My Retirement Stories

Overseas Highway

Season in the Florida Keys

Are you ready for “Season in the Florida Keys”? The peak season is January through March when all the Snowbirds and visitors swarm Coastal Highway. However, some repeat visitors arrive this month to escape the colder weather up north.

Several Seasons

Now that I live in the Florida Keys, I realize there are several seasons. The one for snowbirds in the winter and the summer months for Floridians that vacation here. They come to fish primarily and are already used to the summer heat that drives some of us north for a while. But for locals, we dread the seasons for several reasons. Top of the list is the roads, or should I say the one road, Overseas Highway, that runs the length of the Keys, from Key Largo to Key West. A good portion of the road is one lane in each direction.

Lobster Season and Mini Season

Then, there is Lobster Season and the crazy Mini Season. Every July, lobster hunters flood the coastal areas of Florida, trying to get their share of this year’s bounty when the official mini-lobster season kicks off. There are two Florida Lobster Seasons: the 2-day mini season and the 8-month regular lobster season. The mini lobster season is always the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. Make sure always to verify dates and regulations with Florida Fish and Wildlife.┬áIt begins at 12:01 am on Wednesday and ends at 12:00 midnight on Thursday.

The regular 8-month lobster season is always August 6 through March 31.

Beware Day Trippers

Is the drive from Miami to Key West worth it? According to websites promoting this idea, the drive from Miami to Key West is worth it. But, for residents, going anywhere that requires getting on the Overseas Highway can be painful. If I have to travel from Key Largo to Marathon, normally a one-hour drive, it can take twice as long. You can lose an entire afternoon if there’s an accident, road work, or the Snake Creek Bridge gets stuck.

Hurry up and Wait

Most restaurants do not take reservations, and the wait can be long at popular spots. Even if they take reservations, you need to plan way ahead. While I like Square Grouper, I will not wait 2 hours in February.

The snowbirds return to our local pickleball courts, doubling the wait between games. Yesterday, as many people were waiting to play as those playing on our six temporary courts. The good news is Monroe County has received and approved a bid to construct ten dedicated pickleball courts! By next season, we can play any time of day. YEAH! What would we do in retirement without pickleball?

Happy Holidays

The calendar is packed from now through March with Art Shows, Concerts, and many special events up and down the Florida Keys.

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