The 31 islands that make up the Florida Keys are linked together by a series of 42 bridges and dozens of causeways.
They are divided into three regions: the Upper Keys, Middle Keys and Lower Keys.
Overseas Highway, a sometimes tedious but always panoramic road, snakes its way through the entire island chain and comes to a dead end at the creme de la creme – Key West.
Each of the three regions deserves at least one full day to explore and can obviously take longer if you have more time to spare. The itineraries we suggest highlight the principal places of interest, while following the Overseas Highway, and leave you to select the areas that most appeal to you.
Except for Key West, which can be explored on foot, it is almost impossible to travel in the Keys without a car. The itineraries refer frequently to the mile markers, which is how distances are given and locations identified in the Keys.
These have been highlighted in order to make the routes easier to find.
We have also suggested an excursion – either by air or sea – to the isolated Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, some 70 miles from Key West. How you choose to plan your trip obviously depends on what you want to see and do. There are rare birds to watch, Civil War forts to explore and leaping dolphins to enjoy.
There is Hemingway’s house, with its memorabilia, and salvaged treasure from wrecked Spanish galleons. Or you may be interested in scuba diving, sailing, fishing or swimming.
If you have come simply to enjoy the sunshine and the laid-back it atmosphere to visit some of Hemingway’s favorite bars, or just to sit with some smooth, dark rum and watch the world go by, you will probably find some very congenial people doing exactly the same thing.
Last, it’s possible off course to visit the Keys from Miami Beach in one day round trip. A lot of Miamians or Sobe’s lovers do this during the week-end. However, if you are not familiar with the highway or streets, etc, we strongly suggest to dedicate to the Keys at least three days.
Keep in mind that from Key Largo, it’s the first Key from Miami Beach – to Key West, there are 391 miles.
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