The Miami to Key West drive was one of many coolest highway journeys I’ve ever taken. With its tropical climate, lovely waters, and ocean-view bridges, this a part of the nation is so totally different from the remainder of America.
Although it’s lower than 200 miles, the Florida Keys highway journey packs rather a lot into its quick distance. This information will offer you a listing of all the best locations to cease on the drive from Miami to Key West, together with three nationwide parks, wildlife sanctuaries, snorkeling alternatives, seashores, and locations to get your drink on!
Most of this highway journey takes place on Route 1, aka the Abroad Freeway. It’s named that as a result of it options 42 bridges, together with the well-known Seven-Mile Bridge during which you drive throughout 7 miles of open ocean!
Right here’s every little thing it's worthwhile to plan your Florida Keys drive.
Miami to Key West Drive: Distance, Time, Planning Ideas
How far is Key West from Miami and the way lengthy is the drive? Essentially the most direct route is about 166 miles and three.5 hours. That’s when you make no stops alongside the way in which.
This itinerary contains stops at Biscayne and Everglades Nationwide Parks, and due to this fact covers 183 miles and 4.5 hours drive time. Add in all the opposite stops on the listing, and I’d counsel giving your self a minimal of two full days for the drive.
A perfect Miami to Key West highway journey would take 6 days. That’s two days for the drive all the way down to Key West, two days in Key West itself, sooner or later in Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park, and sooner or later for the return drive again from Key West to Miami.
Key Largo and Marathon are good locations to spend the night time in your drive all the way down to Key West.
Locations to Cease on a Drive from Miami to Key West
Our Miami to Key West drive information incorporates quite a few locations to cease, starting from nature preserves and out of doors actions to breweries and bars. You may choose and select the sorts of actions that almost all curiosity you.
Whereas driving on Route 1, discover the mile markers alongside the highway. These markers depend down from 127 in Florida Metropolis to Zero in Key West. We’ll be aware the mile markers for many of those points of interest.
For those who’re not native to south Florida, we’re assuming that you simply’ll wish to spend a while in Miami earlier than hitting the highway. Take a while to go to Miami’s seashores (put on numerous sunscreen!); the Cuban neighborhood Little Havana and its famed avenue Calle Ocho; the haunting Holocaust Memorial; enjoyable neighborhoods like Wynwood; and the nightlife of South Seashore. When you have extra time, contemplate a ship rental in Miami to spend a day on the water!
Get your rental automobile, get a superb night time’s sleep, and begin your Miami to Key West highway journey within the morning!
Think about spending 28 years to carve a limestone coral construction. An eccentric Latvian immigrant did simply that, creating a personal vacationer attraction simply south of Miami generally known as Coral Fortress that has a spot on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations. Grownup admission prices $18 as of 2020.
Biscayne Nationwide Park – Dante Fascell Customer Heart
Manner too many Miami to Key West highway trippers overlook Biscayne Nationwide Park. There are solely 63 nationwide parks in America – why overlook one while you’re so shut?
There’s just one mile of roadway in Biscayne NP, so that you received’t have the ability to see a lot from the automobile. The remaining is open water and a few keys accessible solely by boat or kayak. You’d want a number of hours if you wish to discover these areas.
In any other case, simply cease by Dante Fascell Customer Heart, which is conveniently situated on the mainland, 9 miles from Route 1. Try the displays, get your Nationwide Parks Passport stamped, observe the quick strolling path, and get again on the highway!
Everglades Nationwide Park
Subsequent, head over to Everglades Nationwide Park. As with Biscayne, you possibly can spend a full day or two at Everglades, so your itinerary will depend upon how a lot time you might have.
For an environment friendly, fast go to, cease by Ernest F. Coe Customer Heart (have mosquito repellent helpful!). Then head to close by Anhinga Path. The quick boardwalk by way of marshy land is the most effective locations to see alligators within the Everglades!
In lower than an hour, you may stroll by way of swampland, get eaten alive by mosquitoes, and see gators up shut. In different phrases, the complete Everglades expertise! Watch out for the vultures that prefer to assault automobiles.
Within the Everglades, you may take an airboat tour by way of the swamps to see gators. Or attempt an eco-friendly kayak tour. This type of tour is a little more costly, nevertheless it’s a lot better for the setting.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
After the Everglades, head south on Route 1 and also you’re lastly on the Abroad Freeway. At mile 102.5, as you strategy Key Largo, go to John Pennekamp State Park – some of the thrilling locations to cease on the drive from Miami to Key West.
This park is famend as top-of-the-line snorkeling reefs on this planet. Hire a kayak or scuba/snorkel gear to stand up shut with the aquatic life. Or take a glass-bottom boat tour. This actually is an “underwater playground.” Entry charge is $Eight per automobile.
Florida Keys Wild Chook Rehabilitation Heart
Discover the Florida Keys Wild Chook Heart along with the Laura Quinn Wild Chook Sanctuary in Tavernier. It’s situated at mile 93.6 on the Abroad Freeway.
The middle requests a $10 donation from guests. It’s open 9 to five on weekdays, with every day pelican feedings at 2:30. President George Bush Sr. (#41) used to dine at Marker 88 when he was on the town for fishing holidays.
Marker 88 Restaurant
Gobble up steak or seafood at Marker 88 on Plantation Key. Chill out with a fruity cocktail and hang around at one of many solely pure seashores within the Keys. This restaurant has been open since 1967.
Rain Barrel Artisans Village & Lobster Statue
At mile 86.7, pull over on the Rain Barrel Artisans Village in Islamorada. The village has retailers and galleries with native artists promoting their wares. It’s simple to identify – simply search for the enormous lobster statue!
Betsy the Lobster is round 40 toes lengthy and has been watching over the place for 4 a long time now. She’s the second-most photographed statue within the Florida Keys, behind solely the Southernmost Level in Key West.
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
That title is a mouthful, isn’t it? Windley Key Park (mile 84.9) options academic displays in regards to the historical past of fossilized coral within the Florida Keys. The positioning was used as a quarry till the 1960s and items of equipment stay on show. The state park is open throughout daytime (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and admission is $2.50 per individual.
Historical past of Diving Museum
At mile 83.0, see the Historical past of Diving Museum. The Keys have extra diving than simply about wherever else within the U.S., so that is the proper setting for such a museum!
Open 10-5 every day, the museum is right for scuba divers or for individuals like me, who won't ever scuba dive however want to study one thing about it.
Islamorada Craft Breweries
Prepared for a drink but? Discover two craft breweries shut collectively in Islamorada. There’s Islamorada Beer Firm at mile 82.2, and the Florida Keys Brewing Firm at mile 81.6. The latter is a little more spacious, however each are in style. Attempt a flight to present your style buds and your liver a superb time!
The massive draw at Robbie’s Marina at mile 77.Zero is the prospect at hand feed some huge tarpon fish. Tarpon can develop a number of toes lengthy – in actual fact, I noticed 4 of them whereas snorkeling in Dry Tortugas. Right here at Robbie’s, you may pay a couple of bucks to go to their dock and get a bowl of fish elements.
Feeding them to the group of tarpon that dangle across the dock is likely one of the most fun actions in the course of the drive from Miami to Key West! Simply look ahead to pelicans that may attempt to steal away your fish elements. Maintain a watch open for manatees and small sharks, too! Robbie’s additionally affords three every day “partyboat fishing” voyages, in case that’s your factor.
Dolphin Analysis Heart
At mile 59.Zero on the Key West to Miami highway journey comes the Dolphin Analysis Heart. Company pay $28 for primary admission to see interactive dolphin applications from the docks. For those who’ve bought further money, e-book one of many further applications the place you may meet dolphins up shut, like “Paint With a Dolphin” or “Household Dolphin Splash.”
Be aware: Google Maps exhibits two totally different Dolphin Analysis Facilities six miles aside. Make sure you examine the tackle. Search for 58901 Abroad Freeway, Grassy Key, Florida.
The Sea Turtle Hospital
An outdated motel at mile 48.5 is now the Turtle Hospital, or Sea Turtle Heart. For $27 (yeah, it’s steep), you may be part of one of many hourly guided excursions to see the ocean turtles. You’ll get an opportunity to feed the turtles on the finish of the hour. The Turtle Hospital has launched greater than 1500 turtles into the wild of their 35 years of operation.
Seven Mile Bridge
The title says all of it. It’s a two-lane bridge that actually runs for seven miles (miles 40-47) surrounded by ocean. Driving Seven Mile Bridge is a novel expertise. About midway by way of, you’ll actually begin to admire what an bold concept it was to create such a protracted bridge. This one opened to site visitors in 1982.
You may park within the pullouts on both finish of the bridge to get out and take pics of the bridge and attempt to stare far off within the distance to attempt to see the opposite finish of the bridge (you received’t have the ability to!)
Whenever you see footage of this bridge, you’ll discover one other smaller bridge subsequent to it. That’s “Outdated Seven Mile Bridge.” It supplies entry to tiny Pigeon Key.
A number of Florida Keys highway journey itineraries will let you know that the outdated bridge is closed whereas it undergoes repairs. However as of 2022, Outdated Seven Mile Bridge has re-opened to pedestrians and bicyclists! After a five-year wait, the bridge can as soon as once more be loved by the general public. Keep up to date on the state of the bridge right here.
Bahia Honda State Park
The subsequent must-visit on our Florida Keys drive is Bahia Honda State Park at mile 36.8. It has the most effective white sand seashores within the Keys, though they’re nonetheless fairly modest in comparison with the seashores in the remainder of Florida.
This park expenses $Eight per automobile. It’s one other in style spot for kayaking and snorkeling. You too can stroll a brief path that gives cool views of Bahia Honda Bridge, a two-tiered former railroad and automobile bridge. Sections of this bridge are lacking, which creates cool photograph alternatives – particularly when you catch it at sundown.
Nationwide Key Deer Refuge
The endangered Key Deer is discovered solely within the Florida Keys. It’s an uncommon place for deer, since there’s extra water than land! But these critters endure. Their small dimension in all probability helps.
Within the 1950s, just a few dozen of those deer remained, however due to the Nationwide Key Deer Refuge, there are actually an estimated 1000 or so Key Deer residing right here. You may go to the refuge at mile 30.three and stroll the paths to attempt to see a few of them.
No Title Pub
Instantly after the refuge, briefly go away the Abroad Freeway to search out No Title Pub. This colourful bar and restaurant is one other of probably the most enjoyable locations to cease on the drive from Miami to Key West. It has its personal distinctive character, beginning with the 1000's of $1 payments earlier guests have left hanging from the ceiling!
The ultimate 30 miles between No Title Pub and Key West don’t have that many points of interest price stopping for. You’ll see a number of eating places, tiki bars, RV resorts and campgrounds.
Quickly sufficient, you’ll arrive in Key West! Go searching for all of the points of interest, together with Mile Marker Zero, indicating the tip of the Abroad Freeway!
The Hemingway Home is one in every of Key West’s hottest points of interest. It’s the house the place famed writer Ernest Hemingway lived within the 1930s. You may tour the lavish property and see the 50-plus cats on the premises, a lot of that are descended from Ernie’s personal felines.
In fact, you’ve bought to go to the Southernmost Level as nicely. This painted concrete buoy is the primary photograph alternative in Key West. It’s free to get your selfie right here, however beware the strains of vacationers ready.
I extremely advocate coming as early as doable to keep away from the push. In actual fact, I've a complete article describing issues to do in Key West within the morning.
You may go parasailing right here. That’s the place you’re connected to a harness and a parachute, so that you’re principally “flying” within the air above a ship. Right here’s the top-rated parasailing tour we advocate!
One other nice out of doors possibility is renting a ship in Key West. You may constitution a yacht or catamaran for a day of fishing or simply taking within the sundown.
Different worthwhile locations to cease in Key West embody Duval Avenue, which is house to lots of the large celebration bars that give the town its repute; Mallory Sq., a fantastic place to catch the sundown; the Key West Lighthouse, which has nice views; and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Don’t overlook to seize a slice of key lime pie when you’re right here too!
RECOMMENDED TOURS IN KEY WEST:
Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park
Simply since you’ve made it to Key West doesn’t imply your journey ought to finish! I extremely advocate taking a day journey to distant Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park, a series of islands situated 67 miles west of Key West.
You may take the Yankee Freedom ferry from Key West to Dry Tortugas. It’s costly and you might have to e-book weeks upfront. Nevertheless it’s price it!
The ferry takes a number of hours, and also you’ll have round 4-5 hours to discover the principle island. That’s sufficient time to stroll round historic Civil Conflict-era Fort Jefferson and do some snorkeling within the clear waters.
When you have a number of days to spare, you may go tenting at Dry Tortugas. I spent three nights there and cherished it. It’s so removed from civilization that it’s remoted and peaceable.
Locations to Keep on a Florida Keys Street Journey
For those who’re searching for lodging within the Florida Keys, these are our urged suggestions. Lodges could be costly on this space, so even the “funds” accommodations will likely be expensive. You could wish to examine your choices on Airbnb as nicely.
The place to Keep in Key Largo:
Finances: Key Largo Inn
Upscale: Waterside Suites and Marina
The place to Keep in Islamorada:
Finances: Sundown Inn
Upscale: Islander Resort
The place to Keep in Marathon:
Finances: Coconut Cay Resort
Upscale: Isla Bella Seashore Resort & Spa
The place to Keep in Key West:
Finances: Seashell Motel Hostel
Mid-Vary: Silver Palms Inn
Upscale: Margaritaville Key West Resort
Miami to Key West Shuttle Particulars
A fast phrase on transportation. Automobile rental is clearly the popular methodology to journey by way of the Florida Keys. For those who’ve bought a automobile, you’re all set.
You may take a one-day bus tour of Key West from Miami. You meet the bus at 7 am in Miami, and also you’ll have 6 hours in Key West earlier than returning again to Miami within the night.
There are a number of Miami to Key West shuttle choices. Keys Shuttle, as an example, transports passengers between Key West and Miami or Ft. Lauderdale airports. However meaning you continue to have to search out your method from the airport to the town, which isn’t perfect.
As for different choices, Megabus doesn't provide service to Key West, however Greyhound and Flixbus have provided service. There’s a route that runs between these cities, with one cease in Islamorada on the way in which. Right here’s a useful bus information detailing the present Miami to Key West bus choices.
One different be aware: It appears lots of people are questioning a few Key West highway journey that begins within the Orlando space. That’s going to take a bit longer. The gap from Orlando to Key West is about 400 miles, or 6.5 hours. That’s nonetheless completely doable in sooner or later, however you’d should skip many of the points of interest on this article.
Finest Time to Go to Key West and the Florida Keys
The climate is beautiful all yr, so you may come anytime. The primary season to keep away from could be hurricane season. Formally, hurricane season runs June by way of November. However sometimes, the very best odds for hurricanes happen from August by way of October.
South Florida turns into an enormous vacationer vacation spot beginning round Christmas. Peak vacationer season on this a part of Florida continues into January. Whereas Florida is a well-liked vacation spot for households and spring break faculty children throughout March and April, most of them go to Miami or different areas of the state, moderately than Key West.
So what’s the most effective time to go to the Florida Keys? Personally, I like March by way of Might to keep away from crowds. The household summer season highway journeys don’t begin till college is out in June, so spring is right if you are able to do it then.
My Might go to a number of years again was excellent when it comes to climate and a smaller variety of vacationers.
Have you ever ever carried out the Key West to Miami highway journey drive? Bought every other suggestions?