Driving Florida’s Coastline

Gloria Estefan’s Miami Sound Machine suggested doing the conga, but with Miami as your base there’s so much more to do….

The gorgeous Florida Keys are a set of islands stretching beneath Miami which can be reached in less than 2 hours by car. Take a drive along the slightly-inaccurately-named Seven Mile Bridge (6.765 miles), passing beautiful turquoise seas, palm trees and white sandy beaches. You can see how this area attracts the rich and famous by all the expensive boats you’ll see on your journey. At the far side you’ll find the city of Key West, a port used as a departure point for cruises and where I spent about three hours in a bar talking to a retired engineer about the school buses he built – interesting to me but less so for my designated-driver companion.

Travelling the other side of Miami you pass Fort Lauderdale, where Serena Williams went to art college to study fashion design and where I first experienced a Hooters (everyone goes for the wings), you reach up to the other home of the rich and famous, Palm Beach. The whole route up past Miami and towards Palm Beach is such an interesting terrain, as you have a thin strip of land with the beaches and then saltwater lagoons behind it, many of which including some of the most impressive houses you’ll ever see. I was lucky enough to see a waterspout, a tornado in the sea, perhaps you might too.

Not forgetting the city of Miami itself though. People talk about South Beach, but to me the atmosphere at the bars and restaurants around the city had such a European culture. People eating very late, al fresco at beautiful restaurants, which you want to do when the temperatures can stay a balmy 90f (32c) even at 10pm.