Best stops on the Overseas Highway – Big Pine Key

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.

Big Pine Key

Big Pine Key Deer FawnJust 40 minutes up the road, Big Pine Key’s a peaceful reprieve from the hubbub of Key West.

Unlike the majority of the Florida Keys, which are built from fossilized coral reefs, Big Pine and the Lower Keys are composed of limestone strata. Here you’ll find some of the Florida Keys’ most unique flora and fauna. Pine forests give Big Pine its name.

There are tarpon, bonefish and barracuda in the channels between the mangrove-rimmed islands.

Big Pine and the Lower Keys are one of the last remaining homes of the Key deer, the endangered knee-high species that’s learned to exist among the shallow bays.

One of the best ways to round off a day is to head to the No Name Pub, a seafood and pizza restaurant that’s been a Big Pine Key institution since 1936.

No Name Pub, North Watson Blvd 1 1/2 mi. north of US 1, Big Pine Key, FL 33043;

Source: Florida Keys: Best stops on the Overseas Highway – CNN.com

Read More on the Key Deer – Things to do in the Lower Keys and Lower Keys Job Listings.

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