The Florida Keys Overseas Highway is the only roadway that stretches through the entire Florida Keys, and it’s also Florida’s only federally designated All-American Road. Officially it’s U.S. Highway 1 — but because it features more than 40 bridges over water, it’s often referred to as the “Highway that Goes to Sea.”
Matty enjoys oysters and beer during a stop along the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. (Photo by Ashley Serrate, Florida Keys News Bureau)
Yet no matter what you call the road, you’ll find an amazing variety of sights and activities to enjoy as you travel its miles.
To highlight some of the most memorable stops, “special correspondent” Matty Meltzer — who happens to be both an intrepid traveler and a wisecracking puppet (yes, really!) — was commissioned to chronicle his adventures during a road trip through the Keys.
Matty takes visitors on a video journey along the Overseas Highway beginning at Key Largo, the first island community at the top of the Keys. There, he sips cocktails where Humphrey Bogart filmed parts of the classic “Key Largo,” learns how a local nonprofit cares for winged creatures, and embarks on a cruise aboard the original African Queen.
The African Queen, by the way, is the actual vessel that starred in John Huston’s 1951 film “The African Queen” with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn — and guess who gets to take the wheel?
Traveling on to Islamorada, the puppet correspondent learns firsthand why the region is called the sport fishing capital of the world. He also meets a VERY large lobster (her name is Betsy, and she provides one of the Keys’ best selfie opportunities), checks out Islamorada’s flourishing art scene and discovers the fascinating history of scuba diving.
Once Matty arrives at Marathon, he explores the underwater world from the safety of dry land (because puppets can’t get wet!) and gets up close and personal with some intriguing sea creatures. He also journeys across the iconic Seven Mile Bridge with a stop at the Pigeon Key National Historic Landmark.
Matty ends his Florida Keys Overseas Highway journey in Key West, where he stops for a selfie at the oceanside Southernmost Point marker. (Photo by Ashley Serrate, Florida Keys News Bureau)
Pigeon Key, as Matty finds out, was once a camp for workers building the original Seven Mile Bridge — a pivotal part of the railroad that, in 1912, connected the Florida Keys’ islands to the mainland and to each other for the very first time.
Moving on to Big Pine & the Lower Keys, Matty undertakes a unique kayaking experience and visits one of the island chain’s most acclaimed beaches (with a historic twist). In addition, he tries to spot an elusive and diminutive Key deer — all before heading for his final stop at the continental United States’ southernmost city.
Upon arriving at Key West, Matty views a spectacular sunset from one of the highest points on the island. He also follows in the footsteps of some of the city’s most famous current and former residents — while taking video viewers along to share the fun.
If you’re interested in embarking on a road trip this summer or fall, the Florida Keys Overseas Highway offers all-American adventures that shouldn’t be missed. And there’s no better guide for the journey than Matty Meltzer.
For videos of Matty’s exploration of Key Largo, Islamorada and Marathon, visit the Florida Keys’ YouTube channel. And stay tuned to the island chain’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages for the debut of more videos chronicling the plucky puppet’s road trip.