Deep Sea Fishing Adventure
The Florida Keys are famous for their excellent deep sea fishing experiences. Many professional fishing shows are filmed down here. September through November is the best time for fishing the Keys, but you can really go any time of year.Some popular species to fish down here include Mahi-Mahi, Sailfish, Cobia, Blackfin Tuna, Wahoo,and Marlin. You can book a deep-sea fishing trip from any of the Florida Keys, but Marathon is the base for many companies.
Catch A Big One!
Charter a fishing boat and head out into open water to catch big game fish like Mahi, Marlin, and Barracuda!
Key West To Marathon Fl
As mentioned at the start of the post, my road trip was part of a 3 day trip. So I did some of these on the drive between Marathon and Key West and then the rest on the drive from Key West to Marathon . I stayed in Key West for 2 nights so I had one full day to explore Key West.
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Coolest Stops On A Miami To Key West Road Trip For 2021
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Driving from Miami to Key West is one of the most beautiful drives in the USA you can do. Heres where to stop along the way.
Taking you from the glitz and glamour of Miami to the natural beauty of the Florida Keys, the Miami to Key West drive is definitely one to do in daylight.
Like any trip to Florida, youre safe in the knowledge that this Miami to Key West road trip will give you plenty of time to enjoy the clear water and breathtaking beaches, but what you may not expect, is the fact that you can drive through it over the Overseas Highway bridge. Youll be surrounded by azure waters as you cruise across.
The drive to Key West from Miami is stunning.
Rather than doing the 3-4 hour drive all in one, Id recommend breaking up the 164-mile distance from Miami to Key West with some of these top attractions.
I was a passenger on this trip a few years ago, squished in to the back seat of a 16-seater van.
I need to do this again, with me in the driving seat, and of a Mustang if possible. The good news is, renting a car in Miami is easy!
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Dive Shops Versus Dive Bars
Both Key West and Key Largo are excellent destinations for aquatic activities. Youll find ocean kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, fishing charters, and jet skiing abound in both locations. But take note: Key Largo has more dive shops while Key West has more dive bars.
In other words, Key West has an exciting social scene, while Key Largo is more for outdoor activities. Key Largo has some incredible bars head to Sharkeys Pub and Galley Restaurant or the Caribbean Club where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall shot a film called Key Largo. But the number of bars in Key West is significantly larger. Some of the top bars in Key West include Sloppy Joes, the Green Parrot, Captain Tonys Saloon, and the citys only clothing optional bar, the Garden of Eden.
When it comes to snorkeling and diving, Key West has some great diving, but the snorkeling and diving around Key Largo surpass the opportunities around the southernmost Key by far. The reefs around both islands are incredibly healthy, beautiful, and mostly easy to access. In Key West, the best snorkeling spot youll find is in Dry Tortugas National Park. In Key Largo youll find great diving at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park , the Mosquito Bank or Sea Gardens, Molasses Reef, and the Grecian Rocks.
Eat At The Blond Giraffe Key Lime Factory
Just another 20 minutes on the Overseas Highway in your rental car and you can sample the official dessert of the Keys, key lime pie.
Made from the island-grown key limes, diners, cafes and bakeries across the coral cay archipelago say that they serve the perfect pie. But how will you know if youve never tried one before?
One of the best things about driving from Miami to Key West is all the foodie possibilities along the way.
Start your sweet pie journey in the Blond Giraffe Key Lime Factory so you can carry onto the rest of the keys with a benchmark in mind. Located in Tavernier off Mile Marker 92.2, you can enjoy a piece roadside in the secret garden or else take a pie to go.
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Florida Keys Travel Tips & Advice
- The drive from Miami to Key West takes about 4 hours without stopping, however, with all the fun stops at different islands, expect a full day.
- To experience the best of the Florida Keys, Id recommend breaking up your drive down into 2-3 days, spending the night on some other islands too.
- Winter is a great time to visit Key West, but its also high-season and the busiest. The shoulder season of March May is less packed, hotel rates become reasonable, and the weather is similar.
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Is Key West Expensive To Visit
You should plan to spend around $170 per day on your vacation in Key West , which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Also, the average hotel price in Key West for a couple is $211. So, a trip to Key West for two people for one week costs on average $2,383.
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Little Duck Key: Seven Mile Bridge
Seven Mile Bridge is the longest bridge in the Florida Keys, connecting Marathon Key to Little Duck Key. The current bridge, which opened in 1982, is actually just under seven miles long. The original Seven Mile Bridge runs alongside the current vehicle bridge and is open to pedestrians and cyclists.
Bridge to Key West
When driving along the bridge, there is nowhere to stop and get out. The best place to park up is at the Little Duck Key public boat ramp. If you are driving from Marathon to Key West, the car park will be on the right hand side of the road.
Here youll be able to get out and walk along the pedestrian part of the bridge. This is also a popular fishing spot. They even have an annual bridge run where the Seven Mile Bridge gets closed to all public traffic for just over an hour while the race takes place!
For drone fliers wanting to take aerial pictures of Seven Mile Bridge, this is also the best place to send it up. The city of Marathon is a no fly zone, even outside of the Marathon airport radius, so the Little Duck Key end of the bridge is the only option!
Marathon Key: The Turtle Hospital
The first stop on your Marathon to Key West road trip should be a visit to the Turtle Hospital! Marathon Florida is home to the first hospital of its kind in the whole WORLD. The guys at this sea turtle rehabilitation centre do an AMAZING job of raising awareness of the species as well as rescuing them and nursing them back to health. The hospital is open daily and run 90 minute educational tours, giving visitors a look at some of the behind the scenes workings of the hospital.
They handle all types of turtle problems. From injuries caused by humans, such as turtles that have been struck by a boat and ones that have swallowed waste to natural problems like Fibropapillomatosis tumours and turtles that have been caught by changing sea temperatures during the migration season.
The Turtle Hospital, Marathon Florida
Hundreds of turtles pass through their doors each year, with most of them being re-released back into the wild. There are a few permanent residents on-site that due to their injuries, wouldnt be able to survive in the wild, but are able to live a happy, healthy life at the centre! You can find my full guide to the Turtle Hospital here: Rescue, Rehabilitation, Release: Visiting The Turtle Hospital, Marathon FL
Open 7 days a week between 9am 6pm
Adult: $27 | Children : $13
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Top Places To Stop On The Drive From Miami To Key West
Every good road trip needs a destination, but many times the things to see along the way are what really make the trip, and the drive from Miami to Key West is no different. The Overseas Highway is full of fun and sometimes quirky stops to break up the drive on the way down to Key West. Heres a collection of some of our favorites organized from north to south as youd find them on the way to Key West, labeled by the nearest mile marker on HWY 1.
Where To Stay In Key West
There are a variety of places to stay in Key West . Here are some hotels and Airbnbs in Key West, Florida:
- Airbnbs:Duval Balcony Spankys Retreat , Condo in Mallory Square , Colorful Cottage , Private room near Duval
Pro tip: Okay, so this is definitely stating the obvious, but accommodation in Key West is far more expensive than other places in the Keys. If youre looking for budget accommodation, opt to stay in Marathon or somewhere in the Middle and Upper Keys instead.
Alternatively, if youre traveling to Key West in winter or the off-season, accommodation is far more affordable!
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Best Stops On Your Miami To Key West Drive
Are you looking for the best stops on your Miami to Key West drive? Well, youre in luck! This guide has all of the best stops for your Miami to Key West road trips.
The Miami to Key West drive is one of the most scenic drives in Florida and there are so many stops to make! While the highlights of Miami, the Everglades, and Key West are must-sees, there are also lesser known hidden gems, like the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, that are worth a stop. There are so many amazing places to see on the Miami to Key West drive which ones will you decide to visit?
Key West Park N’ Ride
Use the Key West Park N Ride service available at The Old Town Garage located on the corner of Grinnell and Caroline Streets. Follow signs once you get to Key West marked Park N Ride.
Rates are $4 per hour or a $32 maximum daily fee. Park your car and use free public transportation.
Your Park N Ride Garage ticket entitles you, and everyone in your vehicle, to ride the city routes of public transportation in the City of Key West for free also. Numerous bus stops are located around town. Just present your ticket stub to the bus driver when you enter the bus.
The shuttle arrives and leaves the Park N Ride every hour and while you wait you can visit one of the many shops, restaurants or bars within the newly renovated Key West Bight just a few steps from the Old Town Garage Park N Ride.
Free City bus service is only available until the expiration date printed on your ticket stub and is not applicable to the Lower Keys Shuttle service. Bus stops are located on Caroline Street in front of West Marine, across Caroline for downtown service, and just west of garage for outbound service, for your convenience.
For more information on bus stops, routes, and schedule times, please visit kwtransit.com. Review the bus schedule and plan accordingly. City bus service only operates approximately every hour and twenty minutes.
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Relax At The Bahia Honda State Park
At the end of the bridge youll reach this beach haven and marine sanctuary. For $8 a vehicle you can cruise on into paradise, aka the Bahia Honda State Park, and spend a few hours lapping up some relaxation.
Sunbathe, swim, snorkel or kayak, birdwatch, boat or bike, and if you end up staying until sunset, its the perfect place to do a bit of stargazing.
WHERE TO STAY AT BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK: Sunshine Key King Travel Trailer 6
The Sunshine Key King Travel Trailer 6 offers unique accommodation in Big Pine Key, free private parking and a great kitchen. This air-conditioned holiday home comes with a seating area, a kitchen with a microwave, and a cable flat-screen TV. A childrens playground can be found at the holiday home, along with a shared lounge. If you want to be right by the beach at the Bahia Honda State Park, then this is the holiday home for you.
Kayaking With Lazy Dog
Grab a paddle and head out into the mangroves. You can rent kayaks here or take a guided tour which will bring you to the beautiful backwaters of Key West. On one of their tours, youll paddle through mangrove creeks with blueish-green water, at some points only a few inches deep. Youll have a chance to spot all sorts of wildlife above and below the surface. Nurse sharks, jellyfish, and sea birds are frequently seen while kayaking in the lower keys. As a bonus, on some tours, you can even bring your dog!
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Bahia Honda Key/spanish Harbor Key: Bahia Honda Rail Bridge
A short way along from the Seven Mile Bridge youll come across the remains of the Bahia Honda Rail Bridge. I would suggest the best place to see it is from is Bahia Honda Key State Park on Bahia Honda Key . Theres a car park at Calusa Beach and you can walk along a small section of the old bridge from this side.
I actually stopped in a small roadside parking area on the left hand side of the road, just as you reach Spanish Harbor Key. Youll see the old rail bridge on your left as you drive over the new bridge. The responsible person in me wouldnt recommend this track though.
History of Bahia Honda Rail Bridge
The history of the Bahia Honda Rail Bridge is pretty interesting. For a long time, the Florida Keys could only be reached by boat. Henry Flagler, the founder of Standard Oil, paid for and built the Miami to Key West stretch of the Florida East Coast Railway. The Overseas Railway opened in 1912.
Along with the Overseas Railway, he also planned to build a luxury hotel in Key West exclusively for the passengers of the railway to stay at once they reached the Southernmost point of the USA. Henry Flagler died before the completion of the hotel, but in 1920 the Casa Marina Waldorf Astoria was opened, sticking to his visions as much as possible. The hotel is now operated by Hilton.
Small Town Versus Small City Feel
When you visit Key West, youll immediately feel that youre visiting a city in Florida an island city, but a city. On Key Largo, the atmosphere and pacing are much more like that of a small town or community. This means that Key West is bustling with businesses, nightlife, parties, and every kind of tourism and activity all day and much of the night while Key Largo has a more subdued pace.
Key Largo also has a much more intimate feel than Key West. This smaller, laid-back community feels homier than the bustling city of Key West. Thats not to say you wont cross paths with familiar faces over and over in Key West, but in Key Largo, youll feel like youve come to a community rather than a tourist destination.
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Why Is Clearwater Beach So Popular
Cleanliness, safety and the family-friendly environment are the main reasons why families have long enjoyed reconnecting and creating lasting memories in Clearwater. As the only Florida municipality that offers lifeguards and beach grooming 365 days a year, Clearwaters public bathing beach is perfect for families.
Best Time Of Year To Drive Between Miami To Key West
As for picking the best time of year for your Miami to Key West drive, youll want to avoid Floridas hurricane season, which is from June to November. In other words, the best time to tackle this Miami to Key West road trip is during winter or spring.
While you definitely can do the Miami to Key West drive during hurricane season, its a little easier for your plans to get upended. So, for the sake of flexibility, we recommend tackling this drive not during hurricane season, especially if youre coming from out of state.
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What Is The Calmest Beach In Florida
Top 3 Best Secluded Beaches in Florida St. George Island State Park. Canaveral National Seashore. Draper is a fan of this barrier island, a sanctuary for both people and wildlife. Caladesi Island State Park. Draper promises that real Florida awaits you at this Park, situated north of Clearwater and south of Tarpon Springs.