One of my favorite areas that I never get tired of visiting. Especially driving from South Miami to Key West, the view is spectacular!
The Florida Keys are an archipelago that has about 1,700 islands to the south of the state and very close to Cuba. It’s even only 90 miles from the southernmost part of Key West to Cuba.
If you are in Miami, you can take the Turnpike south bound or US1 south (although you will encounter many traffic lights and a little or a lot of traffic). By taking the Turnpike you will get to US1 that takes you to Key West.
The route there is beautiful. I promise, you won’t get bored. It may take you about 4 hours to drive to Key West, but there are several places where you can stop to relax for a few minutes, eat, or take in the incredible views and sights in several of the keys. So maybe it’s a little over 4 hours.
At the beginning of the trip, you pass by part of the Everglades National Park. Then the scenery changes to the sea where the blue can easily blend in with the sky. Crystal clear and calm waters. Many boats and fishermen. Restaurants of all kinds, museums and much more.
The first key you drive by is Key Largo. And just as its name implies, it is the largest key. This key is known as “Diving Capital of the World” because of the reefs that are very close to the coast. Many visit this area for being very close to Miami and being able to do various water sports including kayaking. You’ll also find John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park. I’ll tell you a little more about this beautiful park that you can visit, enjoy the beach and maybe even rent a boat to navigate around the area.
Then you continue to Islamorada. You’ll find fun places to visit as Theater of the Sea, restaurants that will be difficult to choose a good one since all the ones I have tried are delicious, stores like Islamorada Fish Company which is operated by Bass Pro Shop. There, by the way, you can eat delicious dishes while enjoying the view.
In this Key, you will find Holiday Isle, my favorite point when I go to Key West. There is a hotel, some shops, a marina, a place to eat and a bar. Live music many times. Best of all … the view. Of course, if you visit during the month of March, expect to find many college kids having a good time thanks to Spring Break.
After several small keys, you get to Marathon. The most emblematic of this area is the 7-mile bridge that you have to cross if you continue to Key West. But first, you can visit a beach that is a few minutes away from US1 and some shops. There is also a small airport here.
Before crossing the 7-mile bridge, there is a space to park and get to know the place better. The photos from there are beautiful.
More little keys separate Marathon and Key West, but you’re almost there. One of the places you will pass is Bahia Honda, considered among the most beautiful beaches in the United States, it is a national park so to enter … you have to pay. But you can also consider spending the night here either at a cabin or your own tent.
While driving towards Key West, do so with caution as you may encounter some deer from the area known as ‘Key Deer’. They only inhabit this area, so they are very protected. I have seen several, but generally overnight.
In Key West, there are many options that I will be adding on this blog. Many hotels (which I recommend you book in advance as they tend to be a bit more expensive and small), restaurants, entertainment and more. The sunset from the pier is something you can’t miss. Walking down the famous Duval St. and visiting one of the many bars is another option that you should not miss. And of course, a photo at the southernmost point of the country, being the most photographed place in Key West you can find a line for your turn.
If you have any anecdote or travel tips that you want to add about the Florida Keys, do not hesitate to contact us so we can publish your story.