The Florida Keys is the island getaway you have always wanted, all without leaving the United States of America. Thanks to the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, you don’t need to fly in or take a boat or ferry. In fact, the drive along the U.S. 1 highway offers 113 miles of stunning scenery through beautiful islands. By driving you can stop and enjoy the sites, foods, and towns along the way, and really soak in the crystalline waters and white sandy beaches that the Florida Keys are so famous for.
There is so much to do and see both in the Florida Keys and on the way. To help you get the most out of your trip we have put together a guide on where to go in the Florida Keys so that your trip is unforgettable.
Florida Keys: Best Explored by Car
Driving along the Overseas Highway is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The views are unrivaled, and the drive is incredibly pleasant. You will also be able to enjoy the islands along the way to the Florida Keys, allowing you to get even more out of your trip than you ever imagined.
Pick Up Your Rental from Miami
To really make the best out of your trip you will want to pick up a rental car in Miami. Choosing the right model now is going to make your trip much more pleasant going forward.
Choose a Great Model for Your Trip
When you rent a car you won’t always be able to decide upon the exact make and model of the vehicle you rent out, which is why for planning purposes it is better to decide on which class of vehicle is right for you.
Best for Space
SUVs are great for large families, but not great for gas mileage. If you have six or seven passengers however it is your best choice.
For groups of five or less there are more options. Full size, premium, standard, and mid-size cars are generally roomy and can fit up to three large suitcases in the back.
Best for Luxury
Luxury and premium vehicles are best for spaciousness, ease of driving, and to enjoy all the top features a vehicle can offer.
Best for Budgets
Compact and economy cars are best for two or three people, though they can often hold between four to five. They are the best for budgets, however, and tend to be the best choice for gas mileage.
Tips for Driving Around the Florida Keys
Once you have decided upon the right rental, it’s time to plan your road trip.
What to Do in Key Largo, The Gateway to the Florida Keys
Your first pit stop once you leave the Everglades is to go through Key Largo. Here you will want to make sure that you:
- Enjoy Fresh Cracked Conch
- Go on a Canal Tour in a Restored Steamboat
- Explore the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Next Stop: Islamorada
The sport-fishing capital of the world has plenty of great meals to be had and has a thriving art community. When you go, you will want to:
- Visit Rain Barrel Artisan Village
- Tour the Art Galleries
Touring Marathon Island
Marathon Island is most notable for Long Key State Park, which offers bird watching, hiking, snorkeling, the ability to rent a canoe or kayak, see some marine life, or even visit the turtle sanctuary and hospital.
Moving on you will reach the Lower Keys. When you’re there you will absolutely want to:
Cross the Seven Mile Bridge
Most famous of all the bridges in the Keys. The Seven Mile Bridge is stunning, surrounded by crystalline waters and sunny skies.
National Key Deer Refuge
Visit the National Key Deer Refuge to see some beautiful wildlife up close.
Explore the Mangroves
Rent a canoe or kayak and explore the mangroves, an essential ecosystem that is home to tropical birds, lizards, and even a favorite haunt of dolphins.
Finally, you will have reached Key West, the gem of the Florida Keys. Here you will want to:
- Visit the Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
- Explore the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
- Wander through the Town
- Enjoy the Nightlife
When it comes to where to go in the Florida Keys, you have so many great options. Just remember to give yourself enough time to enjoy all the islands on the way to the Florida Keys, and not just race to the finish line.