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The Florida Keys are known for sportfishing, boating, scuba diving, and entertainment.
Whether you want to relax on the beaches or soak up the nightlife into the early morning hours, there’s something for everyone in the Florida Keys. But to get to the Keys and travel through them, you’ll need to take some bridges.
And the main one is the Overseas Highway. This archipelago has dozens of bridges connecting the Florida Keys islands. Let’s take a look at just how many bridges there are!
Where Are the Florida Keys?
Off the southern coast of Florida is a coral cay archipelago called the Florida Keys. Miami is about 15 miles from the northeast end, and Key West is the westernmost inhabited city. Key West is also about 93 miles from Cuba.
About 73,000 people live in the Florida Keys, but millions of tourists visit the islands yearly. Tourism is a huge part of the local economy. Scuba diving is very popular because of the Florida Reef, the third-largest barrier reef system in the world.
How Many Islands Make Up the Florida Keys?
About 1,700 islands comprise the Florida Keys, but most remain uninhabitable and unreachable. For example, although you can visit Dry Tortugas National Park, which comprises seven islands, no one lives there.
Key West ends the habitable land area of the Florida Keys. Here, you’ll find the famous “Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.A.” attraction.
Read More: See what makes each island of the Florida Keys so unique and learn their names!
How Many Bridges Are There in the Florida Keys?
Because the Florida Keys are a chain of islands, they have dozens of bridges. US Highway 1 runs from Homestead down to Key West.
Forty-two bridges connect the Overseas Highway from Key Largo to Key West. You can make it through the Keys in less than four hours if you don’t stop.
The Jewfish Creek drawbridge is the entrance to Key Largo from Everglades National Park. You’ll cross the Marvin Adams Waterway Bridge a few miles down the road. And the Tavernier Creek Bridge will take you into the popular island town of Islamorada.
The Seven Mile Bridge begins at mile marker 47, connecting the Middle and Lower Keys. Throughout these islands, you’ll travel over bridges as much as on roadways on land.
What’s the Longest Bridge in the Florida Keys?
The Seven Mile Bridge is the longest and most famous of the bridges in the Florida Keys. It connects Knight’s Key in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys.
Although it’s called the Seven Mile Bridge, it’s actually only 6.79 miles long. It takes about 10 minutes to drive the entire length.
What’s the Oldest Bridge in the Florida Keys?
The Old Seven Mile Bridge is the oldest of the bridges in the Florida Keys. However, it’s no longer part of the highway system. Pedestrians can still walk, jog, and bike the Old Seven Mile Bridge.
Originally constructed in early 1900, the Old Seven Mile Bridge was part of Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad.
The new Seven Mile Bridge, built in the 1980s, replaced the old bridge, which then closed to vehicular traffic. You’ll find the Old Seven Mile Bridge listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2016, the Old Seven Mile Bridge closed to walkers and bikers. It underwent major repairs and reconstruction and reopened to foot traffic and bicycles in January 2022.
Are RVs Permitted on the Bridges in the Florida Keys?
To get to the islands in a vehicle, everyone must travel over the bridges in the Florida Keys. This includes RVs. It’s one of the most beautiful and scenic drives in America.
Even the largest Class As won’t have any trouble on the Overseas Highway. Parts of it are two lanes, while others are single lanes.
However, prepare for heavy traffic. The speed limits are strictly enforced, so pay attention to the changing limits as they vary from 35 to 55 miles per hour.
Since the Keys are a popular area for tourists, be cautious of pedestrians crossing the roads and cyclists on the side.
Are Bicyclists Allowed on the Bridges in the Florida Keys?
Bicyclists are allowed on the bridges in the Florida Keys. In fact, the Old Seven Mile Bridge has become a walking and biking path. The $44 million restoration project created new decking and pedestrian and bicycle handrails.
The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is also a popular biking area. It expands 106 miles, but some bikers complain about the unsafe conditions of some parts of the trail.
It’s also important to note that some bike bridges in the Lower Keys remain closed due to damage from Hurricane Ian.
Keep in Mind: Looking for unique attractions in Florida? Then you need to learn about Monkey Island, one of Florida’s most unusual tourist attractions!
When Is the Best Time to Visit the Florida Keys?
If you want to travel the bridges in the Florida Keys to enjoy the tropical scenery, you’re not alone. The Keys stay crowded with snowbirds in winter and vacationers in summer.
However, April and May are the “sweet spot” for avoiding crowds. The weather will get warmer, but the snowbirds will start to leave, and the vacationers will have yet to arrive.
Enjoy the Beautiful Scenery as You Drive Through the Florida Keys
The 42 bridges of the Florida Keys play a vital role in connecting the hundreds of islands southwest of the Sunshine State. You can witness beautiful sunrises or sunsets, gaze out at a sea of dazzling blue, and perhaps catch a boat sighting with snorkelers exploring the coral reef.
Your drive from Key Largo to Key West will take several hours, so why not enjoy the journey?