There’s a wide variety of stops along U.S. Highway 1 headed toward Key West, from 30-foot tall lobster sculptures to seafood restaurants. Here we’ve rounded up some of the best stops for animal lovers.
Make a meaningful, quick stop at the bird sanctuary in Tavernier, Key Largo. The facility acts as a humane, natural refuge for over 90 non-releasable birds that represent nearly 40 different species, from owls to blue jays. Open daily from sunrise to sunset. It is free, but bring cash to make a donation for a great cause. Also, try to time your trip to catch a pelican feeding at 8am and 2:30 pm daily. 93600 Overseas Hwy., Tavernier, FL
This hotel-turned-hospital is a rehabilitation center that treats injured turtles before releasing them back into the wild. Take a guided tour to learn all about sea turtles, and take a gander at the 100,000-gallon swimming pool that was converted into a saltwater tidal pool for the permanently disabled turtles. Admission is $25 and reservations are highly recommended during peak season. Call (305) 743-2552 ahead of time to ensure your spot. 2396 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL
See where the small Key deer roam by stopping at the National Key Deer Refuge. They’ll direct you to the right areas for spotting these endangered herbivores around Big Pine Key. Open 10am-3pm Tuesday-Saturday. Find them at their new location at 30587 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL or call ahead at (305) 872-0774.
Want to escape winter? Book your trip to Key West in the Sunshine State. See special offers at The Gates Hotel, recognized by Condé Nast for its stellar accommodations in Key West.