Driving native mainland Florida under the abroad Highway, it"s simple to recognize why the most southern leg that U.S. Highway 1 is often referred to as the "Highway the Goes come Sea."
A modern-day wonder, the 113 mile of roadway from an essential Largo to crucial West incorporates an astonishing 42 bridges leapfrogging from an essential to an essential in a series of giant arcs of concrete and also steel over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
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And what execute visitors see? plenty of coral and also limestone islets in the sprawling secrets chain look tiny and also fragile versus the sea and also sky. Yet despite their tiny size, this islands assistance lively, it s as beautiful as picture communities.
In 2009, the secrets highway was designated as Florida"s an initial and only All-American roadway by the us Federal Highway Administration, amongst only 30 other roadways in the country that have earned the call title.
History that the Florida keys Overseas Highway
This Florida keys Overseas Highway "bucket list" journey so popular with tourists to the islands complies with a trail originally blazed in 1912 as soon as millionaire Henry Flagler developed what ended up being known together the Florida tricks Over-Sea railroad from Miami to vital West.
Flagler envisioned a train course connecting every the Florida Keys and mainland Florida. Flagler motivated an military of males to spend 7 years creating the railroad"s bridges and land-based tracks, and in 1912 the an initial train pulled into crucial West.
After only two-plus years of carrying freight and also wealthy vacationers, lot of the railroad to be badly damaged in a 1935 hurricane. The railroad end operations top top the Miami-Key West link, complying with extensive damage to the roadbed by significant winds and erosion and also the economic decrease caused by the Depression era. 3 years later on the overseas Highway debuted, developed on a foundation that integrated some the the initial railway spans.
Construction of the abroad Highway to be an incredible design feat. In 1982, 37 original bridges were changed with wider, more heavier spans, including the renowned Seven Mile bridge at Marathon.
A historic Timeline the the Rise and Fall that the Florida keys Over-Sea Railroad
"Cruising" down the highway on her All-American Adventure, v passing miles significant by little green signs on the road"s shoulder or median, the flavor of salt wait wafts in with the open auto windows.
The highway winds past Upper keys marinas real estate sportfishing fleets and sailing yachts, oceanfront villas surrounded by palms and also flowering plants, enticing seafood restaurants and also resorts both upscale and also funky.
Overseas experience Trails incorporate highlights to check out along the way. Click any type of trail listed below for a guide of must-see stop in every area of the Keys:
Overseas suffer Trail: an essential Largo
Key Largo, the northernmost and also longest island stretching from mile marker (MM) 107 to 91, is simply over an hour"s journey from Miami international Airport. Vital Largo obtained fame and widespread surname recognition once the 1948 movie "Key Largo," featuring Humphrey Bogart and also Lauren Bacall, struggle the silver- screen.
The island is finest known for man Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the united States" very first underwater preserve and component of the Florida tricks National naval Sanctuary. The sanctuary consists 2,900 square nautical miles bordering both political parties of the island chain.
Overseas endure Trail: Islamorada
Islamorada is recognized as the sport Fishing capital of the World. Heralded because that its angling diversity, it attributes the Florida Keys" biggest fleet that offshore charter and shallow-water "backcountry" boats.
The Islamorada area also features eco-tours, watersports such together stand-up paddling and also kiteboarding, tennis facilities, bicycle trails, historic hikes and also beautiful vistas the both the Atlantic Ocean and also Florida Bay.
Local restaurants variety from really upscale continent to casual come downright funky. Countless specialize in fresh-from-the-dock seafood, if others offer steaks, gourmet or ethnic dishes, and also even pizza and hamburgers.
Overseas experience Trail: Marathon
The top Keys" an essential Largo and also Islamorada give method to the middle Keys. The archipelago of Marathon appeal to multigenerational families and also recreational boaters. Marathon"s bustling neighborhood boasts charter fishing, cozy inns, high-end resorts, waterside holidays homes, RV parks, marinas and other contemporary conveniences consisting of both a newly constructed hospital and high-tech library, many of dining, and environmental attractions like the distinct Turtle Hospital.
Just southwest of Marathon lies the undisputed jewel of the abroad Highway: the 7 Mile Bridge. Driving throughout the 6.79-mile span over blue water, you realize why the original bridge was nicknamed "the eighth wonder of the world" ~ its perfect in the early 1900s.
Today, motorists see many of the old bridges extending alongside their contemporary counterparts. Part have come to be popular sportfishing piers. Chief among the initial bridges is the Old seven Mile Bridge, a weathering expanse that majestic arches and also cracked roadway the parallels the brand-new bridge — though its facility span has been removed to enable boat traffic. Once a vital link between islands, it"s gift renovated to end up being a wade trail resulting in Pigeon Key, a pocket-sized island v a restored railroad camp and also museum showcasing Flagler"s achievement.
Overseas endure Trail:Big jaw & the reduced Keys
In huge Pine & the reduced Keys, the scenery becomes wilder and much more deserted, and also the setting is to fill with plentiful terrestrial and also marine wildlife. In fact, the majority of its occupants have four legs, fins or feathers.
This the very least "people-populated" ar of the Florida secrets island chain is a realm of tiny communities, ecotourism and wildlife refuges developed to protect types including the miniature crucial deer. Beautiful Bahia Honda State Park and also the Old Bahia Honda leg beckon come the left the the road, inviting exploration.
Stretching indigenous the west finish of the 7 Mile bridge at Sunshine Key, mile mite 40, to share Island in ~ mile marker 5, the Lower keys are home to two nationwide wildlife refuges, component of a national marine sanctuary and a state park. The region"s emphasis on the environment has earned that the title of the organic Keys, and also no visit would certainly be finish without encountering several of its indigenous wildlife.
Overseas suffer Trail: crucial West
Eventually the Lower keys segue into key West, wherein the Florida secrets Overseas Highway end at Mile marker 0, and 19th-century charm blends v a laid-back contemporary atmosphere. Visitors to continental America"s most southern city will find palm-shaded streets, it s as beautiful as picture historic houses with "gingerbread" trim, a nightly waterfront sunset celebration and a flourishing arts community.
The island offers ecological attractions and eco-experiences, a vivid multicultural cooking scene and also sites to tour consisting of the 1930s house of literary legend Ernest Hemingway and also the "vacation White House" of former President bother Truman.
The best way to enjoy key West is to adopt the easygoing vibe, glean tips from trusted locals about their favorite places and also pursuits, and experience both well-known and off-the-beaten-path offerings.
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Veteran keys travelers know a hurried strategy is not the means to endure this laid-back destination. Take it easy. Suffer the true odor of each an ar of the Florida Keys.
Take satisfied in the ever-changing land- and seascapes come be viewed from the "Highway the Goes come Sea."
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The Highway that Goes to Sea