About the The Middle Florida Keys
Big Pine Key
Mile Markers 29.5-33 -- Big Pine Key is part of the Lower Florida Keys and is home to the Key Deer. This protected species of smaller white tail deer roam the unspoiled tropical wilderness that makes this area unique. Far from being overcrowded, the pace of life on Big Pine is casual and relaxed. You can dive Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, go offshore fishing or relax in the Florida Keys backcountry while flats fishing. Bahia Honda State Park is nearby for an afternoon picnic or canoe trip. (Source: http://thefloridakeys.com/bigpine)
Mile Markers 28 & 29 -- The three Torch Keys are at mile marker 28 and 29 on the Overseas Highway. There are three keys -- Little, Middle and Big Torch. They were probably given their base name, "Torch," because of the native torchwood tree, Amyris elemifera. The islands' most likely claim to fame was as a relatively frequent fishing destination for President Harry S. Truman. Little Torch Key is the most densely populated of the three islands and it's also home to a couple of commercial ventures, including a restaurant and a resort. The famous Little Palm Island Resort & Spa has its land base on Little Torch.
Mile Marker 26-27.5 -- Originally named Roberts Island, Ramrod Key was renamed for a ship named Ramrod, which was wrecked on a reef south of there in the early 19th century. Up to the time Henry Flagler built U.S. 1 also known as The Overseas Highway the only building on Ramrod was a post office that was alongside the train tracks. It is a popular tourist site due to the short distance between the island and Looe reef. Some of the things you can find on Ramrod Key are, the 5 Brothers 2 store, the Boondocks bar and putt-putt course.
Mile Marker 24 to 25.5 -- Summerland Key is midway between the cities of Marathon and Key West. The island contains mostly single-family residential properties, with several commercial properties arrayed along U.S. 1. It is home to the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base’s Brinton Environmental Center and a field station for the Sarasota-based Mote Marine Laboratory. There is a private 2,550-foot-long community airstrip located just south of U.S. 1 on West Shore Drive (mile marker 25). Commercial ventures on U.S. 1 include restaurants, two gas stations, a hardware store, a marina and a small, locally owned grocery store. The majority of the island’s development is on its south side (oceanside), where there is a mix of canalfront, oceanfront and dry lot homes.
Mile Marker 20.5 to 23 -- Like its neighbor to the north, Cudjoe Key’s development is primarily south of the Overseas Highway toward the ocean. The island is home to Venture Out, a waterfront resort-style development with a mix of long-term residents and vacation rentals. Outside of Venture Out, the island’s east end consists primarily of single-family homes built along canals or on open water. Toward the island’s west end is Cudjoe Gardens, a development made up of mostly ground-level, concrete-block homes built on elevated canalfront lots. The deed-restricted neighborhood caters to boaters with its own marina. There are several commercial ventures along the highway, including restaurants, day spas, fish houses and a fitness center. There is sparse development on the island’s north side, with most of it dedicated to preservation. One of Cudjoe Key’s most famous landmarks usually can be seen floating north of the highway, about halfway down the island. “Fat Albert” as it’s known to the locals, is a tethered radar system reportedly used by the U.S. government to monitor activity in the Florida Straits and to broadcast an American television signal into Cuba.
Key Colony Beach is about 50 miles driving distance to Key West and It will take you about an hour and a half to get here from the mainland (Dade).