Florida Keys for Families a to z guide
RETAIL, BIKE TOURS AND PATHS
Family biking can be lots of fun and safe when parent supervised. Remind the kids to observe road signs, stay to the right and go over traffic laws. Check rental bikes to see if wheels are tight and breaks are working properly. Make sure clothing and any gear won't get tangled in the chain or spokes.
The single most effective safety device available to reduce injury is a helmet. Wear a helmet. Florida law requires that riders and passengers under 16 years of age wear a bike helmet that is properly fitted and fasteneed securely by a strap to the rider's head. tyhis includes trailers and semi-tralers attached to bikes. Bicyclists have to obey all traffic laws like a car diver or motorcyclist.
Pigeon Key Visitors' Center on Knight's Key - Marathon MM 47 The old Seven Mile Bridge ( 2 miles ride) is a great place to bike. Rent bikes from the Pigeon Key Visitor's Center Knight's Key 305-743-5999.
All Aqua Adventures MM 48 - located behind Hampton Inn and Suites in Marathon. Primarily a watersport vendor All Aqua Adventures offers bike rentals. Path with access to the Old Seven Mile Bridge, 305-743-6628
Equipment Locker Sport and Bicycle MM 53, Marathon 305-289-1670, also Key Largo 305-453-0140. sales, repairs bike rentals by the day and week. Pack a lunch, bike to historic Pigeon Key, tour the island and museum, and have a picnic.
The Long Key Bridge (2.5 miles each way) is another good biking bridge. Shorter in length are the Tom's Harbor Bridges - MM 61
Duck Key - Hawk's Cay Resort - MM 61
Bike rentals are just one of the amenities the the destination resort of Hawks Cay has for guests staying at the resort. Several rental packages also include a day's free bike rental for families. The resort and Island of Duck Key is relatively safe for biking provided parents keep a close watch. Speed limits on island roads are 25 mph and the roads are not heavily traveled. There are no sidewalks or bike paths and caution has to be used when crossing the island's arched bridges.
Key Colony Beach Marina - MM 53.5 586 Sixth Street, Key Colony
The City of Key Colony has a bicycle path and the beach marina provides bike rentals. 305-289-1310. Key Colony is also a good place for golf for children.
Bikes at Reflections Kayak Nature Tours - Lower Keys, MM 28.5
While this business specializes in kayak nature tours they also rent bikes for use in the lower Keys. 305-872 -2896
Big Pine Bicycle Center County Road 305-872-0130
Bicyclists looking for adventure can explore the 50 plus miles of Key Deer trails on Big Pine Key. The trails are readily found as they are marked by signs identifying the Key Deer Refuge. Signs also mark areas which are off limits. The adventure part is finding Key Deer, and may involve crossing a ditch or two or dragging the bike over or under a fallen tree limb. Bikes and information may be obtained from the Big Pine Bicycle Center. County Road, Big Pine, 305-872-0130
A safe bike tour is possible through Upper and Lower Matacumbe MM 72 to MM 90 Bike rentals available at Tavernier Bicycle and Hobbies - 91958 Overseas Highway ,MM 92, Tavernier, 305-852-2859
There are number of places to rent bikes in Key West. Several are located on Truman Avenue and two are on Duval Street.
Lloyd's Key West Nature Bike Tour - Kids love taking field trips in school. The Key West Nature Bike Tour provides a guided field trip of the "real Key West" and takes you along the back streets of the city. A easy ride with lots of local lore and stops to sample many of the island's exotic fruits ( mango, coconuts, starfruit, sapodillas, Key Limes and more) and smell the fragrance of its tropical flowers like Gardenia, Frangipani and Jasmine) . Call 305-294-1882
The Bike Shop, 1110 truman Ave., Key West, 305-294-1073
Island Bicycles and Skateboards, 929 Truman Avenue, Key west, 305-292-9707
Tropical Bicycle and Scooter Rentals - 1300 Duval Street, Key West, 305-294-8136
BIKING ROUTE FROM UPPER KEYS TO KEY WEST - for serious teen and adult bikers
Overseas Heritage Trail
Presently (2006) the Overseas Heritage Trail consists of about 30 miles of trail with the major completed portion in the Upper Keys. There are long sections of the Keys where no trail exists. Completion of the 106-mile traiol is expected by 2009 or 2010 if funding is provided. For bikers wishing to travel the Keys to Key West, they no choice but to bike on the shoulder of the Overseas Highway for a good part of the way.
Upper to Middle Keys Portion - Mile Marker 106 to MM 47
Parallel Roads less used - There are sections in the Keys where the road is divided or a road or path runs parallel to the highway. A four lane divided highway in Key Largo runs from mile marker 106 to MM 91.
You then cross a short bridge (Tavernier Creek Bridge at mile marker 91) going from Tavernier to Plantation Key and can ride on an off road (Old U.S. 1) which runs parallel to new US 1 from MM 91 to 87. Minimum traffic on this portion.
There are also portions of the old road on Windley Key from MM 85.5 to 84 and again in Islamorada from 83 to MM 81
Pedestrian/Cycle Paths between Plantation Key and Lower Matecumbe Key - locations of pedestrian/bicycle pathways and bicycle lanes within Islamorada, used for recreation
Plantation Key - MM MM 90 - 86.7 - West side of frontage road
Plantation Key - U.S. 1 at MM 86 - Bayview Isle Drive - Both sides of Venetian Boulevard
Upper Matecumbe at south end of Whale Harbor Channel Bridge - MM 83.8 - MM 83.3 - Bay side of U.S. 1
Upper Matecumbe - MM 83.3 - MM 82.5 - Both sides of U.S. 1
Tea Table Relief - MM 80.2 - MM 79.8 - Bay side of U.S. 1
North end of Lignumvitae Channel Bridge to south end of Teatable Relief Bridge - MM 79.7 - MM 77.7- Both sides of U.S.1
Lower Matecumbe Key Tollgate Boulevard to south end of Lignumvitae Channel Bridge - MM 77.5 - MM 73.7 - Bay side frontage road
From mm 80 to mm 68 on Long Key you have to contend with highway traffic.
Long Key - Starting at MM 68 in Long Key bilers can travel to Grassy Key anda good part of the trip can be traversed on a walking/ bike path by the Long Key State Park and two old Overseas Highway Bridges which end at MM 60.
Beginning around MM 58 an old road (RECENTLY PAVED BIKE PATH) runs parallel to US 1 through much of Grassy Key to Marathon Shores where the highway divides again.
Sidewalk, walking and bike path also runs parallel to US 1 through much of Marathon to the Seven Mile Bridge at MM 47.
Lower Keys - US 1 from MM 47 to Key WestThe Seven Mile Bridge is the worse portion of the trip because of traffic and wind, but the Bridge does offer a narrow lane for bikers. Two lanes and little shoulder to speak of from MM 47 to MM 40. The next 36 miles to Key West for much of the distance is two laned also leave biker exposed.
Pedestrian/Cycle Paths - locations of pedestrian/bicycle pathways and bicycle lanes within Lower keys , used for recreation
Big Pine - Key Deer Refuge and No Name Key: available for biking are fire roads and trails on refuge land. Stop at areas marked “Area beyond this sign closed.” Directions and map at the Big Pine Bicycle Center (listed above)
Lower Keys - US Mile Marker 27.8 - Middle Torch and Big Torch Keys - Park in gravel along Middle Torch Road off of US 1. About 15 miles transit with little traffic and lots of wildlife to see.
Lower Keys - Cudjoe Key: US Mile Marker 22, turn off the Overseas Highway oceanside onto Look Down Lane. Follow to Cutthroat and make a right and continue to Refuge land trail.
Lower Keys - Mile Marker 19.5 - Sugarloaf Key - paved Bike path from Crane Blvd. to Florida Bay. At Sugarloaf School, turn right onto Crane Boulevard, drive to the gate blocking the road and park. Road continues for1.5 miles.
Lower Keys - MM 17 - residential area - Park at Sugarloaf Lodge, cross US 1 to oceanside to find a wonderful low traffic bike path (15 miles round trip )
Also Mile marker 17, from blinking light, make a left onto Sugarloaf Boulevard. Continue 1.5 miles, then turn right at stop sign, continue for additional three miles to road end at gate. Bikers may cycle another 4 miles, path overgrown and trail bike required
The Overseas Heritage Trail resumes at mile marker 15. Much of the trail along this stretch is covered with debris.
Starting at MM 4 you're in Key West with many side streets where they say more people per capita go to work by bike than any other US city. My wife and I took our bikes to Key West in our truck last week and had a great time exploring the island for two days.
To get additional information you may want to contact the Big Pine Bicycle Center at 305-872-0130 or Tavernier Bicycle 305-852-2859 or contact Equipment Locker Sport and Bicycle MM 53, of Marathon 305-289-1670, and Key Largo 305-453-0140.
Bikers making the trip seem to have done OK. Some have slept behind libraries or in camp grounds with permission.
A to Z INDEX OF CATEGORIES
SAILING - LESSONS, SAILBOAT RENTALS, SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT
SANDALS AND SHOES
SCHOOLS - REGISTRATION, IMMUNIZATION (public),
SNORKELING AND SNUBA,
SUNSET CELEBRATIONS AND CRUISES
YOUTH GROUPS, ORGANIZATIONS, AND CENTERS (see also CAMPS),
ZOOS (see ANIMALS )
BY FLORIDA KEYS BEST
Florida Keys Best
386 East Seaview Drive
Marathon, Florida 33050