The Overseas Highway is 182-km (113-mi) highway that goes through Florida Keys. Being the only coastal highway between Miami and Key West, The Overseas Highway features beautiful landscapes: from a tropical savanna, pine and mangrove forests to coral reefs. The Florida Keys are home to many rare animals such as the American Alligator, American Crocodile, and Key Deer. Also, Florida Keys are called "the sports fishing capital of the world" for a good reason. Fish species include tarpon, bonefish, and barracuda.
Most of The Overseas Highway was constructed in 1912 for the Overseas Railroad project. In 1935 the railroad suffered considerable damage during a hurricane. As a result, the bridges were sold to the state of Florida and repaired in the 1950s.
The Overseas Highway passes several secluded islands with fantastic beaches, historic shipwrecks, and fishing holes. In just over half an hour on the road, visitors will reach Big Pine Key, a secluded and peaceful tropical getaway with lush pine forests. Next stop—Marathon—is a family-friendly getaway with The Turtle Hospital, which kids will love. Grassy Key hosts the Dolphin Research Center, where guests can shake hands with dolphins, sea lions, and learn a lot about marine fauna.
Key Largo is known as one of the world's top diving spots with a perfect sandy bottom. It is dotted with reefs and historical shipwrecks. Islamorada and Key West are famous for their spectacular sunrises and suansets. The whole trip on the Overseas Highway takes about four hours, but it will be tough to leave this fantastic road so quickly.
What is the best time to visit Key West and the Florida Keys?
Visiting Florida Keys is possible throughout the year, and it is an attractive place to travel to, even in the winter months with temperatures remaining around 20-25 Celsius during December to April. Summers bring the humidity and chances of rains, while visitors can still refresh themselves in the clear waters of Florida. The weather patterns attract hurricanes between June and November, so travelers are recommended to keep a watch on warnings before making the visit. Show more
What are some unique animals that visitors can see in the Florida Keys?
The biodiversity of the Florida Keys supports a variety of species of birds, such as Key Deer, American Alligator, American Crocodile, etc., which usually migrate to the warmer climates of the area during the winter season. Diving and snorkeling offer visitors a chance to view marine life up close, including dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, and stingrays. The Keys are also famous for sportfishing with a variety of fish species such as Tuna, Amberjack, Marlin, and Sailfish attracted by the Gulf currents. Show more
Where can visitors find the best fishing spots along the Overseas Highway?
The Florida Keys host stunning coral reefs, making it a preferred destination for sports anglers. The scenic drive is dotted with fishing spots in Tarpon Springs, Islamorada, Key Largo, and Marathon. Carrying a guide or taking a charter boat is a perfect option. Billfish tournaments are organized between July and August at the start of the sport fishing season (March-September) with Tuna, Marlin, Sailfish, and Amberjack as some of the fish species that can be found in the Gulf Stream currents off the Florida Keys coast. Show more
When was the Overseas Highway constructed, and what was its original purpose?
The construction of the Overseas Highway began in 1912 with the primary objective of providing transport access to land, water, and rail routes to Florida's local communities. However, the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane destroyed the railroad lines, and the bridges needed to be reconstructed around the 1950s, taking eight years of dedicated efforts. The widely recognized scenic highway has turned into a must-do activity in Florida that attracts tourists from all over the world. Show more
What are some must-visit stops along the Overseas Highway, besides Key West?
Even though visiting Key West is a must-do activity when in the area, there are many other options along the route. Grassy Key's Dolphin Research Center, famous for its adorable dolphins and sea lions interactions, is a renowned stop. Islamorada is known for various watersports and art galleries, while Key Largo is popularly recognized for exquisite coral reefs and underwater parks for diving. Marathon presents visitors with white-sand beaches, a historic railway museum alongside the Turtle Hospital, advocating ethics and rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles. Show more