Wow! We Loved Our Visit to the Florida Keys
The Keys Are Both EV and RV Friendly
This week, we are excited to share a report on the whirlwind tour we took of the Florida Keys.
We stayed just two nights in Key Largo, driving the entire length of the Keys and returning to our starting point, in between. Our goal was to sample the blissful winter weather there and survey the sights, RV parks and activities available there.
EV Nerd Report: All EVs (all vehicles really) get better mileage at lower speeds and on flatter ground. With regenerative braking, EVs recover much of the energy lost stopping and starting in a car with only an internal combustion engine.
The drive through the Keys along the Overseas Highway averages about 40 miles per hour during our round trip, with relatively little stopping and starting, making it ideal range-maximizing terrain.
Including the freeway trip down to the Miami area and back, we traveled 1,093.6 miles using 272.5 kwh, yielding a trip average of a hair over 4 miles per kwh. This is just below our long-term average of 4.1 miles per kwh. This is largely due to long stretches on the freeway and cold weather in the upper 40s and low 50s in Northern Florida. (Yes, we are missing the weather in the Keys.)
Of course, the Florida Keys divide the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico. For much of the trip, we enjoyed beautiful vistas on both sides of the highway.
The Overseas Highway itself is a real highlight. The bridges were originally constructed as part of a private rail line that ran all the way to Key West. Some sections of the bridges failed during the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935, leaving the line inoperable.
The State of Florida purchased the out-of-service bridges in 1938 and converted them to carry cars instead of trains. In some sections, new bridges have been built parallel to the original rail lines. Some of the old sections have been rehabilitated for use by pedestrians and cyclists for recreation.
Key Largo is the first stop off the mainland and anchors the northeast end of the Keys. Key West, as the name implies, is at the southwestern end. More notable than the western position is its southern, the southernmost point in the continental U.S.
A concrete buoy painted dramatically serves as a marker, signaling that Cuba lies just 90 miles to the south.
Ernest Hemmingway lived in Key West for a time. His home is now operated as a museum where you can see the typewriters he used and the rooms he wrote in. One quirky feature is the cats that inhabit the home, descendants of Hemmingway’s cats. Many have extra digits.
Between Key Largo and Key West are dozens of others, some with large communities, all with beautiful vistas. A population of endangered deer inhabits a few of the Keys. We stopped at a refuge hoping to get to see some but found it closed to the public due to COVID.
We spotted a variety of RV parks during our trip and look forward to using some on future trips. There are a few state parks in the Keys that allow RV camping. They are the most basic and affordable option. Undoubtedly, reservations must be made the very moment they become available. Florida residents over 65 (so almost everyone who lives in Florida) get a 50 percent discount on the reservation fee.
Peak season is December through April. The luxury RV resorts charge more per night than some of the budget hotels in the Keys. We couldn’t see an open slot in any we passed. Be sure to get your reservations early.
As far as we can tell, the RV parks all have access to water, some also have swimming pools. Come ready to snorkel, scuba, swim, kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard or fish.
Next week, we’ll have news about the hitch on our Chevy Bolt. Be sure to check back here for our report.
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