The Keys is a personal favourite American road trip of mine, so easy to do and so laid back. That one road from Miami takes you all the way to Key West, if you are arriving in Miami on a flight I suggest a night’s stay so that you can fully enjoy the drive the next day. If you have the spare bucks the The Biltmore, Coral Gables will do you proud. After a long journey you can sink into their plush rooms and enjoy a brilliant swim in their massive pool before hopping into a rental car.
Driving south of Miami on the US 1 highway as soon as you hit Key Largo your passengers can shake off the jet lag and open their eyes to be rewarded with views of the sea both east and west, in some areas the keys are so narrow you literally feel that the highway is holding these tiny isles together.
One of the best spots to stop off is by the seven mile bridge where there are some lovely quiet beaches and turquoise seas to paddle in.
I stayed on Little Torch Key in a rental home sourced from VRBO, just the name conjures up a different culture and way of life. Houses on stilts lead down to canals with private moorings and lavish lifestyle boats to drool over. A short drive away leads you to Little Deer Key and the No Name Pub which is decorated with dollar bills pinned on every available wall and ceiling space, needs to be seen. As we rolled up, dusk was darkening the keys and brave deer are in people’s gardens and on the sidewalks chewing fairly nonchalantly and eyeing the pesky tourists shambling about their home.
Of course no visit to the Keys would be complete without a trip right down to the most southerly tip of mainland USA at Key West, you won’t brush shoulders with Ernest Hemingway now but you can drink in the bars he frequented along Duval Street and raise a glass as the Florida sun disappears somewhere over Cuba.
We tried jet skiing which is available as you arrive in Key West, but there is Marlin fishing, visits to Hemingway’s home, the chance to catch a glimpse of his three toed (I think!) descendants of his cats and sunset entertainment on the square……..oh and a raft of bars and eateries along Duval Street.
There are many more interesting keys but these were the highlights for me………So cheers Ernie!