Dave and I’ve taken a Miami to Key West highway journey thrice plus as soon as from Miami to Key Largo. With winter in full swing, we thought it was time to replace our Florida Keys highway journey itinerary for 2023. This nice American Road journey is unquestionably one to add to your bucket listing, and a drive to Key West from Miami will transport you to the Caribbean while not having to hop on a aircraft.
Miami to Key West Drive
Hurricane Update: The Florida Keys stay open after Hurricane Ian with the infrastructure intact. All 142 bridges are open connecting the 124-mile-lengthy island chain. Plus fuel stations are in operation. Most points of interest are working – nevertheless, test for restricted hours of operation.
The Miami to Key West drive is 164.4 mi through US-1 S and takes 3 hr 30 min with out site visitors. You might drive immediately to Key West from Miami in a single afternoon however that might take the entire enjoyable out of visiting the wonderful stops and the Florida Keys alongside the way in which.
Overseas Highway to Key West
When driving from Miami to Key West, you can be taking one of the vital distinctive highway journeys on the earth via a sequence of 800 Keys which can be linked by a collection of 142 bridges spanning 124 miles. (Note: Not all Keys are reachable by automotive)
The Key West Overseas Highway is 113 miles lengthy. This chain of islands off the southern coast of Florida divides the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico and every Key has its personal actions and advantages for visiting.
As you head south to Key West, take your time to actually soak within the expertise. At instances, you’ll be fully surrounded by water. In brief, the drive to Key West is as spectacular as it’s distinctive.
We’ve shared some enjoyable issues to do in Key West you can take a look at right here 33 of the Best Things to Do in Key West, Florida. We even have a publish devoted to Miami Read extra: 30 Fun Things to do in Miami, Florida. These are nice sources to learn earlier than you start your Miami to Key West drive.
While the Miami to Key West drive is 164 miles, the actual highway journey begins on the gateway to the Florida Keys. While this highway journey information begins in Miami, it focuses extra on the stops from Key Largo to Key West as that’s the place the majority of the enjoyable really takes place.
Miami to Key West Map
Are you prepared to discover the most effective stops from Miami to Key West on one of many nice highway journeys on the earth? We’ve included a map you can observe alongside in your drive to Key West to make issues simpler.
The drive from Miami to Key West will be performed in 3 1/2 hours however to actually respect it, you need to take your time and spend the night time on a few Keys earlier than reaching your last vacation spot. The prompt period of time for a Miami to Key West highway journey is 7 days.
Key West is a vacation spot unto itself and many individuals fly immediately to the Key West International Airport with out ever leaving the island. Even although we love Key West, we predict that might be a disgrace as the opposite Florida Keys have so much to provide. So even in case you are flying immediately to Key West, hire a automotive for a day or two to see these different stops within the Florida Keys.
Tips for Driving From Miami to Key West
Once you get to the south of the mainland in your drive from Miami to Key West, the actual highway journey begins simply previous Florida City crossing over Jewfish Creek. Crossing that first bridge is thrilling. It feels such as you’re heading to the Caribbean however as a substitute of a 5-hour flight, you’re driving straight to the tropics!
You will probably be following mile markers for reference all through your highway journey together with your abroad freeway. You formally enter the Florida Keys at Mile Marker 127 at Florida City with is on the Junction of the Florida Turnpike and U.S. 1. You will then observe the mile markers all the way in which to Mile Marker 0 in Key West.
Key West Overseas Highway Self-Diving Tour
We extremely advocate renting a automotive in Miami in your Key West Road Trip. Check Rental Car costs and comparisons at CarRentals.com
Get your Key West Overseas Highway Self Driving Tour that highlights the highest points of interest from Miami to Key West together with Hollywood landmark the African Queen riverboat to Plantation Key, the Smuggler’s Haven. It additionally provides ideas to take a look at Big Betsy, the large lobster, and Theatre of the Sea. Details right here
Toll Roads: Florida has quite a lot of toll roads and we advise getting a SunPass. All tolls in Florida are collected electronically should you don’t have a Sun Pass, you can be billed using the TOLL-BY-PLATE system the place you can be charged a $25 charge on high of the toll. Check the Florida Turnpike web site for particulars.
About the Key West Overseas Highway
The Miami to Key West drive then takes you thru Islamorada and on to Anne’s Beach, Long Key, and Marathon till you attain Key West.
There are 42 bridges connecting 34 of the 800 keys from the mainland to Key West spanning 124 miles. The most well-known bridge on the highway journey from Miami to Key West is the Seven Mile Bridge at Marathon.
Overseas Highway to Key West History
Built within the Thirties the Overseas Highway adopted the East Coast Railroad line which was broken by a hurricane. Thanks to that feat of engineering, 3 million guests make their means to the Florida Keys every year.
It’s simple to discover points of interest and issues to do on the Overseas Highway by following the mile markers. The highway is effectively-marked with Mile Marker Zero situated in Key West. When driving south from Key Largo, you’ll be counting down from mile marker 106 letting you understand how far you will have to go to Key West. Nice!
Now that you’ve a little bit of background on the freeway, let’s see what there’s to do on a Miami to Key West highway journey.
Top Things to See on a Miami to Key West Road Trip
Our drive to Key West begins on the Miami airport the place you may decide up your rental automotive to begin this iconic highway journey and drive all the way in which to the southernmost tip of the Continental United States in Key West. How cool is that? For rental automotive costs, you may evaluate charges at CarRentals.com
After touchdown on the Miami Airport, decide up your rental automotive (a convertible is preferable) and begin your journey in Florida’s most enjoyable metropolis. No journey to South Florida can be full with out seeing the glitz and glamor of Miami.
Take a stroll alongside the white sands of South Beach and discover the gorgeous architectural designs of the Art Deco District. Don’t neglect to drive your rental automotive alongside Ocean Drive and hop on a ship and take a tour of Millionaires Row. There’s a common cruise that takes you by the estates, with nice return views of the Miami skyline. And ensure that to take a look at Miami’s nightlife.
This extremely-rated tour contains takes you thru the glitz and glamor of the Art Deco District to see historic landmarks akin to Versace’s decadent mansion and beloved Hollywood stops showcasing the likes of Miami Vice. For extra Miami points of interest, learn our publish Things to do in Miami
Where to Stay in Miami
Miami has been a pacesetter in tourism within the United States for many years so there’s something for each funds and journey kind. But to get you began, listed here are a number of of our suggestions.
Mid-Range – Right on the seashore and alongside Ocean Drive, Marriott Stanton is an excellent alternative for touring households. Make probably the most of two on-web site swimming pools, spas, saunas, and a health club with the seashore and eating places all inside strolling distance. Check charges and opinions on Booking.com Luxury – Occupying a whole metropolis block, 1 Hotel South Beach is the epitome of Miami luxurious. Soak within the expansive floor-to-ceiling ocean views, with beautiful decor and the biggest rooftop pool on the town. Check charges and opinions on Booking.com Budget – Miami isn’t a haven for funds vacationers, however Hotel Shelley comes with cozy rooms with Art Deco allure. Enjoy trendy facilities, free WiFi, and shut to all of the motion. Check charges and opinions on Booking.com
2. Everglades National Park
Since you might be driving, you can also make a detour out of your Miami to Key West drive and see Everglades National Park. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is an International Biosphere Reserve and is dwelling to various endangered species together with the Florida panther.
Located simply 30 miles west of Miami, the Everglades National park is a wetland oasis primed for an eco-journey and makes for an amazing cease in your Miami to Key West Road Trip. If you need to e-book a tour from Miami as a substitute of driving, you may e-book this non-public tour to discover the immense 1.5 million acres. Details right here.
Everglades National Park additionally provides Airboat excursions so that you get to see all types of locations whereas cruising via the water. The park additionally has trails and 4WD excursions. Read extra: Best National Parks – USA Edition
Where to keep in Everglades
We recommend staying in Miami or Key Largo and making a day journey to Everglades National Park. But Florida City is a superb cease to break up your Miami to Key West Drive and is shut to each the Florida Keys and Everglades.
Travelodge by Wyndham in Florida City is an reasonably priced choice wonderful place to keep. It is situated simply off Highway 1 and makes for an amazing gateway to the Everglades and the Florida Keys. Home2 Suites by Hilton – Is one other good selection within the coronary heart of Florida City.
3. Key Largo
Things are getting thrilling now. The first cease off the mainland out of your Miami to Key West highway journey is Key Largo. you may keep for a full trip should you like! We did this throughout our first journey to the Florida Keys, and my brother did simply final 12 months when he took a protracted highway journey all the way in which from Canada to Key West. They made a base in Key Largo and explored the encircling islands and even did a full-day journey to Key West with Key Largo as their base.
Key Largo is fairly superior. Movies and songs have been written about Key Largo, and soak in a few of that nostalgia go to The Caribbean Club. The Caribbean Club is the oldest bar within the higher keys, relationship again to 1938.
It has seen quite a lot of motion over the many years, most notably internet hosting Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall as they filmed the film Key Largo. It’s nonetheless a household-run enterprise and an amazing place to cease for some Key Lime Pie, a Bloody Mary or to pay attention to some reside music.
There are loads of issues to do in Key Largo, so we advise spending no less than the night time right here and trying out a number of of the gadgets we’re about to point out as you observe alongside on this Miami to Key West highway journey.
Miami to Key Largo is roughly 70 miles and takes 1 hour and quarter-hour to drive.
4. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
If you’re looking to have an journey, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is likely one of the high issues to do in Key Largo. It is dwelling to the one dwelling coral reef within the United States and in order for you to discover underwater, that is the place to go.
What makes snorkeling or scuba diving totally different in Key Largo is you can dive to see “Christ of the Abyss” a 9-foot-tall underwater statue of Christ situated in simply 25 ft of water off the coast of Key Largo.
Book this snorkeling tour from Key Largo – this half-day tour takes you to probably the most stunning areas within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Pennekamp State Park. Explore the coral reefs of Molasses, Elbow, French Reef, and the well-known Christ of the Abyss on Dry Rocks.
Where to Stay in Key Largo
Luxury – Playa Largo Resort – The Playa Largo Resort and Spa has luxurious rooms, bungalows, and a seashore home. You can e-book many Key West water sports activities on the resort. Mid Range – Key Largo Reefhouse Resort – You can by no means go fallacious with a Marriott. It’s our favourite mid to higher-vary resort chain. It has an onsite marina and dive store providing loads of water sports activities to e-book on the resort. Budget – Dove Creek Resort and Marina – This intimate boutique resort was impressed by Caribbean Hemingway Hideaways. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, in Key Largo, Dove Creek lodge sits adjoining to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
5. The Fish House
An incredible cease for lunch is the Fish House to seize a staple Florida Keys dish of Conch Fritters, fish tacos, and Florida lobster and stone crab. It’s an amazing environment and has been a Key Largo staple since 1982. We loved a starter of coconut shrimp adopted by a scrumptious portion of Mahi Mahi.
6. Alabama Jack’s
Another quirky place that may solely be discovered en route to the Florida Keys is Alabama Jacks. Sitting between two barges within the mangroves, it’s famend for its conch fritters.
Popular with motorcyclists Alabama Jack’s is situated underneath Card Sound Bridge which is the previous toll highway on an alternate route from Florida City. Instead of taking Highway 1, take 905A card sound highway. But be warned, you want to have the money to cross the toll bridge.
7. Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen
For a singular and scrumptious slice of Key Lime Pie head to Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen that was so good its turn into well-known within the higher keys. You can order a complete key lime pie to go!
8. Islamorada Key
The subsequent island in your Florida Keys Road Trip is Islamorada Key. We liked Islamorada Key a lot, we wrote a whole article about all of the issues to do. Things to do in Islamorada. But simply in case you don’t need to click on off of our highway journey itinerary, let’s undergo all of the issues that you just can not miss.
We recommend spending an evening on Islamorada Key to actually get pleasure from its laid-again vibe. Scroll down to see why.
9. Robbie’s Marina
Robbies Marina is the place to be in Islamorada with watersports, eating places, bars, and points of interest, it’s a place you may spend all the day. Enjoy the day hanging out at Robbie’s Marina. There’s an amazing restaurant, out of doors retailers and loads of water sports activities depart from right here.
10. Feed the Tarpon
A singular factor to do in Islamorada is to feed the tarpon at Robbie’s. After nursing an injured Tarpon means again in 1976, the pleasant Tarpon named “Scarface” got here again many times for some meals and to say hi there. He ultimately introduced his mates and the tarpon have been coming to the docks ever since to leap out of the water for a tasty deal with.
Parasailing within the Florida Keys is an incredible means to see the bridges and keys from above. It’s a stunning view to see the bridges spanning over blue waters with islands dotting the panorama.
You could make out the coral reefs and it really is a blast. If you’ve by no means gone parasailing earlier than, that is the place to do it. Parasailing with Sundance Watersports.
12. Other issues to do on Islamorada
If you need to do some procuring, head into Rain Barrel Sculpture Gallery at Rain Barrel Village, it’s been one of many high Florida Keys locations for greater than 40 years. You can’t miss it, simply search for the large rock lobster out entrance.
If you might be staying over or have a chosen driver, don’t miss hitting the beer backyard of the Florida Keys Brewing Company. We liked sampling their microbrews. The Florida Keys Brewing Company additionally has a trip rental the place you may keep. The house owners are tremendous pleasant and get this, he’s Canadian!
Where to Stay in Islamorada
Islamorada is a superb place to make a base earlier than heading farther south. From right here you may discover Duck Key, Lower Matecumbe Key to the South, and Plantation Key to the North.
Postcard Inn at Holiday Isle – This is the preferred place to keep in Islamorada providing cottages and rooms with Marina and Atlantic Ocean views. There are water sports activities on web site and you may e-book scuba diving, glass backside boat excursions, and snorkeling journeys. It additionally has the favored Tiki Bar on the seashore so even should you aren’t staying there, ensure that to have a cocktail or slice of Key Lime Pie at this world-well-known location. Hadley House Resort – We stayed at Holiday House Resort a boutique resort with cottages. I’d advocate staying on the constructing overlooking the water. Cottages are set again from the ocean and the resort constructing appeared a lot better. Your $25 resort charge covers using Stand up paddleboards and kayaks. There’s parking and a pool.
Marathon is a metropolis that spreads throughout a number of Florida Keys. Starting simply previous Duck Key it spans throughout seven keys: Knight’s Key, Boot Key, Key Vaca, Fat Deer Key, Long Point Key, Crawl Key, and Grassy Key islands.
From the Dolphin Research Center to Aquarium Encounters it has all of the makings for a great household trip. Marathon can be the gateway to Seven Mile Bridge and Pigeon Key Island.
There are some good seashores on Marathon Key as effectively, Sombrero Beach and Coco Plum Beach are good locations to hang around. And there’s a canine park which is an effective cease in case you are touring with pets. Read 18 Best Beaches in Florida for Fun within the Sun
Where to Stay on Marathon Key
Marathon has quite a lot of choices for lodging and is extra reasonably priced than Key West. You can discover lodges starting from luxurious to funds. Lots of people take day journeys to Key West from Marathon.
14. Turtle Hospital
What we advocate visiting is the Turtle Hospital. The Turtle Hospital is likely one of the hottest stops on a Miami to Key West drive. This heartwarming cease helps you to see the work that goes into the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles. We love supporting initiatives like this and proceeds in your guided tour and entrance go to assist save the ocean turtles. Read extra: 10 Ways to Help Save the Oceans – World Oceans Day and Beyond
15. Keys Fisheries
Make positive to cease at Keys Fisheries for lunch. We loved chillaxing on the out of doors patio. It’s a quick meals joint the place you order from a window after which discover a picnic desk within the packed restaurant. Get the grilled Mahi Mahi, Conch Chowder, or its signature dish, the Lobster Reuben.
16. Seven Mile Bridge
Leaving Marathon Key, Seven Mile Bridge is the biggest segmental bridge on the earth! This lengthy bridge connects the higher Keys to the Lower Keys.
Make positive to take the ferry throughout to Pigeon Key which was a former work camp of the Florida East Coast Railway. You can catch the ferry over from Pigeon Key Gift Shop at mile marker 48.
17. Bahia Honda State Park and Big Pine Key
You have now entered the Lower Keys. You’ve made it farther than most, so preserve going! Coming throughout 7 Mile Bridge, most individuals b-line it to Key West because it’s almost definitely been a protracted drive, however Big Pine Key and Bahia Honda State Park are two nice locations to cease for no less than a number of hours.
Did you already know that there are wild deer within the Florida Keys? Big Pine Key homes the endangered Key deer, and they’re protected by National Key Deer Refuge Nature Center. These small deer truly swim between islands!
If you want seashores, you’re going to love Bahia Honda State Park. This state park has practically absolutely recovered after Hurricane Irma however elements of the park are nonetheless being restored. Bahia Honda State Park has tenting and two seashores of word. Sandspur Beach has reopened after Hurricane Irma and has restrooms and pavilions and Calusa Beach.
18. No Name Pub
While on Big Pine Key, cease for lunch at No Name Pub. This cease is value it simply to see the greenback payments hanging from its ceiling. No Name Pub dates again to 1931 when it was a fishing retailer. In 1936 they a restaurant was added and the No Name Pub was born.
19. Key West
Congratulations! You’ve made it to your last vacation spot in your drive from Miami to Key West which is clearly Key West. Key West is a superb place to spend a number of days taking within the Caribbean environment. Key West now not feels just like the United States, it appears like a little bit slice of the tropics.
20. Southernmost Point – Key West
The very first thing most guests do in Key West is head to the Southernmost Point marker. This is the southernmost level on mainland USA and everybody that makes it to Key West stops right here for his or her required photograph op.
21. Watch Sunset at Mallory Square, Key West
Mallory Square is likely one of the most taking place locations in Key West and it is a great spot to watch the sundown over the Gulf of Mexico. There are loads of issues to do in Mallory Square as effectively, so be certain to head over there in the course of the day. If you might be in search of a enjoyable journey, e-book a sundown tour on Aqua bikes to get pleasure from views of Sunset Key and Key West from the water. You may even carry two drinks together with you.
The Maritime Museum – The Mel Fisher Heritage Maritime Museum shows many artifacts from seventeenth-century ships. The Waterfront Playhouse – The longest-working theatre in Florida has nightly rotating reveals all 12 months lengthy. Key West Shipwreck and Treasure Museum – There’s a 65-foot lookout tower, shipwreck artifacts, and actors recreating the seventeenth-century really feel wearing interval clothes. Book your ticket prematurely The Memorial Sculpture Garden is situated immediately in entrance paying tribute to well-known patrons of the theatre and residents. Take a stroll via the traces of sculptures of well-known residents together with the busts of Ernest Hemingway, Harry S Truman, Tennessee Williams, and lots of different vital individuals.
22. Party on Duval Street in Key West
It’s no secret that individuals come to Key West for partying, and Duval Street is the place to do it. You can go bar hopping all night time lengthy on Duval Street. Some of our favorites are Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, (no journey to Key West can be full with out visiting Jimmy Buffet’s) and the Hard Rock Cafe, Lucy’s Retired Surf Bar, Sloppy Joes, Virgillios, Rick’s Café, and our private favourite The Wine O Bar and Lounge.
If you need to be a part of a tour of Duval Street to see the highest bars and eating places whereas making new mates, take a look at this improbable pub crawl tour that stops at 5 high rated pubs with a cocktail at every cease.
23. Get on the Water in Key West
Adventure lovers will get pleasure from Key West and should you don’t get on the water, you’ll be lacking out. An wonderful tour is to e-book an eco-tour to discover Key West Wildlife Refuge. Go kayaking via the mangroves, get pleasure from snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and luxuriate in a sail on an eco-pleasant catamaran with Honest Eco Tours.
Book this high-rated Sunset Tour tour right here free from worries as excursions will be canceled up to 24 hours prematurely with a full refund. Look for extra water and sundown excursions right here with Get Your Guide to discover your alternative of floating bars, schooners, and catamarans that may take you out to watch the beautiful sunsets. They provide final-minute bookings and full refunds on cancellations inside 24 hours of the tour.
One of our favorite issues to do in Key West was to go to the Located (113km) 70 miles from Key West, the Dry Tortugas is likely one of the most distant nationwide parks within the United States. Read all about it at Our Key West Vacation with IHG Rewards Club Points
24. Go Dolphin Watching off the Coast of Key West
200 bottlenose dolphins reside within the heat waters off the Florida Keys and you may take a dolphin-watching tour or we had it as a part of our Honest Eco Tour. When reserving a dolphin or wildlife tour be certain to use a sustainable acknowledged tour operator like Honest Eco Tours primarily based out of Key West or You Can e-book this Dolphin Watch and Snorkeling Tour in Advance.
25. Mile Marker 0 – Key West
Well, you made it! All the way in which to Mile Marker 0, the underside of the United States. It is customary to seize a selfie at this signal situated on Whitehead Street simply south of Duval Street.
You’ve earned it. This is the top of the road and a preferred place to make word that you’ve accomplished your drive from Miami to Key West. Wasn’t it wonderful?
Dry Tortugas National Park
You could have reached mile marker 0 however would you like to preserve this Miami to Key West highway journey going a little bit longer? From Key West, you may attain one of the vital distant nationwide parks within the United States. Located (113km) 70 miles south of Key West, Dry Tortugas is a spectacular day journey.
Located in the course of the Gulf of Mexico, Dry Tortugas can solely be reached by boat or seaplane. It was used as a fort between 1845 and 1876 to defend in the course of the Spanish American War. You can take a day journey out to discover the island and delightful sandy seashores and you may even camp in a single day on Garden Key. Book this cruise from Key West to Dry Tortugas or you may e-book a flight to the nationwide park as effectively.
Where to Stay in Key West
There are many locations to keep within the Florida Keys from Key Largo to Key West. But in excessive season it may be practically unattainable to e-book a room with out reservations. We recommend selecting one place to keep and making it your private home base to discover the Keys.
La Concha Crown Plaza is the right place to keep within the coronary heart of the motion, is situated immediately on Duval Street. The foyer is inside strolling distance from all the highest key west points of interest. There’s a pool for visitors solely. There is an opulent rooftop spa and lovely sundown views. Check for Reviews and pricing on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
Perry Hotel Key West is a quiet retreat on the marina of Stock Island. Stock Island is an extension of Key West that feels worlds away. This boutique resort has elegant rooms overlooking the waterfront. What we liked about it was the native vibe. Check it out on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
Once you might be within the Florida Keys, it’s simple to discover. With Key Largo being the northernmost island, it’s your decision to transfer on to Islamorada or Marathon. Key West is pricier than different keys, so it’s your decision to select a trip rental on one of many smaller keys.
When to do a Road Trip to Key West from Miami
We have taken a highway journey to Key West from Miami in October, November, and December. December is means too busy and you’re going to have the very best costs.
November is a quieter time and the climate is nice. You may also discover extra reasonably priced lodging and excursions aren’t booked up.
December to February is the excessive season and also you’ll have greater costs and quite a lot of crowds. But you might be just about assured good climate.
Late February to April is one other good time to go to for decrease charges and good climate.
June to November is hurricane season and it’s important to plan accordingly. Hurricane Irma did in depth injury to the Florida Keys in 2017 however it has recovered properly. This 12 months Florida was hit by Hurricane Ian however the Florida Keys managed that hurricane quie effectively. That mentioned, we’ve been to the Keys in October and had wonderful climate. The summer season months are scorching and moist.
We have been additionally in Key West for Fantasy Fest in October. This is a busy time, however it’s a distinctive time to go to to see the loopy characters that stroll the streets.
And these are our high stops on a drive from Miami to Key West. The Florida keys are so ample, it is going to take a number of journeys to actually see all of them. Let us know what we missed and we’ll be certain to add it on throughout our subsequent rip.
Plan Your Road Trip to Florida the Florida Keys with these different Florida guides