Overseas Highway Highlights Through The Keys
You can fly and if you are across the state in Fort Meyers, you can even take a boat.
But a big part of the Key West experience is getting there along the Overseas Highway from Miami. Here is the ultimate driving guide with not just directions, but recommended places to stop along the way.
Key West Directions From Miami International Airport
From the airport, take LeJeune Road south to 836 West then the Florida Turnpike South. The Turnpike ends at U.S. 1 in Florida City. Take U.S. 1 South into Key West.
Key West Directions From Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
After exiting the airport, take 595 West to the Florida Turnpike South. The Turnpike ends at U.S. 1 in Florida City. Take U.S. 1 South into Key West.
Recommended Stops On U.S. 1 South – The Overseas Highway
Be prepared for an incredible scenic drive. There are 43 bridges and water on both sides of the highway. There are also enough diversions along the way to make it more than a 3 1/2-hour drive, which is generally is with no traffic (rare) and no stops (ever more rare).
When you enter into the Upper Keys, it is important to travel at the speed Jimmy Buffett recommends in “A Slow Boat To China.” And that is “fast enough to get there but slow enough to see.”
With that in mind, here are PubClub.com’s recommendations for places to stop along the way. Places here are easy to by their mile marker numbers, marked by signs with the letters MM followed by a number.
For fresh fish sandwiches – there’s a cutting table on the dock outside, the Fish House restaurant is at MM 102.
If you have time and can’t wait until you get to Key West to get into the blue water, stop for a snorkeling or scuba diving in Key Largo at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the adjacent Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary.
Love tiki bars? At MM 84 in Islamorda is the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar, which claims to be the home of the original Rum Rummer. Seems manager John Elber (Tiki John) was getting rid of some excess rum before the arrival of the next supply and stumbled upon this legendary cocktail. If you have too many, there is also a hotel with jet skis and other recreational diversions.
Just two miles south of here, at MM 82, is Lorelei’s, a great spot for food, rum drinks and live local musicians. Look for the mermaid.
Speaking of food, here’s something you are not likely to get anywhere else. How does lobster reuben sandwich sounds to you?. It’s a like a lobster roll, except it’s served on thick, toasted bread with melted cheese and it can be found at Key’s Fishery Market & Marina (3502 Gulfview Ave., Marathon; bayside, at the end of 35th Street, just past Home Depot).
If you’re in the need of a powerful pick-me up then pull into the Exxon station just past 35th Street. There you will find the strongest Cuban coffee in the Keys.
At about MM 50 you will encounter what many consider the scenic highlight of the drive, the Seven-Mile Bridge.
At MM20 is Mangrove Mama’s, mangrove shack, really – with excellent food served in a tropical setting. Travelers in the know stop there for the best Key Lime Pie in the Keys.
From there, it’s into Key West. If you’ve timed it right, you will arrive just in time to catch the sunset at Mallory Square.