STATE Road A1A may be the best-known road in Florida. Its unusual and romanticized moniker conjures visions of Jimmy Buffett strumming ballads, a convertible cruising along the beach, grouper sizzling on a grill and tropical drinks spinning in a blender.

A1A, designated a state historical highway in several stretches, winds along the Florida coast, with some interruptions, from Key West to Georgia. Efforts to make the two-lane road a four-laner have been beaten down by the people who love it. It is, for many, a symbol of the easygoing beachcomber lifestyle. But it is also home to sprawling mansions, impersonal high-rises and even stretches that leave the beach to cut through industrial and commercial districts.

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