During this challenging time, we’re all dreaming of packing up the car and leaving home in the rearview mirror. While not everyone may be able to pack up the car and hit the road just yet, this complete guide to driving from Miami to Key West will hopefully inspire your next road trip for when the time is right.
First, where is Key West?
Key West is the southernmost city in the United States, only 90 miles from Cuba. The drive from Miami to Key West takes about four hours on the scenic Overseas Highway — and there’s so much to do during the 110-mile trip.
If you don’t already live in the area, you’ll need to start by booking your visit to Florida with a flight to Miami. You can fly into either Miami International Airport (MIA) or Fort Lauderdale (FLL). If you choose the latter, it will take about 30 minutes longer to drive to Key West, but you might be able to save on flights if you fly into Fort Lauderdale.
Whichever airport you arrive in, you should then rent a car: a convertible or a jeep will offer you the chance to put the top down during the drive to the Keys. But always be sure to plan your rental according to the amount of luggage you have with you! A Mustang will definitely have less space than a Jeep.
The Overseas Highway crosses a whopping 42 bridges, so have your camera ready for some nice pictures. There’s plenty of scenic viewpoints throughout the drive from Miami to Key West.
Where should you stop between Miami and Key West?
With so much variety on this stretch of Florida’s coast, it’s hard to decide what are the best things to do and see in your limited amount of time. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and recommend stopping at these six spots during your road trip from Miami to Key West:
- Robert Is Here Fruit Stand
- Marathon Key
- Seven Mile Bridge
- Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
- Key Lime Pie Company
- Duval Street
Stop #1: Robert Is Here Fruit Stand
Getting some fresh fruit for a road trip on a hot day is a great idea. The best shop on the drive from Miami to Key West is Robert Is Here, a great fruit stand where you can stock up on Key Lime Milkshakes, homemade marmalade, and fresh produce. Located in Homestead, Florida, this fruit stand is one of those places that you must visit if you’re in the area.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of fresh fruit and shakes, you can stay in Homestead and explore other things in the area. Check out Skyscanner’s top-rated things to do in Homestead, from the Everglades Alligator Farm to the Schnebly Redland’s Winery and Brewery.
If you decide to spend the night in Homestead, there are plenty of accommodations where you can rest after a long day of driving.
Stop #2: Marathon Key
Your second stop along the way is Marathon Key, where you can visit a sea turtle hospital or a dolphin research center. All visitors must be part of a guided tour and it’s better to make reservations. Kids will love it and it will be a great chance to teach them a great lesson on nature and wildlife.
The most beautiful beach in this area is Sombrero Beach. An unusual but very popular activity on Marathon Key is fishing for tarpon. The tarpon that visits this area each spring love to hang out at bridge passes. They can grow up to eight feet long and weigh over 200 pounds! These huge fish can also be hand-fed from the docks of Robbie’s Restaurant on Islamorada (the halfway point between Miami and Key West). Make sure you don’t pull your hand back when it’s in their mouth as they have small teeth that might scrape you!
While the drive from Miami to Key West takes just about four hours, we strongly suggest you spend at least a couple of days on the Keys, booking a nice hotel in Marathon. Road trips, after all, are all about the freedom of having a car, the open road, and some time to adventure along the way.
Stop #3: Seven Mile Bridge
This famous bridge connects Knight’s Key in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. It is one of the most scenic parts of the drive from Miami to Key West so get your camera ready for some breathtaking photography! The bridge doubles up — as the old part is now used only by pedestrians and cyclists — while the new one is open to vehicular traffic.
Stop #4: Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
By now, you would have arrived in Key West, but it doesn’t mean your road trip is over. We suggest walking over to the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum. It’s the place where he lived until he died. If you love cats you will be pleasantly surprised: it’s home to about 50 of them! Interestingly, many of the cats have 6 toes.
Once you’ve arrived in Key West, you’ll most likely want to stay for a couple of nights to enjoy yourself. Use Skyscanner’s hotel search to book a room at one of the many hotels in the area.
Stop #5: Key Lime Pie Company
Key West is the perfect place to eat delicious key lime pie, made using the small limes native to the area, which are juicier and more scented. You can stop at the Key Lime Pie Company for a good slice! Everything you see is homemade, which can’t be beaten! If you have more time during your road trip, you might also like to check out these other 10 things to do in the Florida Keys.
Stop #6: Duval Street
Spending a night in Key West is mandatory. One of the hottest activities in the area is bar hopping on Duval Street, which is one mile long and packed with small bars and old Victorian mansions.
The sunsets in Key West are spectacular, and the time on the road would be worth it just for the views! So, grab your margarita and walk towards the Southernmost Point, the red, black, and yellow marker at the corner of South and Whitehead streets. The marker itself is less than inspiring, even if it’s one of the most photographed spots on the island, but from this point, you will be able to watch and photograph breathtaking sunsets — or sunrises, if you’re an early riser! You can also take your pick of beautiful beaches in Key West to watch the skies change colors.
Looking for a spot to eat on Duval Street? You’re in luck because there’s plenty of options. Head to Blue Heaven for breakfast, Bad Boy Burrito for an affordable yet hearty lunch, and Santiago’s Bodega for Spanish tapas.
Check out the video below for a recap of how to get the most out of your road trip from Miami to Key West!