The journey from Key Largo to Key West might be less than 100 miles, but it packs in plenty of sights. You’ll travel the scenic Overseas Highway, past hundreds of tiny islands, stopping to take in idyllic beaches, blood-orange sunsets and marvellous marine life. So, if you want to hit the road to the Florida Keys, follow our A to Z guide to get your adventure off on the right track…
Planning a Florida Keys Trip
- The best time to visit the Florida Keys is between December and May. The summer months of June to October are hot, humid and wet, with a chance of hurricanes, so they’re best avoided
- Check your vehicle before you set off. Make sure you’re all topped up with water and oil, so you don’t have to worry while you’re on your holiday
- Seven Mile Bridge can get really busy at peak times. It’s best to avoid rush hour or national holidays. But, if you do get stuck, it’s a great chance to take a breath and soak in the views
- Plan lots of breaks – not only to stretch your legs, but to see everything the Keys has to offer. There are plenty of fun places to stop en route, from museums to state parks
What to See and Do
If you did the whole journey in one go, it would only take you around two and a half hours. But, with so much to see en route, you’re going to want to take your time. Here are just some of the highlights…
Snorkel in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
This is one of your first stops in Key Largo. It’s one of the only undersea parks in the US, made up of 70 square miles of protected coral reef. You can set off on a snorkelling or scuba diving trip, or cruise along on a glass-bottom boat tour. If you choose the former, you won’t want to miss a visit to the Christ of the Deep statue – a nine-foot-tall bronze statue gifted from Italy in the Sixties.
Dive Into the Spiegel Grove Wreck
Key Largo has over 100 dive sites, all less than 45 minutes from its sandy shores. Well, it is the Dive Capital of the World, after all. The Spiegel Grove wreck is a popular spot – it’s a 510-foot Navy ship, deliberately sunk in 2002 to form a new reef ecosystem. If you’re lucky, you might be joined on your dive by turtles and eagle rays.
Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s Marina
Tarpons are huge fish, which can grow up to eight feet. Over 100 hang out in the waters by Robbie’s of Islamorada every day. So, for a couple of dollars, you can walk along the dock to see them. For an extra $4, you can feed them some fish. Just beware of the pesky pelicans, who will also have their eyes on your bucket of fish.
Sunbathe on Sombrero Beach
You won’t find any sombreros here, but what you will find is a beautiful belt of white sand. It’s only a short detour from the Overseas Highway, so it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon. If you’re visiting between April and October, you might also get to see loggerhead turtles nesting on the beach.
Hike in Long Key State Park
The 1.1-mile-long Golden Orb loop takes you through mangroves and hammock trees, before bringing you to the ocean. It’s an easy walk with toilets and a picnic area, so makes an ideal pit stop.
Visit a Hospital for Injured Sea Turtles
The Turtle Hospital, in Marathon, rescues injured turtles and rehabilitates them, so they can be safely released back into the wild. Visitors can head on behind-the-scenes tours of the not-for-profit organisation. You’ll get to learn a little more about what they do, as well as feed the sea turtles.
Stop for a Drink at Morada Bay
This laidback beach café is every inch the tropical paradise – palm trees, white sand, clear waters. The brightly coloured wooden chairs and tables are pulled right up to the beach. You’ll find it just off the highway in Islamorada.
Dolphin-watch in Key West
Key West is great for dolphin-spotting – even from the shore. But to get even closer to these acrobatic marine mammals, you’ll want to take a dolphin-watching boat tour. Some tours will give you the chance to dive in for a snorkel, too.
Admire the Sunset at Mallory Square
Around 5pm every night, this part of Key West starts to buzz with life. You can expect street vendors, performers and artists, as well as food and drink stalls all basking in the beautiful sunset.
Tuck Into Key Lime Pie
A visit to the Florida Keys without Key lime pie is like going to France and not having a croissant. This place claims to have invented the delicious dessert, made from lime, egg yolks and condensed milk. Once you’ve had your fill of the traditional type, you can even sample frozen Key lime pie at Kermit’s, in Key West.
Stand at the Southernmost Point of the US
A concrete buoy marks the spot in Key West, along with a gaggle of selfie-taking tourists. You won’t want to miss this photo op, though – even if it’s just to say that you’ve been to the southernmost point in the continental USA.
Fly Drive holidays
let you touch down in Florida and hit the open road for adventure. You can drive from Key Largo to Key West, then back up to the Everglades, or even Miami. That’s what’s great about a Fly Drive holiday – the freedom. What’s more, when you book with us, you’ve got the added peace of mind of these benefits:
- 24-hour roadside assistance:
wherever you are, whenever you need us.
- Sat navs:
navigation apps available from just £6 a day
- Free drop-offs:
free one-way drop-offs within Florida and California, and between California and Nevada and Arizona, so you don’t have to worry about returning your car to the same place
- Comprehensive insurance:
our Gold Plus package includes insurance, plus a GPS, a full tank of fuel, underage driver fees, three additional drivers and child seats
- Quick and simple check-ins:
check-in online in a matter of minutes.
- 24/7 support:
we’ve got a team on the ground in Orlando on hand to help you day and night
Ready to hit the road? The keys to Florida are just a quick quote