The island chain of Florida’s Keys has long been impressing travelers with its plethora of gorgeous sandy stretches, beach bars, coral reef parks, and waters sports. But before you fully reach this vacation paradise, you will have to take on a long scenic ride, which in itself is a tourist attraction and a major architectural wonder. Highway 1 or Overseas Highway is one of the most picturesque highways in the country, connecting the mainland to Florida’s lovely islands, and highlighting their best features.
Looking at Highway 1, you will soon realize why it took a great amount of time, money and engineering genius to create this highway, which is made up of 113 miles of roadway as well as 42 bridges. The highway extends right into a huge expanse of water, cutting through the Atlantic and the Gulf. Driving on the Overseas Highway is not only a means to reach the Florida Keys, but a tourist destination that accommodates 3 million visitors every year. Crossing this highway by bus or car also means exposing yourself to wonderful seascape, pine and palm-filled landscapes and the shimmering sea. Thus, it is not surprising that Highway 1 is considered to be one of the greatest driving tours in the world.
Fondly called “the Highway that Goes to Sea”, the Overseas Highway can be the sole focus of your trip to this popular state. A number of travelers create an itinerary that is directed toward experiencing the highway, while exploring some of its most notable spots. One of the most exciting parts of driving on this highway is when you cross the 7 Mile Bridge, considered to be one of the world’s longest bridges.
If you are a fishing enthusiast, drop by some of the older bridges of the highway, where angling is allowed. With the clear cloud-adorned skies above your head and the sea’s bounty right at your fingertips, it does not get any better than this. When you are a little hungry and need a break from driving, there is wide range of eateries along the highway to choose from. But if you want to do it the American way, stop by a burger stand, and get yourself the iconic juicy burger complemented by shakes and fries.
As you head out to the top of the island chain, you will find some of the best dive sites in the world. This is a great opportunity to learn diving or to indulge your underwater hobby. All you need to do is park at a dive shop and book yourself a tour. The outfitter will then bring you out to the reef on a boat, so you can have two to four hours of incredible diving experience.
Key Largo is one of the best spots to try out diving as it is home to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which covers an area of 70 square miles. Pennekamp and Tavernier are the other prime tourist spots worthy of visiting. Not much of a diver? There are plenty of things to do during the day. You can try snorkeling or visit state parks and museums. At the island of Islamorada, enjoy swimming with the dolphins at the Theater of the Sea. After Islamorada, head out to Key West for the night to party with the locals.
Make sure to put Florida’s Overseas Highway on your bucket list, you will not regret the adventure.