Surprises in the Florida Keys

Story and photos by Anne Burns

Hawksbill turtle in recovery at the turtle hospital in Marathon
Hawksbill turtle in recovery at the turtle hospital in Marathon

I will admit that Florida had never been high on our wish list.  My husband and I still wanted to go further afield to more exotic destinations, such as Morocco, Turkey, Cambodia.

We always felt that Florida could wait until longer journeys and unfamiliar languages became more challenging. But when our son and daughter-in-law invited us to join them for a week in the Keys, we jumped at the chance to spend a whole week with them and our delightful twenty-month-old grandson!

We drove in 2 cars from Miami Airport to Marathon Key – a very straightforward journey on IS 1 all the way.

Hint: when renting a car, order the economy model ahead of time, there is rarely one available. Refuse the proffered upgrade with an additional charge. Usually, an upgrade will then be supplied at the original rate.

Our rented house was on a quiet winding road joining the highway to the pristine, almost deserted Sombrero beach. There was a creek running through the garden, where we watched fish jumping high out of the water and pelicans flying around trying to catch them.

Lizards, from tiny to 4 feet long, sunned themselves along the creek’s edge. All seemed perfect, then the sun set! We have seen many, many spectacular sunsets around the world but never such heart-stoppers as these.

Marathon has a variety of nearby supermarkets for self-caterers, and many excellent restaurants. We particularly enjoyed the upscale, but child-friendly Sunset Grill at Knights Key, which could almost justify another trip to Marathon, and the Island Fish Company and Tiki Bar.