Offshore in the Florida KeysWhen we were asked to present a workshop on outdoor writing in Florida at the Society of American Travel Writers regional conference in Cape Coral, we decided to build a road trip around the experience.

Summer in Florida is not the time to do hiking research, but as the publishers of Florida Hikes and the authors of a book on the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, it was crucial for us to visit the Florida Keys to see how businesses and natural areas were doing after the impact of Hurricane Irma last year.

We didn’t spend a lot of time hiking. Instead, we brought our bicycles along for the ride, and ended up with one of us or the other being on the water daily for a week.

Early rides and cool breezes let us enjoy Florida’s outdoors in summertime, along with a healthy application of sunscreen and big spray. Here are the destinations we explored over a two-week period.

We had two trips to Key West during this road trip: one by the Key West Express ferryboat from Fort Myers Beach, the other by car and bicycle.

PLANNING RESOURCES: Visit Sarasota | Florida Keys & Key West | The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel | Punta Gorda Englewood Beach | South Dade


Key West Express Key West by Ferry - Using the Key West Express ferryboat instead of spending ten hours driving, we slipped away from Fort Myers Beach for an overnight adventure exploring the best of Key West.
Iguana Key West Eco Tours Wildlife in the Mangroves - Paddling the mangrove tunnels north of Key West with Key West Eco Tours, I'm surprised to discover the wildlife that lives in these offshore forests in the Florida Keys.
Ponce De Leon statue The Pint-sized Ponces of Punta Gorda - Ponce de Leon, it seems, was a short fellow. In Punta Gorda, Florida, you'll find pint-sized statues, murals, and even the Fountain of Youth to recollect his 1513 visit to Charlotte Harbor.
Koreshan State ParkFlorida’s Utopia – At the Koreshan Unity in Estero, Florida, a group of believers gathered in 1894 to begin building their paradise. It is now a National Historic Site and a Florida State Park. Walk the trails and streets of “New Jerusalem” to learn its story.



Venice, Florida

The Legacy Trail
Venetian Waterway Trail

Key West, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Captiva Cruises
Cabbage Key
Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Calusa Blueway
Rotary Park

Punta Gorda, Florida

Babcock Ranch
Babcock Ranch Ecotour
Peace River Gardens
Peace River Wildlife Center
King Fisher Fleet
Linear Park
Ponce De Leon Park

Englewood, Florida

Stump Pass Beach State Park
Cape Haze Pioneer Trail

Estero, Florida

Koreshan Historic State Park

Miami, Florida

Shorty’s BBQ
Pinecrest Wayside Market
The Fish House

Key West, Florida

Overseas Heritage Trail
Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park
Little Hamaca Park
Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

Big Pine Key, Florida

Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge

Marathon, Florida

Islamorada, Florida

Craig’s Restaurant
The Rain Barrel
World Wide Sportsman

Key Largo, Florida