Do you like the big city nightlife when vacationing, but want to visit small Islands too? You can have the best of both worlds. Take a fun road trip from Miami to Key West. South Florida is always a win-win! if you’re looking for things to do from Miami to Key West, keep reading!
The journey from Miami to Key West is one of the most beautiful road trips in the world. Spanning more than 100 miles, it takes you through some of Florida’s best national parks and key destinations like Key Largo. Here are some activities that can be enjoyed along the way as you drive by the clear, blue water of the Atlantic ocean.
What to Pack for a Road Trip
Why Visit Miami?
Miami is the perfect place to start your journey to Key West. Not only are there plenty of attractions and activities in Miami, but it’s also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. From South Beach to downtown Miami, you can find a variety of things to do including visiting museums, exploring Wynwood Walls, or even taking a boat tour.
Cities in Miami-Dade County
- Miami Springs – Located in the heart of Miami, this quaint town is filled with colorful buildings and vibrant culture. There are plenty of things to do here including visiting local shops, tasting delicious Cuban food, or even exploring nearby parks.
- Hialeah – With an abundance of restaurants and stores, Hialeah offers a bustling shopping experience as well as great nightlife.
- Surfside – Surfside is a great place to take a dip in the ocean. There’s also the nude beach, Haulover Beach.
- Sunny Isles Beach – With miles of pristine beaches, Sunny Isles Beach is the perfect place to relax and soak up some sun. There are also plenty of activities here like fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
- Miami Beach – You may want to stay a few nights in Miami Beach. There are some fun nightclubs like LIV and Story, or you can just enjoy the sand and sun on one of the beautiful beaches. I recommend breakfast a the Front Port on Ocean Drive, one of the local’s favorites.
- Coral Gables – Coral Gables is a beautiful city located just Southwest of Miami and offers visitors plenty of exciting activities. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach or a night on the town, Coral Gables has something for everyone.
Neighborhoods in Miami
- Little Havana – This vibrant Cuban community is a great place to get a taste of local culture. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to explore as well as several art galleries.
- Little Haiti – Just north of Little Havana, this vibrant area is home to a variety of Haitian-American shops and restaurants.
- Wynwood – One of the trendiest neighborhoods in Miami, Wynwood is filled with incredible street art and graffiti murals. It’s also home to some of the hottest clubs and bars in tow.
Why Drive to Key West?
Driving to Key West is the perfect way to take in the stunning views of Florida’s overseas highway. This route offers some of the best sights, including Big Pine Key and the famous Seven Mile Bridge. Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, or snorkeling. It’ ‘s also a great way to explore the small Islands.
The Best Time to Take a Road Trip from Miami to Key West
The best time to go on a road trip from Miami to Key West depends on the season. Generally, it’s best to travel between April and October when temperatures are milder and there is less rainfall. However, if you’re looking for great deals, consider traveling during summer months as many hotels offer great packages then.
1. Visit John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Located in Key Largo, your first stop: this park is the first underwater state park in the United States and is home to a variety of marine life, coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and native plants.
2. Test your skills at mile markers: Mile markers (or MM) are used throughout the Keys to indicate distances. Each mile marker is marked with a green sign that reads “MM” followed by the number of miles from Key West. You can test your navigational skills by trying to find different MM stops along the way.
3. Explore Bahia Honda State Park: Located south of Marathon, this park is one of the most beautiful and serene areas in the Florida Keys. Bahia Honda offers some of the best snorkeling and swimming along the coral reefs, beach camping, biking trails, and much more.
4. Visit Everglades National Park: The Everglades National Park is a must-see destination while on your way to Key West. The park is home to a variety of ecological systems and wildlife, including the endangered Florida panther. You can take an airboat ride or hike through the trails to explore the area.
5. Indulge in the key lime pie: Key West is known for its key lime pies, and you can find some of the best slices along your journey. Stop at a roadside stand or one of the many restaurants on Duval Street to enjoy a slice of key lime goodness.
6. Visit The Southernmost Point: The Southernmost Point is a popular landmark in Key West. It’s located at the corner of South and Whitehead Streets and is marked by an iconic buoy that reads “90 Miles to Cuba”.
7. Relax on Smathers Beach: Take some time to relax and soak up the sun on Smathers Beach, one of the best beaches in Key West. Here you can find a variety of activities such as parasailing, jet skiing, and stand-up paddle boarding.
8. Visit Ernest Hemingway’s House: The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a great place to visit for any fan of the great American writer. You can take a tour of his home and learn more about his life in Key West. You may even spot a Hemingway cat!
9. Explore the Shipwreck Museum: The Key West Shipwreck Museum is a great way to learn about some of the many shipwrecks that have occurred off the coast of Key West over the years.
10. Catch the sunset at Mallory Square: Mallory Square is one of the best spots in Key West for catching a beautiful sunset. The area is filled with locals, street performers, and sunset viewers alike.
11. Taste the best seafood in town: Key West is known for its amazing seafood and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. Try a fresh-caught lobster at one of the local eateries or get some conch fritters on Duval Street. Duval Street is by far one of the best stops to experience live entertainment and good food. You are sure to have a good time!
12. Dry Tortugas National Park: Dry Tortugas National Park is located 70 miles west of Key West and is accessible only by boat or seaplane. The park features a historic fort, pristine white sand beaches, and crystal-clear waters for snorkeling and diving.
13. Dolphin Research Center – Explore the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon and learn about dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life. The center offers a variety of interactive programs that are perfect for kids and adults alike.
15. Guided Tour – Take a guided tour of the Keys and learn about the history, culture, and natural beauty of this unique area. From airboat rides to kayak tours, there are plenty of ways to explore the Florida Keys.
16. Fantasy Fest – Mardi Gras-style event, Fantasy Fest is the perfect way to celebrate your key west road trip. Enjoy live music, costumes, and plenty of other festivities that make this one of the most unique festivals in Florida
17. Picnic – Pack a picnic and take some time to relax on one of the many beaches along the way while driving on your Key West road trip. Stop by a roadside stand for some fresh fruit and snacks or get some ice cream from a local shop. You will find plenty of picnic tables.
18. Visitor Center – Be sure to stop by one of the many visitor centers in Key West and Miami for maps, brochures, and information about hurricane season. It’s important to stay informed during hurricane season as storms can develop quickly.
19. Fishing – Get a permit and engage in some fishing while you’re here! The Keys are known for their great fishing spots and you can find a variety of species from snapper to tarpon.
20. Snorkeling – Head out on the water and explore the coral reefs with some snorkeling! The Florida Keys is home to some of the best snorkeling spots in North America, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunity.
19. Check out Live Music – Live music is a big part of the Key West culture, so don’t forget to check out some of the local venues. You can find live music playing at bars and cafes all over Key West.
20. Glass-Bottom Boat Tour – One of the best things to do is take a glass-bottom boat tour and get an up-close view of the marine life below. Tours are available throughout the Keys, offering guests unique views of dolphins, rays, fish, and more.
21. History of the Diving Museum – Learn about how diving and underwater exploration have shaped our view of the world with a visit to the History of Diving Museum. The museum features interactive displays, artifacts, and even an underwater archaeology research laboratory.
22. Robbies Marina – Stop by Robbies Marina and take a tour of the marina, feed the tarpon, and even get up close and personal with some of the sea life. You can also rent boats or take a sunset cruise from here.
23. Airboat Tour – Take a thrilling airboat tour through the Everglades and explore its unique ecosystem. You can see alligators, birds, and a variety of other animals on this exciting tour. You will remember your Florida keys road trip with this experience.
24. Key West Butterfly Conservatory – Visit the key west butterfly conservatory and learn about the many species of butterflies that live in this tropical paradise. The conservatory offers guided tours and interactive exhibits to help visitors learn more about the key’s most colorful inhabitants.
25. Mallory Square – Watch the sunset over Key West at Mallory Square. This popular spot is home to street performers, vendors, food trucks, and plenty of other entertainment that make for a great evening out.
26. Bird Watching – Grab your binoculars and head out for some bird watching! The Keys are home to a wide variety of tropical birds and you’re sure to spot something special if you keep your eyes peeled. It’s one of the best places to do some bird watching.
27. Rest and Relax – Take some time to rest and relax during your key west road trip. With miles of beaches, lush landscapes, and plenty of activities, the Keys provide an ideal way to unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a unique experience, there are plenty of things to do from Miami to Key West. Remember, hurricane season runs from June through November. It’s best to plan your trip from April through October to avoid storms and high winds. With so much to offer in the Florida Keys, there’s sure to be something for everyone!