This is the Florida Scenic Highway (US 1) also known as the Overseas Highway. This is the only way in or out of The Florida Keys. Leaving Homestead, Florida is where these bright blue concrete traffic barriers begin. I could feel my excitement build as soon as I saw these. The farther into the islands we got, the more my heart chakra opened up. By the time we go to Long Key, I could feel all of this pent up love and emotion pouring from my heart. It continued the entire time we were there.
Our first stop was at Long Key State Park. If you are wanting to go to the Keys, but don’t want to pay $300-$600 a night at a hotel, camping RIGHT ON THE BEACH for a much lower rate might be right up your alley… it sure was ours! You can check out their rates here: http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/long-key-sp/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=FL&parkId=281050
This is the first piece of coral I found on my trip… about the size of a quarter.
I found out from a local that these lovely shrubs are Sea Grapes. She assured me that these grapes are very much edible and make great jam. We found some very large sand crabs living under them. They were very elusive and wouldn’t let me take their photo.
This is where we ate our first night. They have a delicious gourmet menu, great wine, and wonderful service. You can check out their site here: http://www.greenturtleinn.com/
Sunrise at Long Key State Park… steals your heart, doesn’t it? (Insert sigh here)
On our way to Key West, we decided to stop at Bahai Honda State Park. Wow is this place awesome! White sand, clear water… a few too many people for my personal liking, but well worth the pit stop. http://bahiahondapark.com/
Our first stop in Key West was to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. We had to get a drink and a blinkie cup…
Did you know that if your alcoholic beverage is in a plastic cup you can walk around Key West with it? Now you do. 😉 http://www.margaritavillekeywest.com/
Next up is The Hog’s Breath Saloon. Have you figured out what Key West is famous for?
They concocted a fruity drink just for me while we were here. Great people. Be aware, there are livestream cameras all over this bar. Great to say Hi to your friends, NOT great if you’re incognito. http://www.hogsbreath.com/keywest/
While walking around town I caught site of these beautiful townhomes tucked down an alley. They begged to have their picture taken. I obliged.
I just love nature. You’ll find a lot of pictures of flora and fauna on this site. Get ready, here comes another one.
Isn’t this tree gorgeous? It was next to our parking lot. But wait, there’s more.
I love this yard. If I lived in Key West, my yard would look like this.
This was my last photo of Key West… at sunset.
These are Mangrove Trees. I just love them and I want to go on a paddleboard adventure through them. We went snorkeling this day at John Pennekamp State Park but I neglected to buy a waterproof camera so I don’t have pictures to share of that. Lesson learned. Next time. http://pennekamppark.com/snorkeling-tours/
We stopped at Wahoo’s Bar and Grill in Islamorada for supper on our way back to the campground. WOW! This restaurant is AMAZING! Their chef Steve was wonderful! For those of you who don’t know, I have celiac disease and I can’t eat gluten. We really wanted to try conch, but it is always served breaded and fried. Steve was so very sweet and sautéed it in garlic lemon butter. (Pictured above). It was delicious!
Spiral steak and lobster tail. AMAZING! I recommend this restaurant to everyone who travels to the Keys. http://www.wahoosbarandgrill.com/
This is what happens when you forget to stop and get firewood before you go gallivanting around… you use a lantern.
This was my last picture taken from our campsite as we were packing to leave. My heart broke at the thought of having to leave this place.
The Keys touched my soul so deeply that before we left to fly home, I stopped and got a map of The Florida Keys Tattooed on my side. I will be back, my love, my Islands. THAT is a promise.