Florida August 18, 2017
You’ve Never Experienced Anything Like This Epic Abandoned Railroad Trail In Florida
You’ve probably heard of Florida’s most beautiful scenic highway that stretches from Miami to Key West. It’s an incredible drive, as you’re surrounded on all sides by blue sky and water as far as the eye can see.
How amazing would it be, though, if you could take this trail without your car? You could feel the wind and sun on your skin and really immerse yourself in the beauty of the Keys.
Well, it turns out you can! The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail runs 106 miles from Key Largo to Key West and includes many of the bridges originally constructed as the Overseas Railroad all the way back in 1912.
At the time, many people thought oil tycoon Henry Flagler was crazy for wanting to build a bridge from Miami to Key West, and it was no easy task. When it was completed, however, they called it the Eighth Wonder of the World. Unfortunately, it was irreparably damaged by a hurricane only 23 years later.
The state eventually bought the railbed and converted it into the first Overseas Highway, which was then replaced in the 1980s by the one used today, which runs along side the old one. Instead of leaving the abandoned railroad to crumble into the sea, a partnership of several private and public Florida-based organizations formed a plan to convert it into a trail that could be used for walking, fishing, sightseeing, and long-distance biking.
There are seven fishing bridges and 10 state parks along the Overseas Heritage Trail. If you decide to bike the whole trail, which can take anywhere from two to four days, there are plenty of places to stop and use the restroom, enjoy a meal, or stay the night.
If a 100-mile bike ride sounds daunting to you, you can always bike just a section of the trail and avoid some of the trickier areas where there's a lot of traffic, the shoulder is narrow, or debris poses a challenge.
For example, you can rent a taxi or take a bus to skip the Seven Mile Bridge. If you're still unsure, you can also hire a tour guide (or visit a section where you can fish or just relax on the bridge)
Have you ever been on the Overseas Heritage Trail? What’s your favorite way to explore the Sunshine State?