Rain Barrel Village, Home of Betsy, the Giant Lobster in the Florida Keys
Location: Islamorada, FL (86700 Overseas Highway)
When to visit: Anytime during daylight hours
Time needed: 5-10 minutes
You can’t miss it on the drive from Miami to Key West. A giant lobster sculpture sitting on the side of the road. For fans of roadside kitsch, this is the most fun attraction to pull over for in the Florida Keys!
The giant lobster’s name is Betsy. She’s made of fiberglass and she measures 30 feet tall and 40 feet wide.
Betsy the lobster resides in a parking lot of the Rain Barrel Artisans Village in Islamorada, Florida, at Mile 86 on the Overseas Highway, one of the best road trips in America.
She’s sitting there, just waiting for you to pull over and snap a few winning Instagram photos of the famous crustacean!
How did Betsy get here? When was she built? When can you visit? Read on for more information about this famous attraction in the Florida Keys.
History of Betsy the Giant Lobster in Islamorada
Betsy is a Spiny Lobster, the type found in the Florida Keys. If you’re wondering where her claws are, this kind of lobster actually has no front claws. But they do have lots of legs and a tail known for its tasty meat.
Betsy was created in Marathon, Florida by sculptor Richard Blaze (not the famous chef) starting in 1980. Work took five years, and by that time, the restaurant that commissioned the statue was out of business.
Betsy was put on display at Treasure Village for awhile, but ended up in storage when that store closed.
In 2009, Betsy was moved to her current home at the Rain Barrel Artisans Village. In order to remove her, they had to remove her 12 legs, place her torso on a trailer, and truck it up to Islamorada, where she could be re-assembled.
Is Betsy the largest lobster in the world?
Perhaps. However, another lobster in Shediac, New Brunswick measuring 16 x 36 feet claims to be the world’s largest. Yet, that lobster’s dimensions are smaller than Betsy. So I’m not sure how they can make that claim.
But there are two other giant lobsters in the running, one in Australia and one in China. Both seem to have legit claims to the title of world’s largest lobster statue.
One thing is for sure: this giant lobster is the second-most photographed attraction in the Keys, behind only the Southernmost Point.
So even if Betsy doesn’t hold a world record, she’s still hugely popular. You can’t drive down this highway without feeling compelled to pull over for a photo!
Visiting Rain Barrel Village
Rain Barrel Artisans Village is a cool place to visit on its own, but having Betsy certainly draws in way more visitors than they would get otherwise.
At the village, you can find arts, crafts, souvenirs, gifts, jewelry, and more. It’s an open-air complex with boutique shops and galleries.
Stop at the Lobster Shack (of course) for lunch. Or grab a cold one at the Rain Garden Bar, which is open until 11 pm very night except Sunday.
On your travels to Key West, stop by to check out the local art and do some outdoor dining. The sign here proudly boasts “no wifi.” This is a place to slow down and relax a bit as you pass through the Keys.
Would you pull over to see Betsy the lobster in Islamorada?