Three Favorites from the Upper Florida Keys

I visit the Florida Keys often and when I tell people they often respond with, “Oh, Key West.” No, not exactly.  The Florida Keys are more than Key West. Much more.  The change in attitude begins at the latitude in the Upper Keys begin.

Travel plans to the Florida Keys often center around Key West. But the drive through the island chain covers 42 bridges and 110 miles before mile marker (MM) 0; Key West is not close. And although the road trip down usually remains a cherished memory, more and more people are beginning to find fun and adventure in the Upper Keys.

Here are a few of my favorites from the upper keys.

Alabama Jacks

best in the keys

After Florida City, a fork in the road forces a decision. A choice. To continue on Overseas Highway (RT 1) and select the more direct 18 mile stretch or take the toll road ($1) Card Sound Road and add time to the trip. But as the sage advice of Robert Frost teaches, choose the less traveled path it makes all the difference. And it does.

the view along the water

Alabama Jack’s, the ideal stop (58000 Card Sound Rd), truly epitomizes the essence of the Florida Keys. The biker bar setting provides the classic Keys vibe. The kitchen serves fresh seafood and the bar pours refreshing cocktails to tourists, travelers, and locals alike. Noted for its legendary conch fritters (a must order) afternoons can easily slip away with live music and waterfront views. Whether it’s the stop that starts or finishes a trip to the Keys, it is one most often talked about.

Florida Keys Sailboat Charter

The upper keys also provide a numerous activities to do on the water. None may be better than to experience the captivating clear water, sensational sunsets, or spectacular stars in the night sky from a sail boat. Sunshine Coast Adventures located at mm 94.5 offers both ASA sponsored sailing lessons and an option to charter the boat for a few days.

A charter onboard the Indian Summer II includes all your meals (organic) and quite comfortable accommodations. The Captain, Jennifer MacLean will plot a course that navigates the best of the Keys. And in the evening she provides the entertainment on board with stories from her travels or with songs from her guitar.

Kayak through the Mangroves of Matacumbe

Another experience available is the opportunity to paddle through and explore the majestic mangroves ecosystem. A guided tour from the Kayak Shack at Robbie’s Marina located at mm 77.5 provides the navigation through the willowy waterways.

The tour also includes a discussion of the protected lands, interesting Florida Keys historical trivia and a chance to see endangered crocodiles, tropical fish, and the countless birds that fill this backcountry. It is also recommended to bring a cooler and a camera. Patrons then toast to the memories made on the water and preserve them with that perfect picture as a souvenir. A picture just like a Florida Keys Kayak Sunset

So whether it’s a trip to Alabama Jack’s, a Sunset Sail or a Kayak tour, adventure clearly begins in the Upper Keys on a Florida Keys vacation.

stay adventurous, Craig



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