Seven Mile Bridge is one of the Florida Keys’ most iconic landmarks, and luckily there’s plenty to do on and around for those who visit.
The Florida Keys are a famous destination in the Sunshine State – packed with laid-back towns and world-famous vacation getaways, there really is something for everyone on a classic Keys getaway in the Sunshine. State.
And one of the main things that makes the Keys such a fun destination is the variety of the area; travelers can settle in somewhere like Key West for a week-long getaway, or take a trip through the Keys to experience a bit of distinctive flavor at the many stops along the way. For example, planning a trip from the Lower Keys to the Middle Keys (or vice versa) is a snap, all thanks to the famous Seven Mile Bridge.
About the Seven Mile Bridge
The longest bridge connecting the Florida Keys, the original Seven Mile Bridge was also the longest existing bridge when it was built in 1900. Once known as Knights Key Bridge, the “old” Seven Mile Bridge is no longer used. for vehicular traffic, but is instead a jetty and a pedestrian/cycling lane which has just reopened in January 2022 after extensive renovations. The “new” bridge was completed in the early 1980s and runs parallel to the old bridge. Stretching from the western end of Marathon FL to the Lower Keys, Seven Mile Bridge was even added to the National Register of Historic Places due to its massive span and ubiquitous presence connecting the Florida Keys.
Road Trip: Seven Mile Bridge
A trip across the iconic Seven Mile Bridge might only take a few minutes, but there’s plenty to see along the way. Although there is no stop on the bridge, there are areas where visitors can visit and access, whether by ferry, on foot or by bicycle. The following itinerary is a sampling of fun things to see and do around the Seven Mile Bridge area and can be customized based on available time.
To note: The following itinerary is designed as a 1-2 day getaway that begins in Marathon, Florida and ends in Key West. However, the trip could be easily customized, depending on the weather. It can also be walked the other way from Key West to Marathon – after all, the Seven Mile Bridge works both ways!
See the curiosities of Marathon
The town of Marathon is located on a total of 13 islands in the Middle Keys – and its location makes it ideal for some of the best water sports, including fishing, boating, kayaking and paddleboarding. It’s also a great introduction to any Seven Mile Bridge road trip.
- Start at the Marathon Visitor Center for maps and tips for exploring the area, visitors say staff are especially helpful with tips and recommendations for restaurants, accommodations and attractions
- Grab a bite to eat at one of Marathon’s delicious waterfront restaurants, such as Burdine’s Waterfront Marina Bar & Grill or the famous local food truck Irie Island Eats
- Those who want to stretch their legs before hitting the road will want to stop at Crane Point Natural Area, a great place for scenic views, local wildlife viewing, and hiking trails. Don’t forget to visit the nearby museum and take a tram ride through the Botanical Gardens
- Visit beautiful Sombrero Beach a beautiful place to picnic and take in stellar views
- Rent a bike and explore the area on two wheels
Things to look for: The Seven Mile Bridge
Just crossing the Seven Mile Bridge is awe-inspiring – its reach, its views, the old bridge that lingers in the background. And while there’s nowhere to stop on the new bridge, there are things to look out for as you cross.
- Fred the tree is an Australian pine tee that grows on the historic Seven Mile Bridge. Beloved by locals and tourists alike, Fred is a solid symbol of survival for a region plagued by destructive hurricanes. In fact, the tree even survived Hurricane Irma in 2017.
- Park at Marathon and take the ferry and island tour to beautiful pigeon key, now only accessible by boat, although a 60-passenger tram connecting Marathon and Pigeon Key opens in the spring of 2022, making the area even more accessible. Ferry $15 for adults; $12 for children
- Access the newly reopened section of the Old Seven Mile Bridge and rollerblading, biking or walking across the historic 65ft span over the Atlantic
- After arriving in Key West, discover another hidden Florida gem before returning to Marathon, the beautifully odd Geiger Key Beach. Accessible via US 1 from Key West, the sandy beach is private, with an almost ghostly, abandoned feel, enhanced by its mysterious driftwood structures and abandoned canoes. A great place for a photoshoot or just a quiet time before heading back across the Seven Mile
The iconic Seven Mile Bridge has long been an epic stretch connecting the Middle Keys and Lower Keys – essentially two bridges in one, the new part is vehicular-only, while the old has recently reopened as a pedestrian paradise (and a great place to snap Instagram-worthy photos!) And while crossing this historic bridge is relatively uneventful, there’s plenty to see and do in the surrounding area, from hidden gems to attractions. original and quirky. Whether by bike, on foot or by car, crossing the Seven Mile Bridge is still an epic way to travel through the Keys and remains an important part of local lore and history to this day.
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