Road trips don’t come more spectacular than the Overseas Highway. Sailing through tropical savanna over the Florida Straits, it links Miami on the mainland with the 180-kilometer-long Florida Keys island chain.
Most visitors head straight to Key West, the southernmost city in the continental United States, but if they stopped along the way they’d find secluded islands, historic shipwrecks and some of the best fishing holes in the country.
Not to mention turtles, dolphins and North America’s smallest species of deer.
The waters of the back country — located practically across the street — teem with mullet, tarpon and trout. “On a scale of one to 10, the fishing here is 9.5 year round,” says Captain Skip Bradeen, who’s led fishing charters off the coast of Islamorada for more than 50 years.
“There’s diversification throughout the area, whether it’s in the back country or just offshore. On one side of the road you’re catching big game, on the other side you’re catching little game.”
Islamorada is also coming into its own as a foodie destination. Local chefs, and transplants from nearby Miami and far-off Napa Valley, work their magic on the day’s catch. An island-inspired SunSessional IPA or Hogfish Amber from Islamorada’s new Florida Keys Brewing Co. are an excellent way to round out a meal.