The Florida Keys are open but restrictions apply. Here's what to expect.


Last updated on September 5th, 2020 at 11:00 am

KeysAll AmericanLogo Florida Keys Overseas Highway Mile-Marker Guide

The Upper Florida Keys and Key Largo


MM 127 — You are leaving Florida City, Gateway to the Keys.

MM 126.5Card Sound Road. Branches off U.S. 1 to North Key Largo via the Card Sound Bridge (toll). Stop at Alabama Jack’s, a funky outdoor restaurant and dockside bar, just before the bridge.

MM 112.5 — Monroe County Line

MM 110.8 — KAYAK — Little Blackwater Sound Boat Ramp, bayside.

MM 108.5Gilbert’s Resort. Recently renovated Keys-style lodging with a famous tiki bar open to the public. Ramp off the Jewfish Creek Bridge just before Key Largo. Read more: Florida Rambler story about Gilbert’s

MM 108 — Jewfish Creek Bridge. Jewfish Creek is the inside passage linking Miami’s Biscayne Bay to the Florida Keys.

MM 107.5 — Lake Surprise. Unexpectedly encountered by workers building Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway. The lake had not appeared on preliminary surveys, and it presented a major obstacle for the project. When the crews attempted to fill in a causeway, the fill material was swallowed up by the lake. Source: FloridaMemory.com


MM 107 — Key Largo: Snorkel and Dive Capitol


MM 106.5 — Turn left for Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park

MM 106.0The Buzzard’s Roost, Oceanside. Woohoo! 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 106.0DIVE Silent World Dive Center, Garden Cove Marina, 51 Garden Cove Dr.

MM 106.0Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, gulf side.  Easy-to-reach rest rooms, brochures, maps and discount coupons.

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 — KAYAKFlorida Bay Outfitters. Small fee to launch. The friendly folks here will give you advice on kayak routes and rent kayaks, paddle boards.

KeyLargoChrist 2 Florida Keys Overseas Highway Mile-Marker Guide
Snorkeler Katherine Wieland at the Christ of the Abyss statue in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo. (Stephen Frink/Florida Keys News Bureau)

MM 104.5Rowell’s Waterfront Park. Former marina now an 8-acre, dog-friendly park on Florida Bay. You can swim and snorkel from the seawall, which has ladders. Monroe County also stores unused vehicles and construction equipment here.

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 104Jimmy 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 103.9 — Restaurant cluster on the bay side: Senor Frijoles, Mexican food; Sundowners, outdoor seating and view of Blackwater Sound; Cactus Jack’s Sports Pub.

MM 103.8DIVEPirates Cove Watersports. Diving, snorkeling paddleboards, kayaks.

MM 103.6DIVEQuiescence 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.


coral reef key largo
Explore the reef at Pennekamp State Park. (CanStock Photo/offaxisproductions)

MM 102.4The Fish House and Fish House Encore Restaurants. Popular restaurants serving fresh Keys seafood. A little pricey but not shocking.


MM 102 — Need a free place to stop for picnic? Behind the Key Largo government center (bayside) there’s a waterfront park with covered picnic tables and access to restrooms. Moored boats come and go via dinghy or kayak.

MM 101.7 — Hobo’s Cafe. Long one of Bob’s favorites. Good food at moderate prices. Oceanside.

MM 101.7 — Largo Resort.

MM 101.5RV — 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 — Publix Supermarket in the Tradewinds Plaza shopping center. Oceanside and partially hidden by a wall of trees.

MM 101.2 — Hibiscus Park, Oceanside. The was the center of the 1880s community of Newport.

MM 100.8 — DIVERainbow Reef Dive Center

MM 100.6DIVEKey Largo Dive Center. Dive excursions and scuba charters.

MM 100.6Tower of Pizza Key Largo.

MM 100.5Key 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.


African Queen in Key Largo, Florida
The African Queen is the original vessel from director John Huston’s classic 1951 film by the same name. Photos by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau

MM 99.7The African Queen, the 100-year-old steamboat from the 1951 Humphrey Bogart-Katherine Hepburn film, is moored next to the Holiday Inn Oceanside. You can take a 90-minute cruise or a two-hour dinner trip. Read More: Visitors Guide to Key Largo

MM 99.7Holiday 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


MM 99.5 — DIVEDivers Direct. Mega-store for divers, snorkelers and other water sports.


MM 99.4 — Key Largo Traffic Light — Port Largo

East at the light on Atlantic, 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 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
  • Pilot House Marina and Restaurant, Oceanside, 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.


MM 99.4 — Bayside Grille and Sunset Bar, bayside.  Hideaway bar (downstairs) and restaurant (upstairs) behind DiGiorgio’s Cafe Largo overlooking Florida Bay.

MM 99.3 — Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen. Classic Keys roadside eatery open for breakfast and lunch only. Check out their fish and grits!

MM 99.0Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen II. An extension of the iconic original in the median. Open for lunch and dinner only.

MM 98.0 — Landings of Largo, Bayside; Moose Lodge, Oceanside; Everglades Park Ranger Station, Bayside. 1st Baptist Church, Oceanside; Shell World (center road); Rock Harbor Club, Bayside.

MM 97.8 — Kona Kai Resort, Gallery & Botanic Gardens.

MM 97.8 — Sal’s Ballyhoo’s Historic Seafood Grill. Dine in a historic conch house built in the 1930s. 

MM 97.5 — RVBlue Fin Rock Harbor Marina & RV Park.

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 95.2 — Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary building.

MM 94.5 — Snapper’s Restaurant 139 Seaside Avenue. Popular waterfront restaurant with dockage.

Tavernier

Pelican at Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, Tavernier
Pelicans crowd the walkways at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center

93.6Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, Bayside.  Boardwalk through a mangrove forest at volunteer-run wildlife-rehab facility with an informal backyard feel. The center is free, though you may want to make a donation. Open sunrise to sunset. Great stop for kids. Read more. 


92.6Harry Harris Beach and Park oceanside. Pet-friendly park with nicely groomed beach, picnic tables, picnic shelters, boat ramp and a playground. Free admission weekdays. Monroe County residents free anytime. Non-residents: $5/person on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. $30 to launch a boat. Incidentally, the early community of “Planter” was here.

92.1 — Winn Dixie Supermarket, Tavernier Town Shopping Center.

92.0 — KAYAK — Bottle Key Launch. Public boat launch, bayside. Turn right onto Jo-Jean Way.

91.9 — Old Tavernier Post office; Old Settlers Park, oceanside; historic Tavernier Hotel, oceanside. This was the center of the early community of Tavernier.

91.5Mariner’s Hospital. Bayside.

91.0 — Tavernier Creek Bridge; enter Islamorada; Tavernier Creek Marina, Conch Republic Divers, Plantation Marina. Bayside


Islamorada — Fishing Capitol


Scenery while biking the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail in Islamorada.
Scenery while biking the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail in Islamorada. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

90.7Captain Slate’s Scuba Adventures. Casa Mar Village Shopping Center. Hands-on diving experience.

90.6 — Creekside Inn.

90.1 — Plantation Key Colony community entrance, Bayside. Large Indian mound in the center of the subdivision.

89.0Jersey Boardwalk Pizza,

88.0Marker 88 Restaurant, bayside. Venerable eatery whose fans include former President George H.W. Bush (No. 41), who dined here frequently during his fishing trips to Islamorada.

88.0M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom, oceanside. Burger raves, but what’s all this hullaballoo about beer milkshakes?

87.7Twisted Shrimp. Seafood cafe. Limited menu.

87.1 — Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Red Caboose

87.0KAYAK  Founders Park. Public park has a beach, marina, boat ramps, baseball fields, skate park and kayak rentals.

Betsy
Betsy

86.7 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. It was created by Marathon artist Richard Blaze three decades ago.

85.5 — Snake Creek Bridge; Coast Guard Station, gulfside. Enter Windley Key.

85.3 — Hog Heaven Bar & Grill. A popular sports bar and seafood eatery before Holiday Isle. You can’t miss the sign. The restaurant is tucked in behind a building on the oceanside. A frequent stop for bikers and tourists.

Coral rock at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, Florida Keys
Windley Key State Park.

85.3Windley Key State Fossil Reef Geological Site, gulf side. 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.

84.8Coconut Cove Beach Resort and Marina.

84.3 — This was 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. Offers live dolphin shows, exhibits, a private swimming area and various ways to interact with dolphin, sea lions or rays for additional charges.

84.2Pelican Cove Resort.

84.2 — Postcard Inn Beach Resort and Marina. Home of the Holiday Isle charter fishing fleet.

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 away from the protected ocean sea grasses near the inlet or face stiff fines.)

84 — KAYAK and KITEboarding. The bridge causeway is a popular launch for kayaks, paddleboards and kite-boarders.

83.5Wahoo’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.

83.5Whale Harbor Marina. Fishing charter fleet; jet ski and paddle board rentals.

83.5 — 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 head swim, and it’s very good. All you can eat for $34.95 (adults) and $17.95 for children. Click here for the menu.

83.5The Sandbar at Whale Harbor. Rooftop open-air lounge overlooking Whale Harbor.

83.0Ziggie and Mad Dog’s. (Warning: Audio blasts when you click on the link.)

83.0History of Diving Museum. Museum collects, preserves, displays, and interprets artifacts, antiques, books, documents, photographs, and oral history relative to the History of Diving.

82.2Sunset 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. Recently reopened with 114 rooms and new on-site Islander Girl Snorkel & Tours. All-new refurbished cottage-style units and screened-in lanais.

82.1Key Lantern Blue Fin Inn.

82.1Florida 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 destination. Bayside.

81.8Cheeca Lodge and Spa. Upscale lodging with private beach, newly renovated after Hurricane Irma.

81.8The Moorings. Beach Road. Luxury cabins on a beautiful, palm-dotted beach. Pricey. Where Netflix filmed scenes for “Bloodlines.”

81.6Florida 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!

81.6Morada Bay Beach Cafe. Bayside waterfront cafe and bar.

81.5 — Oceanside: Islamorada Library and park; 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. Read more: Things to do in Islamorada (besides fishing)

81.5 — Worldwide Sportsman is the temple of saltwater fishing, outdoors gear, boating accessories and clothing. Fishing charters in the marina. On display is an Old Keys wooden fishing vessel, the kind Ernest Hemingway once used.

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.

81.3Green Turtle Inn. Oceanside. Venerable eatery with a history dating to the 1940s. Popular port of call for “barstool sailors.”


Key Lime Pie

Almost every restaurant in the Keys serves this signature desert, and all claim to have the best.

When we’re camping, we look for Key Lime Pie Company pies in the frozen food section at the many small markets and convenience stores along the highway from Key Largo to Key West.

The pie costs about $16, but we think it’s worth it.


81.0 Kon Tiki Resort. Bay side

80.0 — Roadside park, Bayside

80.0Amara Cay Resort.

79.8Lazy Days Restaurant, ocean side. Excellent food, oceanfront patio dining with scenic ocean view.

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. Lignumvitae Key Botanical Site, bayside in distance.  Lignumvitae Key Boat Ramp gulfside; Indian Key Archaeological Site, San Pedro Underwater State Park and Alligator Lighthouse, oceanside at a distance. Read More: Indian Key: Favorite Florida Keys kayak trail to historic island

78.5 — San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park. Underwater archaeological preserve features a submerged shipwreck that is available for diving and snorkeling. About 1.25 nautical miles south of Indian Key.

77.9KAYAK  — Lignumvitae Bridge


feeding tarpon robbies marina islamorada
Visitors feed tarpon at Robbie’s Marina. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau)

77.0 — KAYAK  Feed the tarpon at Robbie’s Marina. 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.

75.0 — Sea Oats Beach. Not much beach left after Hurricane Irma, but turtle nests are booming.


florida keys road lang Florida Keys Overseas Highway Mile-Marker Guide
Cruising through Lower Matecumbe Key. (Photo courtesy Jeremy Lang)

73.5 — Habanos Restaurant at Caloosa Cove. Cuban-influenced menu, casual dining with ocean views and moderate prices. Locals eat here with good reason. We loved it.

73.5Caloosa Cove Resort and Marina.  TrueValue Hardware store.

73.6 — Boy Scouts Sea Base, bayside — Camp 3 for WW-I veterans. Many perished in the 1935 hurricane.

73.4Anne’s Beach, Oceanside. One of our favorite stops for wading along the beach and a picnic along the boardwalk. Free.

73.0 — Channel 2 Bridge. Offshore on the bay side 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 bridge and biking/walking trail.


The Middle Keys and Marathon


71.8 — Craig Key

71.0Channel 5 Bridge.  Considered by locals to provide the best bridge fishing in the Keys.

70.0 — RV Fiesta Key KOA and Marina. Decent fallback to nearby Long Key SP, although more expensive. Boat launch and dockage, and nice waterfront cabins. RV, tent and swimming pool. General store.


One of the new structures at Long Key State Park is a seaside platform that would make a perfect place for a small, impromptu wedding. This is a window in the platform's lattice-work frame. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
One of the new structures at Long Key State Park is a seaside platform that would make a perfect place for a small, impromptu wedding. This is a window in the platform’s lattice-work frame. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

67.5KAYAK, RV Long Key State Park, Oceanside. Campground is closed, but the day-use area remains popular for picnics, kayaking and fishing.

66.5KAYAK  Long Key bayside. Decent pullover on the bay side, outside of Long Key State Park. Drop your kayak over the low 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 adventurer Zane Grey, who spent 14 winter seasons here fishing and writing.


The Historic Long Key Bridge on the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.
The historic Long Key Bridge. (Photo by Bob Rountree)

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 fishers. Considered one of the best fishing bridges in the Keys. (It’s also a fun bridge to bike across, recommended in our guide to Bicycling the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.)

62.2 — Walker’s Island (Little Conch Key)

61.2 — Tom’s Harbor Cut Bridge

61.1Hawk’s Cay Resort,  Duck Key, luxury resort oceanside.

61.0Dive Duck Key. Not certified to dive? Try Snuba! Breathe underwater with an oxygen line to the surface.

60.6 KAYAK  Tom’s Harbor Channel Bridge. Oceanside launch and pullover. Good fishing!

59.9 — Marathon city limits

59.3RVJolly Roger Travel Park.

59Dolphin 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.

58.7RV — Grassy Key RV Park & Resort

58.0Rainbow Bend Resort and the Hideaway Cafe.


Curry Hammock beach2 Florida Keys Overseas Highway Mile-Marker Guide
The beach at Curry Hammock State Park (Photo by Bob Rountree)
Florida Keys

Curry Hammock State Park

Curry Hammock State Park is our favorite destination for beach camping in the Florida Keys with the untimely demise of campgrounds at Long Key State Park and on Bahia Honda’s Sandspur Beach. Both were 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, call 800-326-3521 or book online.

Related Story: 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 flipflops.

54 — Village of Key Colony Beach, Oceanside. Take Sadowski Causeway to the end and turn right on W. Ocean Drive for the Key Colony Inn, one of the best restaurants in the Keys. Prices are moderate and the seafood selection outstanding. Truly, a hidden gem off the beaten path. Also on the causeway, Sparky’s Landing with indoor and outdoor seating.


Marathon 


Florida Keys: The bar at the Chiki Tiki at Burdines Marina in Marathon
Chiki Tiki at Burdines Marina in Marathon. (Photo by Bonnie Gross)

Addresses in the city of Marathon track numbered cross streets, not Mile Markers. Where possible, we include both.

53.5 — KAYAK  Island Boat Ramp. Public boat ramp.

53.4 — The Island Fish Company Tiki Bar & Restaurant. Popular tiki bar and restaurant with sunset view. Now 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.

53.0Marathon Lady Fishing (73-foot party boat with two trips daily, $45-$55), 11711 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Oceanside.

53.0Florida 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 —  Frank’s Grill, 11400 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Nondescript Italian eatery tucked into a small shopping center bay side. Very popular. Reservations recommended. (305) 289-7772 

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 County Airport, bayside.

51.1 — Wooden Spoon. 7007 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Popular stop for breakfast. Don’t miss the oversized biscuits!

51.0Brutus Seafood Market and Eatery. Highly recommended by locals for its fresh seafood. In Marathon, this is Bob’s go-to fish market. 6950 Overseas Highway, Marathon.

50.5 Crane Point Museum and Nature Center, gulfside. Kayak and paddleboard tours; tram tours.

50.5 — RVKey by the Sea RV Park (Member-owned with transient sites) 305 743-5164

50.0 — K-Mart, 5585 Overseas Highway @ Sombrero Beach Blvd., Marathon

50.0 — KAYAK  Sombrero Beach. There are few “real” beaches in the Keys, and this 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 after Hurricane Irma.

50.0 — Publix Supermarket, 5407 Overseas Highway @ Sombrero Beach Blvd.

50.0Skipjack Resort and Marina, 19 Sombrero Blvd..

49.5Cracked Conch Cafe, 4999 Overseas Hwy, Ocean side.

49.4Hurricane Bar and Grill, 4650 Overseas Highway, Bay side.

49.0Florida 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.

48.7 — Fisherman’s Community Hospital, 3301 Overseas Highway, Marathon. 305-743-5533


Bubblebutt, first and longest permanent resident of the Turtle Hospital
Bubblebutt, first and longest permanent resident of the Turtle Hospital.

48.5 The Turtle HospitalLocated 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.

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 BarOutdoor eatery at the foot of the Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon. Upstairs bar and patio has a fabulous sunset view, or you can dine downstairs on the open deck.


seven mile bridge pigeon key
Seven Mile Bridge. Pigeon Key in the foreground. (Photo by Rob O’Neal, Florida Keys News Bureau)

47.07 Mile Bridge. Famously, the longest bridge in the Keys. (Actually just 6.8 miles long.)

47.0 — Old 7-Mile Bridge/Pigeon Key. Bayside. This section of the 7-mile Bridge is closed as it’s being rebuilt.

44.8 Pigeon Key. Bayside. To reach the picturesque and historic island in the middle of the Old Seven Mile Bridge, you must arrive by boat on a tour. Thisis one of our favorite stops in the Keys.

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 Florida Keys and Key West


bahia honda state park
Historic bridge beyond the beach at Bahia Honda State Park.

Read this article: Paradise Found: Things to Do in the Lower Keys

39.9KAYAK  Veterans Memorial 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

38.8RV Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina. 

38.7 — Ohio- Bahia Honda Channel Bridge

36.8 Bahia Honda State Park

Award-winning beach with boat launch and marina. Main campground is open, but the tents-only Sandspur campground and beach remain closed because of heavy damage from Hurricane Irma (September 2019). Iconic views of the crumbling old railroad bridge. Campsites and cabins book 11 months in advance, so plan ahead and watch for cancellations.

36.0 — Bahia Honda Bridge (4-lanes); View the old camelback bridge.

35.0KAYAK  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

33.7KAYAK  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.


SPEED WARNING: As you approach Big Pine Key, the speed limit drops. Big Pine is home to the endangered Florida Key Deer, and speed are strictly enforced: 45 mph, daylight; 35 mph at night. Off the highway, speed limit is 30 mph.


33.8 — KAYAK — Boat ramp alongside highway.

33.0RVBig Pine Key Fishing Lodge. Very nice campground, some lining a canal with docks, others waterfront. Rooms in lodge. Took a big hit from Hurricane Irma but is back and packed. Here’s a story from my last camp-over: Camp to fish on Big Pine Key.

33.0 KAYAK. Long Beach. Adjacent to Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge, 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.

30.3Key Deer Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center  has moved out onto U.S. 1 into a new log-cabin structure, making it more visible and convenient to travelers.


Key deer approaches bike, No Name Key, Florida Keys
Key Deer approaches bicyclist on No Name Key.

30.2Big Pine Key traffic light is the gateway to the island, most of which is part of the unique National Key Deer Wildlife Refuge.

Consider a side trip. Big Pine is the only place in the world where you’ll find endangered Key deer. (Here’s how we saw Key deer on a recent trip.)

One of the most colorful spots for a lunch, dinner or drink is the hard-to-find No Name Pub. Take Key Deer Blvd., then Watson Blvd., through a residential neighborhood.

KAYAK  On Watson Blvd. just past the No Name Pub, is the Old Wooden Bridge Cabins. Kayak rentals and guided tours available.

KAYAK  No Name Key — Cross the bridge to the end of the road for 1.8 miles to a public launch.

Big Pine Shopping Center is north of the traffic light on Key Deer Blvd., but don’t blink. It’s hidden behind dense vegatation, even after Hurricane Irma stripped the island’s trees and brush of leaves. Winn-Dixie Supermarket, novelty shops and restaurants, including one of our favorites, locally popular PizzaWorks.


30.0DIVE Looe Key Reef Adventures and Strike Zone Charters

30.0Bucktooth Rooster, Bayside. New restaurant on Big Pine getting good reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp! Moderately priced.

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.

28.5Kiki’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.


lower florida keys
Aerial of the Lower Keys. (Andy Newman, Florida Keys News Bureau)

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.

27.3DIVELooe 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

27.5Boondocks 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 a floating bail of marijuana.

22.3Fanci 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 — 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.  (Blimp Road is named for “Fat Albert,” an Air Force surveillance blimp that was taken down in 2013.)

20.2 — Bow Channel Bridge to Sugarloaf Key.

20.0RV — Sugarloaf Key/Key West RV Resort, Campground is closed due to Hurricane Irma.

20.0Mangrove Mama’s. Roadside eatery. Cracked conch and conch chowder, along with healthy serving of Keys atmosphere.


19.8 — RVLazy 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

17.7Sugarloaf 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.

17.0 — Bat Tower. Relic of the early 20th Century is a testament to early mosquito control, but it didn’t work. Blown over by Hurricane Irma.

16.0 — KAYAK.  Harris Channel Bridge. Good access off U.S. 1 to both bay and oceanside.

15.8 — Lower Sugarloaf Channel  Bridge

15.0Baby’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.

Bayside gate goes to an old U.S. Army transmitter site. Now Radio Marti.  Bay Point Park.

14.6 — Saddlebunch #2 Bridge

14.5Bluewater Key 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.

10.5 — Seaside Park, Fire house; SR 941 AKA Old Boca Chica Road, Ocean, to Geiger Key.

10.4 — Porpoise Point entrance, gulfside

10.0Big Coppitt Key. Take Boca Chica Road south to the Geiger Key Marina, where you’ll find a popular tiki bar and top-notch restaurant, fishing charters, a smokehouse and a small RV campground with dockside sites. Daily campsite rates are a bit dear ($100/night), but you are on the “back side” of Key West. If you follow Boca Chica Road southwest 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.


Hidden Key West


key west florida keys
Key West. (Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau)

5.2 — Stock Island, named for herds of livestock formerly kept here.

5.2 — Lower Keys Medical Center, 5900 College Rd, Stock Island. Go north on College Road. Across from Florida Keys Community College.  (305) 294-5531

5.1 — RVBoyd’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.

5.1 (Inland) — 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.

4.8 (Cross Street) — RV Leo’s Campground. Cute little campground boasts the lowest prices in the Keys ($77-98 RV, September 2019). We had no trouble booking a site for our RV. Waterfront tent sites ($54-$67). Very good Wi-Fi, bathhouse and laundry. Go south on Cross Street from U.S. 1, one block, turn left. (305) 296-5260

Read More: On a budget? Key West on the cheap isn’t easy, but here are tips

4.5 — Lower Keys Medical Center, 5900 College Rd, Stock Island. North on College Road. Across from Florida Keys Community College.  (305) 294-5531

4.5 — North on College Road for the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, a tranquil spot for plant lovers. You’ll also find the Key West Golf Club, designed by Rees Jones and Florida Keys Community College.

4.6Hurricane Hole Restaurant and Marina, south side of U.S. 1, across from College Road.

4.1 — Cow Key Channel Bridge

3.9 — Key West traffic light. Four-lane splits at the light. Left to the Key West Airport and Higgs Beach, and right to Old Town and Key West proper.

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, but sites with hookups are hard to get. Still, there’s an overflow area where you can dry dock to wait for a site.

1.5 — Winn Dixie Supermarket, 2778 N Roosevelt Blvd.

1.5 — K-Mart, 2928 N Roosevelt Blvd


0.0 — Key West! You made it! Mile Marker “0” is the end of the road, but not the end of your adventure. It’s just the beginning.

Kayak Launch in Key West?

Smather’s Beach. As you enter Key West, bear left towards Smather’s Beach. Just past MM 1, on your left, is a kayak launch area along a palm-lined shore. My nephew Nick says it’s also popular for kite-boarding.

Simonton Street. At the west end of Simonton, between the Pier House and Hyatt, is a small city beach where you can launch. (Pay to park). There’s a cool little beach bar here, Lagerheads Beach Bar, serving beer, burgers and outstanding ceviche served.

Kermit’s Key West Lime Shoppe, 200 Elizabeth Street. Everything Key Lime, even Key Lime Pie!

Key West Ghost Tours, 501 Front Street. Find “Robert”

Half Shell Raw Bar, 231 Margaret St. My favorite dive bar. At the docks.

From our travels in Key West, we’ve put together this guide of  free things to do in Key West, including a great free walking tour. The tourists flock to Duval Street, but the most enjoyable way to see Key West is on a bicycle. Be sure to stop by the Historic Key West Seaport and visit Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. The Historic Key West Cemetery is full of fascinating stories and scenes.

Other favorite stops about which we’ve written:  Key West Butterfly Conservatory and the Audubon House.

Read More: Key West chickens: Noisy, colorful, just like Key West

A Chicago foodie shared with Florida Rambler his favorite spots for authentic Key West flavor — from open air conch-fritter bars to the best happy hour in town. Print it out: Eight Key West restaurants for local flavor.

We also recommend dining at classy La Te Da, highly rated (but overpriced) Louie’s Backyard, and the rustic, moderately priced Half Shell Raw Bar. 

After dinner, try a slice of Kermit’s Key Lime Pie at 200 Elizabeth Street.

Read more: Shopping in Key West for authentic items to take home.

There are dozens of B&B’s and unique lodgings through the city, including a few of my 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.)

Required stops on the 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.

One of the best ways to see Key West is to take a tour, especially if this is your first visit. The famous Conch Train Tour is probably the most well-known sightseeing tour. For a strange adventure, try the spooky Ghost and Gravestones Tour. 

Or circle Key West on a jet ski tour with Barefoot Bill.


Key West sunset at Mallory Square
Mallory Square at sunset. (Photo by Bob Krist/Florida Keys News Bureau)

If you think Key West is the end of the world, keep going westward to get way away — Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas


Resources:

FloridaRambler.com’s guide to the best beaches in the Florida Keys

How did those places get those names? Look it up in this wonderful resource, the Florida Keys Gazetteer, which explains the history behind the colorful names of Keys places.


Acknowledgements: 

Some of the the kayak launch ramps listed were gleaned from Bill Keogh’s Florida Keys Paddling Guide: From Key Largo to Key Westir?t=fc090a 20&l=as2&o=1&a=0881505447&camp=217145&creative=399373 Florida Keys Overseas Highway Mile-Marker Guide. Bill is the proprietor Big Pine Kayak Adventures at the No Name Key bridge on Big Pine.

Many thanks to Judy Rowley and Paul Koisch of PizzaWorks in Big Pine and Judy’s son, charter captain Kevin Rowley, for taking us on a personal tour on and off the beaten paths of the Lower Keys and Key West.

The original mile-marker guide used as a base to build our guide was created by Jerry Wilkinson for the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys at keyshistory.org.

Last but certainly not least, kudos to our family members who are often saddled with the clipboard and an iPad, identifying listings, and to our friends and many readers who contributed to this report. Keep those tips coming! 🙂

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28 Comments

  1. Don’t forget Five Brothers 2 at mile marker 26 at Ramrod key for your delicious cafe con leche, breakfasts, take out cuban food and store. Tables were outback before Irma. Its an institution and relative of Five Brothers in key West

  2. Thank you for your website! I bookmarked it about 2 yrs. ago and always have it handy when we return to the keys. Our favorite find has been Amara Cay Resort (the old Hampton Inn) at 80001 Overseas Hwy around mile marker 80. A luxury resort that makes you feel like home. We return every summer, sometimes twice. They offer some great specials as low as $149/nt. during the summer. Thanks to your tip on Happy Hour at Lazy Days, we walk to dinner almost nightly and nearby is the Bayside Gourmet Deli that serves 3 meals a day and delivers to hotels within close proximity. They also are budget friendly and conveniently located in the heart of Islamorada. Check them out!

  3. Wow, what a complete list. I’m definitely bookmarking this post. I’m an independent fishing charter boat captain in Tavernier and clients always ask where are the best places to go in the Keys.

  4. Just discovered the Florida Rambler and love it! Been to the Keys several times before but I see a lot of new things to check out on our upcoming trip — thanks for the info!

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