Key Largo and Islamorada
To get to the Keys from Florida City you first have to drive the "18 Mile Corridor". This part of US1 has blue barriers all along the roadway and a very tall chain link fence just off the pavement.
At first we thought the fence must be to keep wildlife off the road, but then we saw a sign for a Juvenile Detention Facility and decided those must be some very bad juveniles.
Since US1 is also the Overseas Highway, part of the corridor continues over water.
Boats passing under the highway at Key Largo.
We had heard that John Pennekamp State Park was a great place to snorkel, swim and kayak and stopped there first. We learned that the parking is free Monday thru Friday, but on Labor Day Weekend it was going to cost more than we wanted to pay. This being a low-budget trip, we decided to save this park for another day.
We didn't have too far to go to find a really great spot on Islamorada. Once you are in the Keys you use Mile Markers to know where you are, starting with MM107 in Key Largo and ending with MM0 in Key West. We saw a nice little beach at MM88 in Islamorada, and pulled in to check it out.
A sandy, shady beach where we could launch our kayaks.
All our kayaks lined up and ready to go.
We explored down the coast a bit, enjoying the mix of old and new homes along the waterfront.
My first Iguanna sighting. I was to learn that they are everywhere in the Keys.
Abby kayaking bayside.
After exploring a while we headed back to the resort.
We snorkeled, swam and floated around the beach.
There was an outdoor bar/restaurant that played good music and served a great blackened mahi sandwich.
After a full day in the sun and water we were all tired out and ready for our airconditioned hotel room.
It rained again that evening, but we were ready to turn in anyway so it didn't matter. There was a tropical storm in the Gulf side and a hurricane on the Atlantic side, but they were heading north and we were heading south, so every day the weather got better and the water got clearer.
After another good nights rest and about 10 cups of coffee to get us moving the next morning, we took off down the 18 Mile Corridor again.