That means you can be awash in palm trees, tropical cocktails with a little umbrella inside, and Buffet background music within an hour or two. (This is the stuff that makes the rest of the country super jelly. We don't blame them.) We've rounded up the best places to eat, drink, spot Key deer, and pick up nautical treasures in Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada, and Big Pine Key. FYI: We excluded Key West because that's a whole different trip (and guide!). So pack up your bikinis, lather on the sunscreen, and crank the Buffet Pandora station — just don't forget this key to The Keys.
Shipwreck’s Bar and Grill may look like an offbeat kind of dive, but let’s be honest; Everyone knows the best local food comes from unconventional spots. Located right along the path to the Upper Keys, it’s a must-stop just for its fish dip served with onion, sesame crackers. and chopped green peppers, washed down with a cold brew...all for about two bucks. Welcome to the Keys.
Shipwreck’s Bar and Grill, 45 Garden Cove Drive in Key Largo, 305-453-3153.
Screeeecchhhh! That’s the sound of your brakes blowing out when you see a giant lobster statue on the side of the street. Big Betsy, as she’s called, is a massive crustacean at the entrance of the Rain Barrel Artisan Village, a haven of artist studios, galleries, and mom-and-pop shops where you can scoop up medicinal soaps and crystals, mango ketchup, ceramics, and dolphin music CDs. This little hippie heaven is totally worth the stop, however much it’s going to cost you to get those brakes checked out.
The Rain Barrel Artisan Village, 86700 Overseas Highway on Islamorada; 305-852-3085.
You don’t have to catch a plane to Brazil to experience Jesus; you just have to snorkel though Key Largo. That’s right folks, John Pennekamp, America’s first undersea state park, has it’s very own 4,000 pound savior statue — and it’s all underwater! The park offers glassbottom boat, scuba, and snorkeling tours, kayak rentals, and superb spots to fish, swim, and camp. It’s no wonder Florida considers it its most popular state park. It’s a must-see for the nature lovers — but mostly everyone goes to catch sight of that giant, breathtaking Jesus.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, 102601 Overseas Highway on Key Largo (Mile Marker 102.5); 305-451-6300.
Photos (clockwise from left): Florida Keys News Bureau, Rain Barrel Artisan Village, Shipwreck’s Bar and Grill
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