These fun spots to visit in the Florida Keys include local favorite Florida Keys beaches, tips to find key lime pies, fantastic 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.
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 (SunPass suggested) 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.
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:
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).
Fun 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!).
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.
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).
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.
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).
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).
Tasty Key Lime Pie and Other 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.
Do you have any favorite spots to visit in the Florida Keys?
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