By Shayne Benowitz
Having lived in Key West for three years, I’ve certainly driven on the Overseas Highway from Key West to Miami more than once. When it comes to taking a trip out of Key West, I have to admit, I much prefer catching a quick flight out of the airport. Recently, though, it was unavoidable. I hopped into my rental car solo and hit the open road with the radio thumping and headed north towards Miami.
No doubt, the Overseas Highway is definitely one of the most scenic drives in the United States. The road hopscotches over one marshy key to the next with wide swatches of milky blue water as far as the eye can see. I noticed more than one tourist inbound to Key West hanging out of a window or through the sunroof with digital camera in hand, hoping to capture a snapshot of the unique vistas.
There are a few particularly stunning stretches of the highway. Bahia Honda State Park at mile marker 37 is an inviting cove. The ocean laps against a crescent of sandy beach sheltered by wildly green palm trees and foliage. It has the feeling of an undiscovered private beach, perfect for a relaxing afternoon or an overnight campout.
Drive three more miles and you’ve reached the famous Seven Mile Bridge, which extends over Moser Channel to the City of Marathon. This floating bridge is one of the longest in the world. You’ll be surprised that two or three songs can play on the radio before you even make it to the other side. The panorama from your car driving on this solitary stretch of road with the aqua-green ocean all around you is pretty spectacular.
What also makes the drive interesting is that portions of the former Overseas Railroad can be seen running parallel to the road. Henry Flagler built the railroad in 1908. This was the original means of transportation by land to the remote Keys. Today, you’ll notice that the former railroad tracks are used as pedestrian pathways and leisurely fishing outposts.
Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crewmember and freelance writer working on her debut novel. For more travel stories and a daily dose of what’s cool around the globe visit her Wanderlust Website at http://web.me.com/shaynebeth.