Unusual Roadside Attractions Along US 1
If you're headed to Key West, you're probably partial to things that are a bit off-beat. The Florida Keys are teeming with character! Here are five quirky spots along US Highway 1 to add some more color into your travels.
Big Betsy, the Giant Spiny Lobster
86700 Overseas Hwy., Islamorada, FL
You can’t miss this 30-foot high Florida spiny lobster on US Highway 1. Located at the Rain Barrel Artisans' Village in Marathon, Betsy was made by sculptor Richard Blaze back in the 1980s. Today, she stands at mile marker 86.7 and is a popular stop for photos along the highway. Make sure to check out the specialty shops, galleries, and boutiques inside the village as well.
Tarpon Feeding at Robbie's
77522 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL
Visitors can pay for a bucket of fish and entry to Robbie's Marina, where 100+ tarpon linger under the surface of the water. Hold the bait over the water and watch as these huge fish jump out to claim their food! It's a refreshing stop along the way. There's also the Hungry Tarpon Restaurant where you can dine on the water.
Flipper's Grave at the Dolphin Research Center
58901 Overseas Hwy., Grassy Key, FL
For a strange little stop along US Highway 1, visit the grave of the original Flipper the bottlenose dolphin. The dolphin's real name was actually Mitzi, and she starred as Flipper in the 1963 film and TV series that ran from 1964 to 1968. Mitzi died in 1972, and today her grave can be found at the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key. The center is billed as an educational facility that offers dolphin encounters and other programming.
2396 Overseas Hwy., Marathon, FL
This hotel-turned-hospital is a rehabilitation center that treats injured sea turtles before releasing them back into the wild. Take a guided tour to learn all about sea turtles and view the 100,000-gallon swimming pool that was converted into a saltwater tidal pool for permanently disabled turtles. Admission to the Turtle Hospital is $30 for adults and reservations are highly recommended during peak season. Call (305) 743-2552 ahead of time to ensure your spot.
Adult Milkshakes at M.E.A.T.
88005 Overseas Hwy., Marathon, FL
M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom is known for its delicious in-house smoked meats, but another draw to this fun burger joint is their "adult milkshakes," made with craft beer and homemade ice cream. Try a Guinness blended with Nutella ice cream for dessert.
Bridge to Nowhere
This old stretch of highway is part of the Old Seven Mile Bridge, which connects Knight's Key in the Middle Keys to Little Duck in the Lower Keys. Park on Little Duck Key and walk north along the Overseas Heritage Trail for the best view.
Booking a trip to Key West? Check out special offers at The Gates Hotel.