Overseas Highway, Florida Keys, USA
The Overseas Highway, or Highway 1 in Florida is a unique scenic drive that is just waiting for you to come and experience for yourself. This remarkable road is a feat of modern engineering that has to be seen to be believed. The road links mainland Florida with Key West, 181 kms away as it seems to flow in a ribbon across impossibly long stretches of the ocean, with the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf on the other. Under the azure water is another world altogether inhabited by a kaleidoscope of tropical fish and stunning coral reefs. This is a perfect road trip for the whole family with plenty of water-based activities all along the route and superb diving at several world-class dive sites. There are campsites all along the way and if you are travelling in a motorhome rental or RV hire, you could plan your drive so that you spend each night in on a different Key. This is a year-round destination, but the annual hurricane season lasts from June to November, so it would be wise to avoid these months to be on the safe side.
Key Largo is the first section of the Florida Keys you will reach. Here you can visit the John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park, an undersea wildlife preserve. You can take a glass-bottom boat over the coral or enjoy snorkelling or scuba diving the underwater wonderland.
From Windley Key to Long Key, the Islamadora area is best known for sport fishing and attracts many enthusiasts. Try it out for yourself or visit the marine park at mile 84.5 to see performing dolphins and seals.
A little further on at mile 78.5 there are boats departing for excursions to the Lignumvitae Key Botanical Site and the Indian Key State History Site, both worth a visit, especially for divers who come to enjoy the wreck dive at San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve.
Further along you will come to several other note-worthy state parks where you can do nature trails, bird watching or turtle spotting. Driving south from Marathon you will come to the famous Seven-Mile-Bridge, the most awesome stretch of the entire Overseas Highway. Of course, all along the route there are places to swim and around Bahia Honda State park there are beautiful beaches to laze on. Wildlife enthusiasts will find a great deal to occupy themselves with, including the National Key Deer Refuge and a Great White Heron refuge. Finally you reach Key West, once a hideaway for pirates and today a lively and attractive tourist destination with a decidedly laid-back island feel.