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MIAMI to EVERGLADES to KEY WEST - check my summary

MIAMI to EVERGLADES to KEY WEST - check my summary

Old Jun 10th, 2007, 04:58 PM
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 861
MIAMI to EVERGLADES to KEY WEST - check my summary

Thanks to everyone who has been helping me plan our trip to Miami, the Everglades and Key West. I spent some time today putting the tips together in order. A lot of them have to do with the day we plan to drive from Miami to Key West, stopping at the Everglades on the way. Since I was putting together, a bunch of notes, perhaps someone can read through what I put together and make sure I didn't turn something around backwards. Perhaps too, the summary might help someone else planning the same trip.

Is the Robert is Here fruit stand between the Shell station and the entrance to the Everglades?

I reworded some of the notes - but I have just copied others. Thanks to keymom for a lot of this information and the others who helped. To make it easier to read, I'll copy my notes into the first reply.

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Old Jun 10th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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Coral Castle Hours: Sunday–Thursday, 8 am–6 pm; Friday–Saturday, 8: am–9 pm
Coral Castle is on the way to the Keys and the Everglades. Coral Castle is pretty cool, though, it shouldn't take too long to go through. Coral Castle is on US-1 on the way to the Everglades - do it first so you don't backtrack.

Fruit and Spice Park is a nice place, however, unless you are a garden lover, it might be a bit repetitive if you do go to Fairchild. It's down in the direction of the Everglades/Coral Castle, if you do decide to go.


1. From Miami, you'll take the Florida Turnpike south to get to the Keys. (Avoid RT I-95 which is free but has many congestion problems. Avoid US 1 – it is slow and boring.) The turnpike ends in Florida City with a traffic light (Shell gas station on far right corner). You'll turn right there to get to the Everglades.

(Homestead, near Florida City, has many more chain type food places including a Cracker Barrel.)

VISITOR CENTER: There is a visitor center in Florida City and another one right as you enter the Florida Keys (after the "18 mile stretch") Both of these are staffed by people who make commissions on booking rooms, tours, etc. You don't have to book anything, however, to pick up brochures and get advice.

BROCHURES: Best are Keynoter (Key West weekly newspaper 25 cents), See Key West magazine, and brochure with Key West restaurant menus.

You'll see "ROBERT IS HERE" fruit stand. Going or coming, take a break at Robert is Here. Famous for fresh fruit milkshakes (strawberry Key Lime is my favorite) - also good fruits and veggies.

2. After you turn right at the Shell station, follow the road to the National Park entrance. Stop at the ERNEST COE VISITOR CENTER for an overview of the Everglades. Allow 20-30 minutes tops. Buy a plastic card to identify the birds.

3. Get back on road for 5-10 min to the ROYAL PALM VISITOR CENTER. Next to it is the ANHINGA TRAIL, a 1/2 mile boardwalk through a sawgrass marsh. There is wildlife such as alligators, birds, and fish. (Anhinga is a type of bird.) Wear long sleeves, pants and bug spray. Take the ranger led tour if timing works out.
Anhinga Amble: 10:30 daily and 3:30 MWF - Ranger led walk - 50 minutes
Glades Glimpse: 1:30 PM Meet at Royal Palms benches - 20 minutes

Gumbo Limbo trail is right next to Anhinga Trail – but is not really worth taking.

After Anhinga Trail, you can continue on towards Flamingo - - - there are several stop offs along the way with different habitats. The turnoff right after Royal Palm (Pine something) is where you can picnic. Bring your own food because there are no food concessions in the park. I don't think you need to go all the way to Flamingo to get a good Everglades experience.

If you want to go on an airboat, then you'll need to head up to the Tamiami Trail (maybe 1 hour or so from Key Largo). I don't like the boats because they are way too loud and you don't really see much. I would rather spend that money on an eco tour boat ride in the Keys. But if you've never been, then it is an experience.

4. Head back to Florida City. Turn right back onto US 1 and go past all the fast food places/ As "town" ends, you'll see a sign directing you to Card Sound Road (the road is on your left). Given the construction on US 1, you will be better off taking Card Sound. It dead ends into a T. Turn right and keep going. You'll get to Key Largo. Enjoy the Everglades - they are a unique environment.

Leaving lots of time for "slippage", you'll be back on US 1 to the Keys by noon. The milk shake will hold you over so you can have lunch in a water front place (like Islamorada Fish Company MM 84 or so). Then on to Key West. Even with an hour lunch stop, you'll be in KW well before sunset.

When you leave Florida City you may want to take Card Sound Road to Key Largo. It pulls off to the left just as you leave Florida City. You could have lunch at Alabama Jacks; it’s just before the toll bridge on Card Sound..... By taking Card Sound Road you will miss the most dangerous section of US-1 going to the Keys.

The turnpike ended in Florida City at the traffic light (where we turned to get to the Everglades). After that, the road is US1. It runs through Florida City (less than a mile?) and then whizzes through another part of the Everglades. That part is called the 18 mile stretch. Due to construction, we’d be better off taking Card Sound Round. After Florida City, there’s a chance to turn left onto Card Sound. Once on it, follow to the end. You'll turn right once it dead ends and go another 5-10 minutes before you hook back up with US1. The road is named after the Village of Card Sound which is basically just f few shacks and houseboats clustered around a curve in the road. Right before the toll booth ($1), there is a restaurant called Alabama Jack’s. It qualifies on the quirky quotient if you have time to stop for a meal (but you may want to push through if you are going as far as Key West).

Another quick stop for you on the drive is the new Wayland whaling wall. He painted an entire building in the median at mm 99.2

Just FYI: The first "official" Keys Visitor Center is the Key Largo Visitor's Center & Chamber of Commerce stop at Mile Marker 106. It's on the right-hand side, just after you come off the right-hand bend that puts you onto the Keys proper.

I've found the best site for the Keys is , which seems to be the official one.

Just a note on the Visitor's center in Key Largo: a new one has opened about 1/4 mile up the road from the one run by the Florida Keys Chamber of Commerce; this one is a commercial venue where the people who work there get commissions. It is the first one you will come to on Key Largo; my advice is to pass it up, and a few seconds further down the road you will come to the Chamber of Commerce's visitor's center. They are very helpful.

There are a lot of keys including Duck Key (nice) and Islamorada (arty).

Aim to be in Key West early enough to explore Duval Street. Head to Mallory Square for sunset.

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Old Jun 11th, 2007, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 540
If you email me your snail-mail address I will mail you a copy of the See Key West magazine so that you can check it out before you go. It also has a very good street map of Key West.

Pjk ([email protected])
Peter_krynicki is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2007, 06:38 AM
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No offense but you are crazy going to the Everglades this time of year.

The mosquitos are the size of bats.

Don't forget to hose yourself down with some heavy duty deet.
Old Jun 11th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
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That's very kind of you, Peter.

Well, the good news, I suppose, GoTravel is that the crowds should be down because it will only be us crazy people there. Oh yeah, there's a lot of crazy people in the world (GGG).

If worse comes to worse, we can just get back in the car. We will certainly be a lot closer to the Everglades driving from Miami to Key West than we are right now, so it is on our way so to speak.

This reminds me of when we went to Alaska some time back. I read a lot and was concerned about the mosquitoes. I even saw where you could buy a special outfit that looked a lot like a beekeeper's outfit. I didn't go that far, but I did take some tulle and made a pillowcase like covering for each of us. No, we didn't actually ever wear them.

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Old Jun 11th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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Bring your hats and don't say you weren't warned.

Here is some information.
Old Jun 11th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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Thanks GoTravel. I guess we'll just see how it goes. And I'll remind everyone to shut their car doors as quickly as possible when we get out.

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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 01:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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are the mosquitoes better in early May?
janieanderson is offline  
Old Apr 9th, 2019, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 43
bummer it's not working
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