How to get to Key Largo
If you fly into Miami and rent a car for your Florida Keys vacation, your first glimpse of Florida Keys life will be Key Largo. There are two roads onto the Keys from the “mainland”, and the most common route is to take US 1, which when you reach the Keys, is called the Overseas Highway. It’s eighteen miles to Key Largo once you leave the mainland, and you drive through undeveloped mangrove and everglades savannahs the whole way. Ths passage is called the Eighteen Mile Stretch and it makes a beautiful buffer zone between the congested streets of Miami and Homestead/Florida City, and the Florida Keys. Look for wading birds such as herons, and, in season, roseate spoonbills, who turn pinker and pinker during their stay the Everglades. As you head for Key Largo, try to relax as you drive, and remember that you’ll eventually get there, there’s no rush. Accidents happen all the time on the eighteen mile stretch when drivers get antsy and try to pass but misjudge oncoming traffic. Look for numerous shrines along the road dedictaed to those drivers who didn’t make it.
The other road to Key Largo is Card Sound Road, which will cost you a buck or so, but is less congested. However, it’s also eight miles longer than if you took US 1, and there is hardly any shoulder at all. You’ll drive over creeks and past mangroves, but you’ll see less savannah.
Before you reach Card Sound Bridge, stop at Alabama Jack’s if you’re hungry. It’s casual and friendly and it’s been here quite a while. On the weekends they have live music. As you cross over the bridge, you might see fishing boats because Card Sound Bridge is good fishin’. There’s a spot to launch your boat near Alabama Jack’s, and if your boat is small enough there’s a spot just under the bridge on the other side. After you cross Card Sound Bridge and drive for several miles, you’ll approach a “T” in the road, at which you’ll want to take a right towards Key Largo. Taking a left puts you on the path to the Ocean Reef Club. This is a private resort village…yes, a gated village with its own hospital, airport, grocery store, and just about all the necessities of life so there’s no need to drive all the way to Key Largo for anything. It’s a very secure area, and very private. That’s all we know about it!
After you’ve driven a little bit more, and you’re almost in Key Largo, you’ll find Key Largo Hammocks State Botanical Site. This is precious and rare 2,000 acres of hardwood hammock. Trees are rare in the Keys, and such large contiguous tracks of forest are even rarer, not to mention the fact that these are hardwood subtropical West Indian trees. It’s the largest such track of hammock in the United States today. You can go in and walk or bike the very short nature trail and experience the Keys jungle.
Now that you’re finally in Key Largo, after driving either US1 or Card Sound Road, what’s here? Well, Key Largo is most famous for the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. You can read all about the Park here and the Reef here. Key Largo is all about diving, and then next up is fishing. Key Largo is also home to many large souvenir shops and of course lots of beautiful vacation rentals and some of the larger hotels (Marriott, for one) until you reach Key West. Lots of the resorts here in Key Largo cater to divers, and offer dive packages right out of the resort itself. You can roll out of bed and into a dive boat if that’s your cup of tea (and it is for lots of people!). You get great variety of lodging choices in Key Largo, and easy access to the best part of the reef (the water is clearer here than anywhere else in the Keys), and Florida Bay and The Everglades are a quick boat ride away for those who love to fish.
The beautiful Key Largo sunshine and balmy temperatures are very inviting for many families and couples from the United Kingdom and Ireland looking to enjoy America for the first time. Holidays to Key Largo especially to escape the cold winter weather.”