Miami To Key West Road Trip: Things To Do Along The Way

Miami to Key West Drive
Driving from Miami to Key West
Key West, Florida

Driving from Miami to Key West through the beautiful Florida Keys is a classic American road trip. Here’s what you can expect on the journey, plus my favorite things to do!

Key West is the Southernmost city in the United States, just a 4-hour drive from Miami on the scenic coastal Overseas Highway.

There are tons of interesting (and kitschy) things to do during the 110-mile trip to the Conch Republic, including crossing 42 different bridges!

No visit to South Florida is complete without road-tripping from Miami to Key West for a few days. Especially if you like pirates, key lime pie, water-sports, and music!

I spent 4 days exploring the Florida Keys with my friends Steph & Lauren.

These were our favorite things to do on the drive from Miami to Key West!

Key West Road Trip Guide For 2019

Group of people driving in a Jeep to Key West
Driving Down from Miami in Our Rental Jeep
Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys
The Amazing Seven Mile Bridge

Rent A Car From Miami

The only way to experience the scenic Florida Keys is behind the wheel of a convertible Jeep Wrangler like the one we rented from Tons Of Fun Tours in Miami.

Drop the top, and enjoy a beautiful coastal drive down to Key West!

To start our adventure, we slowly made our way to Marathon Key under the warm sun with the soft-top down.

Stopping for photos and quirky souvenirs, like a stuffed shark who would become our mascot for the rest of our Key West road trip!

Another option is to rent a car with Discover Cars. They search all the big car rental companies and find the best price.

Feeding Tarpon on Islamorada Island
Feeding Tarpon at Robbie’s Restaurant

Feeding Wild Tarpon

Dangling my arm over the water, a massive sea creature suddenly leaped out and wrapped its mouth around my hand to the horror of screaming onlookers.

Growing up to 8 feet long and weighing over 200 pounds, the Tarpon is a huge game fish that live in the tropical waters off the Florida Keys.

Fishermen from around the world travel here just for a chance to catch (and release) one of these monsters.

However, you can also buy a bucket of bait and hand-feed these giant fish from the docks of Robbie’s Restaurant on Islamorada. Be careful, they have small teeth that will leave marks!

It’s a must-do experience for any road trip from Miami down to Key West.

The Lighthouse at Faro Blanco
Faro Blanco Resort on Marathon Key
Tasty Fish Sandwhich for Lunch
Fish Sandwich at Tarpon Creek Bar & Grill

Exploring Marathon Key

While you could drive directly from Miami to Key West in about 4 hours, there’s a lot of cool stuff to see around the rest of the Florida Keys too.

I recommend driving down over the course of 2 days, spending a night in Marathon before continuing on to Key West.

That’s exactly what we did, booking a room at the beautiful Faro Blanco Resort to break up the drive.

While in Marathon, make sure to grab some lunch at Tarpon Creek Bar & Grill and dinner at the Lighthouse Grill. Both serve up all kinds of tasty fresh fish caught locally.

Abandoned Railroad Bridge in the Florida Keys
Old Railroad Bridge
Colorful Sunset over Seven Mile Bridge
Seven Mile Bridge at Sunset

Walk Along Seven Mile Bridge

Driving over the vibrant blue ocean for miles on a bridge that never seems to end was one of my favorite parts of road tripping the Florida Keys.

The Seven Mile Bridge was originally constructed in 1912 for railroad traffic.

These days you drive across it on your way to Key West, or park just north of the bridge at Mile Marker 47 in Marathon and go walking or biking over to Pigeon Key along the older span.

White Sand Beach at Fort Zachary State Park
Fort Zachary State Park in Key West
Sailing of the Coast of Key West
Learning to Sail in Key West

Things To Do In Key West

Learn To Sail

Gather a few friends and charter a boat for sailing lessons with Sunset Sail Key West like we did. Explore the islands powered only by the wind. They offer day trips, sunset sails, and overnight excursions.

Go Snorkeling

Dive into the ocean and swim with sea turtles, nurse sharks, parrot fish, and spiny lobsters on the shallow reefs around Key West. Join a boat tour or snorkel from the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.

Visit Hemingway’s House Cats

Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West during the 1920’s, and you can visit his old house, and make friends with the 50 or so six-toed cats that live there. The puuuurfect activity for crazy cat lovers (like me)!

Key West Sunset Locations
Key West Sunset
Key West Southernmost Point
Southernmost Point

Watch Key West Sunsets

The sunsets in Key West are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Grab a beer and watch in awe from Mallory Square as the sun drops below the Gulf of Mexico, painting the sky in brilliant shades of pink, purple, yellow, and orange.

The Southernmost Point Buoy

You can’t visit Key West and not stop by the southernmost point in the continental United States, which is marked by a red & white concrete pillar. The line for photos is long unless you get there early in the morning!

Bar Hopping On Duval Street

Duval Street may only be a mile long, but it’s packed with small bars & old Victorian mansions. Pop in and listen to one of the many live bands playing Jazz, Cuban, or Salsa music. Don’t miss the Green Parrot Bar or the (clothing optional) Garden of Eden!

For more activities and organized tours in Key West check Viator here.

Wander the Key West Pier
Wander the Key West Pier

Where To Stay In Key West

My suggestions for places to stay during your road trip from Miami to Key West. There aren’t many budget-friendly places to stay in Key West, and if you’re visiting during high-season, you really need to book a few months in advance!


Best Accommodation In Miami


Best Accommodation In Key West


Key West Food
Fresh Caught Hogfish at Bagatelle Restaurant

Where To Eat In Key West

One of the best meals I ate in Key West was at Bagatelle Restaurant, located in a beautiful old building on Duval. Locally caught Hogfish with jasmine rice and pineapple salsa. Yum!

The key lime pie was born in Key West during the early 20th century. It’s made using the small key limes native to the area, more flavorful than regular limes. The Key Lime Pie Company makes a good one!

Key West Travel Tips & Advice

  • The drive from Miami to Key West takes about 4 hours without stopping, however, with all the fun stops, expect a full day.
  • Winter is a great time to visit Key West, but it’s also the busiest due to high-season. Instead, the shoulder seasons of March – May is less packed, hotel rates become reasonable, and the weather is similar.

Travel Video: Miami To Key West Road Trip


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Travel Planning Resources For Key West

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Find cheap flights on Skyscanner. This is my favorite search engine to find deals on airlines. Also make sure to read how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent apartments from locals on Airbnb. Read more about how I book cheap hotels online.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.

Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Miami & The Keys
Suggested Reading: Key West: A Quirky Slice Of America

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Driving down through the beautiful Florida Keys from Miami to Key West is a classic American road trip. Here’s what you can expect on the journey. ExpertVagabond.com
Driving down through the beautiful Florida Keys from Miami to Key West is a classic American road trip. Here’s what you can expect on the journey. ExpertVagabond.com

READ MORE FLORIDA TRAVEL TIPS

I hope you enjoyed my guide to driving from Miami to Key West! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Have any questions about driving from Miami to Key West? Are you planning a trip? Drop me a message in the comments below!

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 9 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, photography, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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