8 Great Spots to Visit in the Florida Keys

These fun spots to visit in the Florida Keys include favorite Florida Keys beaches, where to find key lime pie tips, some Florida hidden gems, and other fun Florida Keys attractions.

The Conch Republic has thousands of fun places to explore and discover but only eight places are included in this McCool Travel guide of places to visit in the Florida Keys. That provides a starter list of cool, fun, and happy Florida Keys stops so that you can discover your own Florida funness and your next Keys vacation.

8 Great Spots to Visit in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys comprise more than 1,000 islands at the southern end of Florida and stretches to within 90 miles of Cuba. The magnificent Overseas Highway connects dozens of those Florida Keys islands, crossing 42 bridges and running 113 miles long all the way to mile 0 at Key West.

Where is Florida Keys located?

This custom Florida Keys map is marked with places mentioned in this article.

1. Card Sound Road

McCool Travel tip: Card Sound Road is one of my favorite Florida secret spots.

Most people drive onto the Florida Keys on highway US 1, a nice drive though the southern Everglades before reaching Key Largo. Card Sound Road is an alternate road—on the drive from Miami to Key West, drive Card Sound Road in one direction and US 1 in the other. Entry points to Card Sound Road from US 1 are in Florida City (just south of the Last Chance Saloon) and in Key Largo near Mile Marker (MM) 106. From the north, Card Sound Road (aka Old Dixie Highway) passes by Alabama Jack’s (an “Old Florida” joint that always has at least one motorcycle out front) before a toll bridge ($1 for cars) offering exceptional views—especially at sunrise and sunset.

Card Sound Road dead ends at county road 905. Turn right and continue into North Key Largo through Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge and along the pristine hammock natural areas of Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, before rejoining US 1 near John Pennekamp State Park.

For more Florida road trip suggestions: 7 Fun Scenic Drives in Florida

2. Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen in Key Largo

At MM 99.4 Bayside (Mile Marker 99.4, bayside is on your right when driving toward Key West). Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen is a fantastic “welcome to the Florida Keys” first stop. It is Florida Keys kitschy, with license plates and money from around the world decorating the walls. Mrs. Mac’s is rated one of the top Key Largo restaurants, and there is usually a near-even split of locals and visitors. All menu items are tempting but I usually order a daily special, which is typically a freshly caught seafood entree. Mrs. Mac’s key lime freeze is my personal milestone that I am officially in the Florida Keys. McCool Travel Tip: check Mrs. Mac’s website for coupons. If you park behind Mrs. Mac’s you will find this scene:

humorous shark sculpture with leg in its mount in Florida Keys
places to visit in the Florida Keys: Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen in Key Largo, Florida Keys

McCool Travel trivia: Key Largo was called Rock Harbor and renamed itself after the famous movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

McCool Travel tip: visit Harry Harris County Park near MM 92, which is where the village of Planter was located from 1866 until the railroad was built (around 1912).

3. Florida Keys Beaches

Interestingly, beaches are not a main drawing card—the offshore barrier tropical reef prevents beaches from forming—but here are some of the best Florida Keys beaches.

Anne’s Beach (MM 73) is a nice pit stop on a drive from Miami to Key West; it has a boardwalk and easy wading. Sombrero Beach (MM 50) is a spectacular white sand beach. Bahia Honda State Park (MM 37) beach was selected as the best beach in the United States by Dr. Beach (1992) but not all oceanside beaches have reopened since hurricane Irma. Before visiting the Florida Keys, check if Bahia Honda or other beaches are open.

McCool Travel tip: Bahia Honda is an exceptional place to camp but watch out for the raccoons (personal experience!).

mangrove island at Anne's Beach in Florida Keys
Anne’s Beach is a local favorite Florida Keys beach
palm trees on sandy Florida Keys beach
Sombrero Beach is probably the best beach in Florida Keys

For fun things to see on Florida road trips, see: 8 Great Florida Road Trip Scenes.

4. Turtle Hospital

The above Florida Keys beaches are often partially closed in the summer to protect sea turtle nests. A hospital dedicated to rescuing and rehabbing sea turtles is The Turtle Hospital located near MM 48.5. The lobby has informative (and emotional) displays and stories, including one of a deathly sick turtle that swam right up to the hospital. The lobby displays are free but they have a popular $15 90-minute tour (reservations strongly recommended). This is definitely one of the best unique things to do in the Florida Keys.


5. Lobster Statue

Betsey, the world’s largest lobster, is one of the most unique things to do in the Florida Keys. The huge lobster statue is located at The Rain Barrel Artisan Village. Yes, Betsey looks different than Maine lobsters,. Lobsters in Florida’s waters are Caribbean Spiny Lobsters. Nearby is the Hurricane Monument (MM 81.5), memorializing the devastating 1935 hurricane (unnamed) which killed over 420 people and had the lowest barometric pressure ever recorded (on the Atlantic side of the world).

largest lobster statue in the world
Betsy the world’s largest lobster

For the best places to drink in the Florida Keys, see: Fun US Gulf Coast Bars and Breweries

6. Seven Mile Bridge

Perhaps the most famous spot along the 100 mile drive to Key West, Seven Mile Bridge (MM 47) is a wonderful stop. Oh yeah, the high point on the bridge is the highest spot in the Florida Keys (65 feet above sea level). Many years ago, on a drive to Bahia Honda, we were involuntarily stopped at the north end of the bridge while a crew was filming True Lies.

water level view of Seven Mile Bridge in Florida Keys
Seven Mile Bridge is a great spot to visit in the Florida Keys

On one trip, I walked 1.5 miles out and then back on Old Seven Mile Bridge (toward historic Pigeon Key). During the walk, I saw a giant sea turtle, rays leaping out of the water, and one shark. I read that this is a prime spot for star gazing. McCool Travel note: Old Seven Mile Bridge is currently closed and expected to reopen in 2021 (or later).

>>> Read the McCool Travel article: Along the South Florida Waterfront

7. Big Pine Key and No Name Key

Big Pine Key and No Name Key, near MM 30, are home to unique and endangered animal species including the cute, dog-sized Key deer. Drive SLOWLY along the roads of the two islands and hopefully glimpse the little deer. When driving along Key Deer Blvd, the Blue Hole is a nice stop. The Blue Hole, an old stone quarry filled with fresh water, houses the only alligators in the Keys. Gators live in fresh water while crocodiles live in salt water—but South Florida is the only place in the world where they can be found together in nature. We saw one small alligator on our recent visit but read the sad story about Bacardi (a 9 foot alligator died from a little plastic toy). Please do not ever feed any wild animal—EVER (or accidentally drop things into their homes).

No Name Key sign
No Name Key is a fun hidden spot in the Florida Keys


For fun things to do in Key West, see: 8 Great Key West Tips

8. Key Lime Products

Key Lime Products is a store located at MM 92.5 oceanside, on the right side when driving back to mainland Florida. This is a nice final stop when leaving the Florida Keys to stock up on key lime and tropical goodies. I have bought a whole pie here on my last two trips—and slices for immediate gratification! Another good stop is the Midway Cafe at MM 80.5, a nice coffee and sandwich shop with key lime pie and treats.

McCool Travel tip: one best key lime pie I have had on recent trips was from the Sippin’ Coffee House on Eaton Street in Key West—but I have not tried everywhere yet. For two other amazing Florida key lime pie recommendations, please see Places to Eat in Florida Local Restaurant Recommendations and Cool, Happy, and Fun Gulf Coast Restaurants in the Southeast US.


For fun Florida Christmas decorations, see Fun Tropical Christmas Decorations to Inspire a Florida Holiday Vacation.

Do you have any favorite spots to visit in the Florida Keys?

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8 great spots to visit in the Florida Keys (the Conch Republic), with pictures and descriptions. Some of these Florida Keys destinations are local faves.

8 Great Spots to Visit in the Florida Keys was first published in April 2011.

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15 thoughts on “8 Great Spots to Visit in the Florida Keys”

  1. coming from Ocean Drive by Scooter what would be a scenic route to travel to just catch some nice sights? please and thank you

    Reply
    • Ocean Drive in Miami Beach? Take the two causeways (5th Street and 17th Street) and try to drive around the islands. Love the houses in that area. Not sure a scooter would work going into downtown Miami or further north (on Collins Avenue). Miami Beach is certainly fun to drive around, try Alton Road or Pine Tree Drive or some of the smaller residential streets. Have fun.

      Reply
  2. Next May, my son is getting married in Key West, so we’ll probably drive over from Marco Island. I hope to allow enough time to visit many of these places, especially Card Sound Road. Last time, my sister and I went to Key West by seaplane, which is awesome, but you do miss out on the roadside attractions.

    Reply

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