I drive the Overseas Highway with alarming regularity – southbound in the late afternoon or evening and northbound in the absurdly early hours of the morning. As such, it is vital to note where the best bathrooms are. I will call this the BCR (Bathroom Convenience Ratio). It is a non-scientific, entirely subjective qualification of bathrooms you may encounter while out and about.The BCR has a scale of 1-10, with 1 being a dirty, inconvenient place always running out of toilet paper and 10 being the cleanest place you have ever encountered, with two-ply toilet paper and luxurious hand soap.
For example, the Shell station at Mile Marker 74, which also houses Angelo’s Country Store has a terrible BCR. Why? They have port-o-potties. And they never empty them. Don’t go, it’s a mess. I went several weeks ago out of sheer desperation (how was I to know?) and am still scarred by the experience. They get a 0 on the BCR scale, which I know is technically not even ON the scale, but trust me: it is that bad. Port-o-potties are only OK if you are on a construction site or in the parking lot of a Jimmy Buffett concert. Even at a concert, I will borrow someone’s RV.
The Winn-Dixie in Tavernier, on the other hand has a high BCR. My parents like it because it is on the right side of the road when driving south and is exceptionally clean. I would give it a 9 on the BCR scale. They only miss a 10 because you have to turn into an actual parking lot set back from the main road.
Starbucks in Key Largo is a pretty good place to go as well. The bathrooms are right near the entrance, so it is easy to go even if you are not buying anything. But, the lines for coffee (the real reason anyone stops at Starbucks) are often long. BCR score: 7.
Near the Starbucks is a Burger King with good bathrooms as well. BCR: 8, as there is never a line for sodas (the only thing I may opt to consume there).
Further south, in Marathon is Keys Fisheries. Excellent restaurant, but the bathrooms are in the parking lot. At least they have plumbing. Go, but only if you are already eating there. BCR: 7.
Any Walgreen’s or CVS will usually do in a pinch, many are reasonably clean and as they sell the stuff, the generally have a good supply of toilet paper. Since you usually have to go through the whole store to get there, and sometimes you need a key, it is not as convenient as other places. BCR: 6.
Next up: Where to pee while heading northbound.