Florida Keys - Highway 1, The Overseas Highway and Dive Sites
The 113-mile (181-kilometer) drive on Highway 1 from mainland Florida to
Key West induces sensory overload. Besides the natural beauty along the
route—tidal flats, teal waters dotted by distant islands—the so-called Overseas
Highway awes you in its own right as an engineering marvel. Its concrete
stretches across impossible expanses of water, the Atlantic spreading out to the
left, the Gulf to the right.
Considered one of The Scenic Drives of a Lifetime-
Highway 1, known as the Overseas Highway, from Key Largo to Key West unrolls like a long dark ribbon in front of the car, with immense vistas of turquoise water and paler blue sky stretching endlessley either side of you.
Driving from mainland Florida down the Overseas Highway, it's easy to understand why the southernmost leg of U.S Highway 1 is often referred to as the "Highway that Goes to the Sea". In fact, en route to Key West you encounter an astonishing 42 bridges over open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. From the top of some of these bridges, the individual islands in the distance look tiny and fragile against the sea and sky.
A true highlight of this route is to drive across the incredible Seven Mile Bridge, nothing but sparkling sea and deserted islands surround you, crank up the radio , this is cruisin' at its best.
There are incredible dive sites you'll encounter as you proceed
along the highway. Pennecamp, Tavernier, Duck Key, Hawks Cay and Islamorada to
name a few. At each spot, you can park at a dive shop and motor out to
the reef on a boat, the trips normally leave around 0830 and 1430. . The entire dive experience takes two to four hours,
leaving ample time to watch the sunset and enjoy a seafood dinner.
Meanwhile, non-divers will find
plenty else to do, from snorkeling to exploring state parks to visiting quirky museums.
Major attractions are sited by mile marker, from MM 107 in Key Largo to MM 0 in