How to Plan the Ultimate Orlando & Florida Keys Road Trip

  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 14 September 2022
  • Revised 24 October 2022
How to Plan the Ultimate Orlando & Florida Keys Road Trip
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 14 September 2022
  • Revised 24 October 2022
How to Plan the Ultimate Orlando & Florida Keys Road Trip
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 14 September 2022
  • Revised 24 October 2022
With so much to see in the Sunshine State, a Fly Drive holiday gives you the keys to Florida - leaving you only a left or right turn away from countless dream destinations, all in one holiday. Not least an Orlando to Florida Keys road trip, where you can combine adrenaline-pumping theme parks and alluring city landmarks with serene sunbathing and wildlife experiences on tropical islands. With this holiday bliss in mind, here’s our guide to planning the ultimate Florida road trip...

Plan Ahead

When it comes to planning your American adventure, Ocean Florida’s Fly Drive packages tick a lot off your list from the start. You’ll get comprehensive vehicle and holiday cover as standard, as well as 24-hour roadside assistance, simple online check-in, and free drop-offs. Plus, when you upgrade to our Gold Plus package, we’ll also include a GPS, a full tank of fuel, three additional drivers and child seats.

Our Road Trip Top Tips

•    You can hire sat navs from only £6 a day with us. However, if you’re not planning on hiring one, be sure to download a maps app on your phone – there are many apps with downloadable routes that can saved offline, so you don’t have to drain your precious data. It’s also worth investing in a phone mount, so you can easily see directions while driving
•    Make sure to pack a first aid kit, with the likes of plasters, antiseptic wipes and antibiotic cream
•    Plan your packing accordingly. If you’re heading to the Everglades, for instance, you’ll want comfy walking shoes, hats, bug spray and a mini battery-operated fan
•    Bring a reusable water bottle. This way, you don’t have to rely on stocking up on water bottles en route
•    If you’ve got space, keep a cooler in the car for storing snacks and drinks
•    Book your hotels ahead of time. Things can get really busy in peak season. So it’s a great idea to map out how long you want to spend in each spot, look at driving times and activities, and start narrowing down places to stay

Your Itinerary 

Kick things off in Orlando – the Theme Park Capital of the World. The total drive time between Orlando and the Florida Keys is between four and seven hours – depending on where you finish up, and traffic. But there are plenty of places to stop along the way, breaking up the driving and packing in the activities – win-win. Follow our suggested itinerary below, stopping as often or as little as you like. After all, the saying goes – it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. 

Where to Stop En Route

Hutchinson Island [2-hour drive from Orlando]:

This skinny barrier island – or technically, two – provides the perfect antidote to Orlando’s buzz, with unspoilt beaches galore. Manatees, dolphins, whales and turtles all swim in the waters offshore. And you can study up on marine species at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, with its nature trails, lagoons and stingray aquarium. 

West Palm Beach
[2-hour 30-minute drive from Orlando]:

Like the name suggests, beaches are top of the list in West Palm. It grants easy access to almost 50 stretches along the Atlantic Coast. But that’s not its only charm. You can see Florida’s ‘sea cows’ at Manatee Lagoon, visit over 500 animals at Palm Beach Zoo, or watch local bands perform at Rosemary Square – an open-air shopping and entertainment hub. 

Fort Lauderdale
[3-hour drive from Orlando]:

This city flies under the radar, compared to big-hitting Miami and Orlando, but it’s just as worthy of wonder. Its oceanfront promenade is packed with upscale eateries, bars, boutiques and hotels. Or, you can get back to nature at one of its many beaches, hang out with tropical birds at Flamingo Gardens, or explore its waterways via taxi boat. 

[3-hour 30-minute drive from Orlando]:

Miami’s a city that needs little introduction. This buzzing metropolis is dubbed the Magic City for several reasons. Firstly, it’s got a glorious oceanfront postcode, which means white-sand beaches are just as common as waterfront malls. A drive or stroll down Ocean Drive is another essential – it’s where you’ll see the city’s Art Deco architecture in all its modernist glory.  

Everglades National Park
[3-hour 50-minute drive from Orlando]:

This wetlands preserve is a must when visiting the Sunshine State. It spreads out over 1.5 million acres of central and southern Florida, and on an airboat tour, you’ll pass alligators, birds, turtles and lizards as you breeze through the mangroves and marshes. Just make sure to bring earplugs for younger kids, as the airboats can be loud for little ears. 

Where to Finish Your Journey

At the end of your trip, you’ll reach the Florida Keys. Made up of over 1,000 teeny-tiny islands, this place really slows the tempo down. Life moves at the gentle pace of the calming waves along its many waterways. The islands are joined by a series of bridges and the famous overseas Highway 1. We’d recommend checking out Key Largo at the top, or Key West – Florida’s southernmost point – right at the tip of the Keys...

Key Largo
[4-hour 30-minute drive from Orlando]:

Key Largo’s the first of the Florida Keys. After starting in the Theme Park Capital of the World, you’ll now be entering the Dive Capital of the World. And it’s no surprise when it’s home to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the world’s biggest artificial reef: the USS Spiegel Grove shipwreck. Above the waves, you can visit the historic African Queen steamboat – made famous by the Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn classic.


Key West [6-hour 30-minute drive from Orlando]:

This is the southernmost point in the continental USA. And that’s not its only claim to fame. It’s so idyllic here that writers like Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams have all been drawn to its shores. You can even visit the former home of Hemingway, which is a masterpiece of Spanish colonial architecture. Come evening, we recommend heading to Mallory Square for the nightly sunset festival. 

Ready for a road trip? Your journey starts here. View our Fly Drive guide for further details or get in touch with our Travel Specialists today.

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