My first trip through the Florida Keys with Nikki and Cookie was back in February 2016.
That’s when the annual Mom and Nikki day trip to Key West was born. From that point on, when I visited Nikki each winter, we’d take a day trip through the Keys to Key West.
The last thing we’d do in Key West was go to the east side of the island and get a picture of Nikki and Cookie with a backdrop of the Atlantic ocean.
Key West is about 120 miles from where Nikki lives. It takes about 3 or so hours to get to Key West but it’s a sight-seeing trip (and Mom and Nikki time) so we don’t watch the clock.
It simply takes us however long it takes to get there!
A Mom and Nikki Florida Keys Day Trip
December 9, 2020…
I’m camping in Florida City which is right next to Homestead. I picked Nikki up, in Homestead, around 8:30 am.
Several minutes later we see the familiar blue divider as we enter the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys.
We started talking about how Cookie enjoyed our travels and how he’d lay on Nikki’s lap either sweetly snoozing or eagerly watching out the window to see where we were going to stop next.
At every stop Cookie put his nose to the ground… sniffing every little nook and cranny. We often called him The SnifferPoodle.
Nikki and I reminisced so much that we were in Key Largo before we realized it.
There’s Always Construction Going On
There are many turn-outs (places to pull over) in the Florida Keys. These are the places we enjoy stopping and exploring.
We needed to stretch our legs and use the “facilities” in the back of the van but our usual stopping point in Islamorada was closed due to construction.
Nikki checked her phone and quickly found a spot up ahead. She’s a great navigator!
This was a place we hadn’t stopped at before and I looked forward to exploring the area.
Highway Piers Historical Marker – Islamorada Florida
We stopped at the Highway Piers Historical Marker on the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail in Islamorada, FL.
The views were simply amazing!
We were on the Gulf of Mexico side of Islamorada.
Being a novice, I assume it’s low tide which makes it easier for the birds to find some tasty treats.
I snap a few pictures of the Gulf of Mexico through the Islamorada vegetation.
I was too awe struck with the ocean views that I missed the historical marker!
Maybe next time.
There’s a Publix in Marathon, Florida where we usually stop to get something from the deli.
Why cook when you can get something from the deli?!
We placed our order via the Publix app but it was going to take 45 minutes before our order was ready.
Sombrero Beach – Marathon Florida
While we waited for our order we went to Sombrero Beach. The beach is just a few minutes down the road from Publix.
There were only a few people at the beach and everyone respected the Covid Social Distancing guidelines.
We approach the boardwalk to Sombrero Beach.
The blue water looks inviting!
We traipse across the washed up seaweed and step into the water. It’s not as cold as we thought it would be considering the temperature is in the 60’s today.
I’m not a bird expert but I believe this is some sort of heron that came by for a visit.
Looks like there are plenty of coconuts to go around!
I’d sure hate to be under the tree when one of those coconuts decides to fall. It kind of reminds me of Gilligan’s Island.
Time For Lunch
We grabbed our lunch from Publix and Nikki suggested going back to Sombrero Beach to eat.
The beach got very busy in the short time we were away.
We sat in the van while we ate and watched the entertainment… the people walking by with pets, excited little tikes, being in ear-shot of their conversations and more.
People watching is a fun sport and it’s free!
Seven Mile Bridge – Fred and Barney
Soon after leaving Marathon we hit Seven Mile Bridge. Yes… it really is 7 miles long!
The old 7 mile bridge (built in 1908) remains along side of the new 7 mile bridge (which opened in 1982). However, the old bridge is no longer open to vehicular traffic.
A famous tree, named Fred, lives on the old 7 mile bridge. Fred seems to be waiving at everyone who drives by.
Local’s enjoy decorating Fred for the Holiday’s and other events.
In recent years a new tree sprouted next to Fred on the old 7 Mile Bridge.
Rumor has it… the tree’s name is Barney.
Key West – Florida
We finally hit Key West but traffic seemed busier than ever. I don’t enjoy having to deal with so much traffic nor do I enjoy exploring where there are so many people out and about (even in a non-Covid world).
We drove through a few places down town and, then, went to our favorite spot on the east side of the island.
Our favorite spot is on the Atlantic ocean side of Key West (close to the Key West airport) and there’s usually plenty of parking with a lot fewer people.
If you’d like to see where this spot is on Google Maps and do a little virtual exploring… here’s a link Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL.
I took my annual picture (minus 3 years) of Nikki and Cookie.
Cookie may no longer be physically with us but he’s not forgotten and he’s in the picture (look at Nikki’s phone).
It was time to head home and retrace our steps using the other side of the road (going north).
We’ve often talked about staying in Key West (or somewhere in the lower Keys) but a reservation is usually needed this time of year. It’s also a Covid year and things are just different.
We hit Key Largo as the sun was setting. The Florida Keys sunset was the icing on top of an already delicious cake.
It was a fun Mom and Nikki day for our trip through the Florida Keys. But, then again, it’s always fun when Mom and Nikki get together!
2020 Is Coming To A Close
This year has been quite an adventure for all of us. Not just for me, not just for my family but for our country and the world as a whole.
2020 hasn’t always been a fun adventure but it’s been an adventure just the same.
I think our goal for 2021 should simply be… Keep Moving Forward!
Thanks for following along!
Related Post about our previous Key West trip: Florida Keys Day Trip – The Aftermath of Hurricane Irma