it from the warehouse look, but this is a classy joint serving gourmet dishes, named after local slang for a floating bail of marijuana.
22.3 — Fanci Seafood. Excellent seafood market on Cudjoe Key. Recommended by local fishermen for having fresh catch daily. Best homemade crab cakes I’ve ever tasted. The yellowtail filets and Key West pink shrimp were very fresh and competitively priced. (Not a restaurant.)
22.2 — KAYAK. Spoonbill Sound Hammocks. Launch on gulf side (Cudjoe Key). Check out nearby salt ponds for photo ops.
21.0 — KAYAK. Cudjoe Gardens Marina, where you can rent kayaks, guided kayak tours.
21.0 — Blimp Road, named for “Fat Albert,” an Air Force surveillance blimp that was taken down in 2013. Read more: Oh no, Fat Albert bites the dust!
21.0 — KAYAK. Follow Blimp Road all the way to the end on the Gulf side (north side of U.S. 1). There is a launch ramp for easy access to back-country islands, such as Tarpon Belly Key, once home to a shrimp farm.
20.2 — Bow Channel Bridge to Sugarloaf Key.
20.0 — RV — Sugarloaf Key/Key West RV Resort.
20.0 — Mangrove Mamas. Roadside eatery. Cracked conch and conch chowder, along with a healthy serving of Keys atmosphere.
19.8 — RV — Lazy Lakes RV Resort.
19.5 — Bike Trail. Paved bike path follows Crange Boulevard (Bayside) all the way to Florida Bay.
19.0 — KAYAK. Sugarloaf Sound. Oceanside, near yellow traffic barrier, there’s a short path to the launch site.
18.6 — Upper Sugarloaf Key
18.8 — Park Channel Bridge
17.8 — North Harris Channel Bridge
17.7 — Sugarloaf Lodge and Tiki Bar — Laid back, circular open-air tiki bar overlooking a tranquil beach and bay.
17.6 — Harris Gap Channel Bridge
17.5 — Lower Sugarloaf Key
17.0 — KAYAK. Blinking light, Take Sugarloaf Blvd (oceanside) about two miles to stop sign, then another two miles to Sugarloaf Creek bridge. Park on west side of bridge.
There is also a launch ramp at the Sugarloaf Marina (Bayside), where you can rent kayaks and purchase accessories. Nominal fee to launch if you bring your own boats. Guided tours of Sugarloaf waterways offered.
17.0 — Bike Trail — Bike path is on Sugarloaf Road in a residential area. Round trip from Sugarloaf Lodge is 15 miles.
MM 17 — Bat Tower
Relic of the early 20th Century was testament to early mosquito control, but it didn’t work. The bats escaped the next day and never returned. The tower blew over in Hurricane Irma in 2017, but it’s still there.
16.0 — KAYAK. Harris Channel Bridge. Good access off U.S. 1 to both bay and oceanside.
15.8 — Lower Sugarloaf Channel Bridge
15.0 — Baby’s Coffee. Beans roasted fresh daily. Highly rated and a mandatory stop on your way home from Key West. Baby’s is also a good place to park and bicycle the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail to Key West and back.
15.0 — Kayak Bay Point Park. (Behind Baby’s Coffee) Picnic tables, BBQ pits, sand volleyball court, a basketball court, tennis court, and pickleball. Sandy playground and a large grassy field. Small rocky area offers water access as a kayak or paddle board launch.
14.6 — Saddlebunch #2 Bridge
14.5 — Bluewater Key RV Park. Luxury RV park.
14.2 — KAYAK. Saddlebunch #3 Bridge. Pullover on oceanside; launch under bridge.
13.1 — Saddlebunch #4 Bridge
12.8 — Saddlebunch #5 Bridge
11.4 — Shark Channel Bridge
11.0 — KAYAK. Shark Key Boat Ramp, oceanside.
Big Coppit Key — MM 11
Mile Marker 10.5 — Boca Chica Road; Clothing optional beach
- Take Boca Chica Road south to the Geiger Key Marina, where you’ll find a popular tiki bar/restaurant, fishing charters, and a small RV campground with dockside sites.
- If you follow Boca Chica Road further west as it winds around the Key West Naval Air Station, the road ends at Geiger Key Beach. There is a half-mile of paved road closed to cars that makes a pleasant walk along the natural beach at the end of the runway. (Beyond the pavement, the beach is clothing optional.)
9.7 — Rockland Channel Bridge
9.2 — East Rockland Key
8.5 — Tourist welcome center
8.0 — NAS Boca Chica Overpass; Entrance to Key West Naval Air Station. Oceanside. Turnoff from both directions on US-1.
6.1 — KAYAK. Boca Chica Channel bridge. Launch on either end of the bridge. Ample parking.
5.3 — KAYAK. Public Boat Ramp. Oceanside ramp between Boca Chica and Stock Island. Heavily used.
Stock Island — MM 5.3
This rustic gateway to Key West is home to a commercial seaport, live-aboards and houseboats, a few hotels, a couple of RV parks, and a handful of unique dining experiences. The island’s name derives from herds of livestock once kept here to feed Key West.
MM 5.2 — College Road, North Side of Island (Hospital)
- Lower Keys Medical Center, 5900 College Rd, Stock Island. Go north on College Road. Across from Florida Keys Community College. (305) 294-5531
- Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, a tranquil spot for plant lovers.
- Key West Golf Club, designed by Rees Jones
- Florida Keys Community College.
MM 5.1 — 3rd Street, South Side of Island
- Boyd’s Key West Campground. Turn south onto 3rd Street (Stock Island); go one block and turn east onto Maloney. Boyd’s is a decent, clean campground, and it’s scenic. There are 150 RV sites with full hookups, some oceanfront, and another 53 sites for tents. You can book your reservations online.
- Fishbusterz Fisheries. Largest wholesale fish house in Florida. Retail outlet is at 6406 Maloney Avenue, , directly across the street from Boyd’s Campground.
- Hogfish Bar and Grill. A great place, if you can find it. On the docks near Boyd’s Campground, at 6810 Front Street, The Hogfish is one of the best open-air restaurants in the Keys. Their specialty — the world-famous “Killer” Hogfish Sandwich, tender white hogfish meat, smothered in onions, swiss cheese and mushrooms piled high on a Cuban hoagie.
- El Mar RV Resort, 6700 Maloney Avenue.
MM 4.8 — Cross Street, South Side of Island
- Leo’s Campground. Cute little campground with lowest prices in Key West. Very good Wi-Fi, bathhouse and laundry. Go south on Cross Street from U.S. 1, one block, turn left. (305) 296-5260
- The Perry Hotel, 7001 Shrimp Road. Recently renovated low-rise hotel with dockage, dockside bars and restaurants, overlooking marina and fishing fleets coming and going in the basin. Nice place.
- Stock Island Marina Village, 7005 Shrimp Rd. Next to the Perry Hotel, Marina Village is home to Key West live-aboards and houseboats.
4.6 — Hurricane Hole Restaurant and Marina, south side of U.S. 1, across from College Road. Rents houseboat acommodations.
4.1 — Cow Key Channel Bridge
Key West — MM 4
The southernmost city in the United States, Key West is the end of the road. It’s vibrant history, funky bars, colorful characters, and laid-back vibe attract two million visitors every year.
MM 3.9 — Traffic Light
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”— Yogi Berra
If you go left: State Road A1A
- Houseboat Row. All but gone today, the seawall and protected basin on your left was once home to a famously colorful houseboat community. The houseboats moved to Garrison Bight and Stock Island.
- Key West International Airport.
- Smathers Beach. The longest beach in Key West is lined with palm trees and has restrooms, volleyball courts, and picnic areas.
- A1A eventually rejoins U.S. 1 at Whitehead Street.
If you go right: U.S. 1 on Roosevelt
2.3 — Salt Run Bridge, N. Roosevelt, Key West
1.9 — Publix Supermarket, Searstown Shopping Center, 3316 N Roosevelt Blvd,Key West.
1.7 — Publix Supermarket, Key Plaza, Key West. (Yes, these Publix are that close to each other).
1.7 — Palm Ave; U.S.C.G. Group; Naval Air Station, Trumbo Point. There is a campground here for military families, the Sigsbee RV Park.
1.5 — Winn Dixie Supermarket, 2778 N Roosevelt Blvd.
Roosevelt becomes Truman Ave.
Windsor Lane — Historic Key West Cemetery
The Key West cemetery is a lot like the city itself: quirky, crowded, colorful and full of history. The cemetery was founded in 1847 after a terrible hurricane in October 1846 washed away the old cemetery, scattering the dead throughout a forest. As a result, the oldest gravestones in this cemetery — built on the highest point in Key West — are actually older than the cemetery itself. They date to 1829 and were moved here after the hurricane.
Windsor Lane — Historic Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea
500 Truman Ave. (@ Duval Street) — Key West Information Booth
U.S 1 Turns Right at Whitehead Street
938 Whitehead Street — Key West Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters
907 Whitehead Street — Hemingway Home & Museum — Ernest Hemingway ended up in Key West like many others — by accident. He came for a day and ended up staying for a decade. That was close to a century ago, and the town has yet to recover from his presence. Papa’s spirit permeates the island. His former home, complete with a gaggle of six-toed cats, remains a popular tourist attraction. Tour information and tickets.
- 600 Whitehead. Courthouse Deli. Grab a sandwich or Whit’s Frozen Custard and hang out on “The Bench”, across the street from the Green Parrot.
- 601 Whitehead. The historic Green Parrot Bar, 601 Whitehead St.
Read more: Most beloved ‘locals’ bars in Key West
Welcome to Key West
One of the best ways to see Key West is to take a tour, especially if this is your first visit. The famous Conch Tour Train is probably the most well-known sightseeing tour. For a strange adventure, try the spooky Ghost and Gravestones Tour.
Required stops on a saloon tour — this is, after all, Key West — are Sloppy Joe’s, Captain Tony’s (the original Sloppy Joe’s), the Bull and Whistle, raucus honky tonk saloon Cowboy Bill’s, and ultra-funky Blue Heaven, a historic Bahamian Village watering hole where Ernest Hemingway officiated boxing matches in the 1930s.
Read more: Most beloved “locals” bars in Key West.
There are dozens of B&B’s and unique lodgings through the city, including a few of our favorites: The elegant Heron House, Key Lime Inn. Key West Bed and Breakfast, and the historic Eden House. (For a bargain, book one of the four second-floor rooms that share two bathrooms.)
Try something unique: Key West houseboat rentals
A Chicago foodie shared with Florida Rambler his favorite spots for authenticity: Eight Key West restaurants for local flavor. We also recommend La Te Da, Louie’s Backyard, and the rustic, moderately priced Half Shell Raw Bar.
Here’s our guide of free things to do in Key West, including a great free walking tour. Here’s more: Key West on the cheap isn’t easy, but here are tips
After dinner, try a slice of Kermit’s Key Lime Pie at 200 Elizabeth Street.
The Florida Keys Gazetteer explains the history behind the colorful names of Keys places.
The original mile-marker guide used as a base to build this guide was created by Jerry Wilkinson for the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys at keyshistory.org.
A few of the kayak launch areas were gleaned from Bill Keough’s Florida Keys Paddling Guide, which we recommend for Keys paddlers.
We’d also like to give a nod to Wikipedia, where we have gleaned addition historic information.
Last but certainly not least, kudos to our family members who are often saddled with a clipboard and an iPad, identifying points of interest and updating listings, and to our friends and many readers who contributed to this report.
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Veteran journalists who worked together at Fort Lauderdale’s SunSentinel newspaper, Bonnie and Bob founded FloridaRambler.com in 2010 to explore the natural, authentic Florida, writing about their natural interests in hiking, biking, paddling, RV and tent camping, wildlife, unique lodging, dining and historic places.