Last updated on October 3rd, 2020 at 01:41 pm
The Overseas Highway is the spine of the Florida Keys, the lifeblood of a 113-mile chain of islands to which three million visitors flock every year — most by car, bus or recreational vehicle.
The scenic Overseas Highway is integral to your Keys adventure as you pass over calm, turquoise waters through a paradise of palm-studded subtropical islands.
This new and improved Florida Keys Mile Markers Guide is your travel companion, noting historical points of interest, restaurants, lodging, campgrounds, dive shops, parks and beaches, boat ramps, kayak launches, and attractions.
Don’t leave home without it. Bookmark this page on your smartphones and tablets for reference on your next trip through the Florida Keys.
Links in this guide take you to more information about points of interest and businesses. Listings are selected by editors and links are included for the convenience of travelers. These are courtesy links and are not sponsored and cannot be purchased. Many links go to related FloridaRambler stories. Where appropriate, a link may go to independent reviews on TripAdvisor or Hotels.com, which may result in modest referral commissions that support updates to this guide.
Copyright © 2020 Florida Rambler Media. All rights reserved.
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 old, narrow-gauge railroad trestles as a platform. 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 over 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, and where checkpoints are set up during the pandemic and hurricane evacuations.
MM 110.8 — KAYAK — Little Blackwater Sound Boat Ramp, bayside.
MM 108.5 — Gilbert’s Resort. Recently renovated traditional Keys lodging with a famous tiki bar open to the public. Follow the ramp on your right, just before the Jewfish Creek Bridge. Read: Florida Rambler story about Gilbert’s
MM 108 — Jewfish Creek Bridge crosses the Intracoastal Waterway, 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
“Dive Capitol of the World”
MM 106 — The 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 — 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 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 104.3 (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 102.4 — The 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 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 — Hobo’s Cafe. Oceanside. Long one of Bob’s favorites, going back to its railroad-car years. Good food at moderate prices. Outdoor seating available.
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 and one of the last five K-Mart stores in Florida, three of which are in the Keys.
MM 101.3 — Friendship Park, Oceanside. Pet-friendly 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. Dive excursions and scuba charters.
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 — 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
- 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, Laguna Ave. to 522 Caribbean Drive. Multi-level outdoor decks overlooking a busy canal. Worth finding.
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
Read more in our Key Largo Visitors Guide
MM 99.4 — Key Largo Traffic Light, before the highway splits
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
- 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.
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 98.0 — 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 at a historic conch house built in the 1930s.
MM 97.5 — RV — Blue 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. (Peckerheads not allowed).
“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
Read More: Wild Bird Center is worth a quick stop
92.6 — Harry 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.
92.2 — Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory, bayside. Reopening on Dec 1, 2020.
92.0 — KAYAK — Bottle Key Launch. Public boat launch, bayside, on 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.
91.5 — Mariner’s Hospital. Bayside.
91.2 — Tavernier Town Shopping Center. Winn-Dixie Supermarket. Multiple eateries, including J-Dao Sushi Thai, Great Wall Chinese, Over Easy breakfast restaurant, Dunkin’ Donuts, Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s. Movie theater. Liquor store. U.S. Post Office.
90.8 — Tavernier Creek Bridge; Tavernier Creek Marina, Conch Republic Divers, Plantation Marina. Bayside
“Sportfishing Capital of the World”
90.6 — Creekside Inn, 90611 Old Highway, Tavernier.
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.
89.0 — Jersey Boardwalk Pizza,
88.0 — Marker 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.
88.0 — M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom, oceanside. Burger raves, but what’s all this hullaballoo about beer milkshakes?
87.7 — Twisted Shrimp. Seafood cafe. Limited menu.
- Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center
- Plantation Yacht Harbor Marina
- Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
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. You can’t miss the sign. The restaurant is tucked behind a building on the oceanside. A frequent stop for bikers and tourists.
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 — Pelican Cove Resort (Behind Theater of the Sea)
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.
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 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. Recently reopened with 114 rooms and new on-site Islander Girl Snorkel & Tours. All-new refurbished 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 destination. Bayside.
81.8 — Cheeca Lodge and Spa. Upscale lodging with private beach, newly renovated after Hurricane Irma.
81.8 — The Moorings. Beach Road. Luxury cabins on a beautiful, palm-dotted beach. Pricey but gorgeous. Where Netflix filmed scenes for “Bloodlines.”
- 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.
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.
81.3 — Green 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 in the Keys, 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
80.0 — Amara Cay Resort.
79.8 — Lazy 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, 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
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. We loved it.
73.5 — Caloosa 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.
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
71.0 — Channel 5 Bridge. Considered by locals to offer the best bridge fishing in the Keys.
Middle Keys & Marathon
Marathon encompasses 13 islands in the Florida Keys, from Long Key to the Seven Mile Bridge, boasting some of the best deep-sea, reef, and flats fishing in the Keys. Add waterfront restaurants, jet-ski tours, kayaking, paddle-boarding, snorkeling at Sombrero Light — or just cruising turquoise waters.
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.
66.5 —KAYAK 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.
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.
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 — Keys Cable wakeboard park. Oceanside
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
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.
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.
53.0 — 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 County Airport, bayside.
51.1 — Wooden Spoon, 7007 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Popular stop for breakfast. Don’t miss the oversized biscuits!
51.0 — Brutus 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 — RV — Key by the Sea RV Park (Member-owned with transient sites) 305 743-5164
50.0 — K-Mart, 5585 Overseas Highway @ Sombrero Beach Blvd., Marathon. One of five remaining K-Marts in Florida, three of which are in the Keys.
50.0 — Publix Supermarket, 5407 Overseas Highway @ Sombrero Beach Blvd.
50.0 — Skipjack Resort and Marina, 19 Sombrero Blvd..
49.5 — Cracked Conch Cafe, 4999 Overseas Hwy, Ocean side.
49.4 — Hurricane Bar and Grill, 4650 Overseas Highway, Bay 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.
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 Bar — Outdoor 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
47.0 — Famously, the longest bridge in the Keys. (Really just 6.8 miles long.) The old bridge (at right) was replaced by the new bridge in the 1980s, leaving an accessible 2.2-mile section to Pigeon Key that is currently being rebuilt and scheduled to be completed by late 2021.
Read more: The Old Seven Mile Bridge.
Read more: 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 Keys
Read this article: Paradise Found: Things to Do in the Lower Keys
39.9 — KAYAK 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
38.8 — RV — Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina.
38.7 — Ohio- Bahia Honda Channel Bridge
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
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 Fishing Lodge. Very nice campground with some sites 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.
Key Deer Boulevard
Mile Marker 30.2 — The 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 Cabins. 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 that are worth exploring, 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 — Bucktooth 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.
28.5 — 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 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, Campground is closed due to Hurricane Irma.
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.
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.
Bayside gate goes to an old U.S. Army transmitter site. Now Radio Marti. Bay Point Park.
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
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.
This rustic gateway to Key West is home to a commercial seaport, live-aboards and houseboats, a few lower-cost (but nice!) 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
- 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.
4.1 — Cow Key Channel Bridge
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.
1.5 — K-Mart, 2928 N Roosevelt Blvd.
Roosevelt becomes Truman Ave.
@ Windsor Lane — Historic Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea
500 Truman Ave. (@ Duval Street) — Key West Information Booth
Turn right at Whitehead Street
938 Whitehead Street — Key West Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters
- Bahama Village neighborhood
- Key West Hospital, 604 Whitehead St.,
- Courthouse Deli, 600 Whitehead Street. Grab a sandwich or Whit’s Frozen Custard and hang out on “The Bench”, across the street from the Green Parrot.
- The historic Green Parrot Bar, 601 Whitehead St.
Read more: Most beloved ‘locals’ bars in Key West
You are 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 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.
After dinner, try a slice of Kermit’s Key Lime Pie at 200 Elizabeth Street.
From our travels in Key West, we’ve put together a 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
How did those places get those names? 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 our 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 highly recommend for Keys paddlers.
Last but certainly not least, kudos to our family members who are often saddled with the clipboard and an iPad, identifying and updating listings, and to our friends and many readers who contributed to this report.
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