Last spring our family took the ultimate road trip - driving Route 1 through the Florida Keys. We rented a jeep and drove from Miami to Key West and back again. We had beautiful views, great food and fun memories. We split our trip into two home bases, Marathon and Key West, but honestly we left Marathon a day early and wished we had spent even more time in Key West. It was very family friendly and there was much more to do with two adventurous teenagers. But along the way we stopped at some highlights that I have to mention.
We stopped and shopped in Islamorada but we could have stayed all day at the friendly Marker 88 restaurant. Their drinks and views were fantastic as well as the atmosphere! We had to stop again not much further down the road for a photo op at the kitschy giant lobster (mile marker 86.7). You can see and feed the giant wild tarpon at mile marker 77.5 and there are plenty of fresh catch places to eat at along the way (our favorite was the Island Grill at mile marker 85 where you could see the water lap between the floorboards under your feet).
As we continued south, locals told us to park at mile marker 47 and bike or walk the seven mile bridge, which had amazing views! Our favorite place to spend the day relaxing and wading in crystal clear water was Bahia Honda State Park (mile marker 37). We were so glad we asked locals which part of the park to go to (we hiked to the easternmost end) and could walk out pretty far on the shallow sandbar and see starfish along the way. It didn’t hurt that we cooled off with chocolate-dipped Key Lime Pie on a stick that they sold in the park.
After traveling the length of the Overseas Highway to get to Key West, it didn’t disappoint. From the group tradition of catching the sunset at Mallory Square (or from the Sunset Pier restaurant with their colorful umbrellas and fun atmosphere), to the live bands and friendly crowds along Duval Street, to the quiet morning walks through the historic Truman Little White House and grounds, Key West was full of fun and interesting things to do, so much good food, and was a great place to finish our week. We took a fantastic snorkel/kayak cruise on Danger Charters and saw plenty of wildlife along the way. We did make it all the way to mile marker 0, the Southernmost point of the US, before heading back across those 42 bridges and so much turquoise water.
There are so many places to see in the US, but I am sure that we will be back here!