If you are going from Miami to Keywest, the distance is 159 miles or 256 km.
It’s an epic trip from the bustling city of Miami to the tropical paradise of Key West.
Buckle up as we take you on a journey from the Magic City to the Conch Republic with plenty of tips and insights.
How far is Key West from Miami?
The distance from Miami to Key West is around 159 miles (256 km) if you measure it in a straight line. But the drive time is around 4 hours.
However, this road trip isn’t just about the miles; it’s about the incredible journey from the bustling streets and suburbs of Miami to the laid-back paradise of Key West.
The drive takes you along the famous Overseas Highway, which stretches from Florida’s mainland to the southernmost point in the USA, Key West.
The journey is complete with breathtaking views of the ocean, unique attractions, and charming stops along the way. While the actual driving time can vary depending on factors like traffic and stops, it’s best to plan for a leisurely drive, taking at least a few days to savor the experience.
Things to know that can impact your driving time
When embarking on the picturesque road trip from Miami to Key West, there are several factors to remember.
These factors can significantly impact your driving time. Here are some crucial things to know:
- Traffic in Miami: Miami is known for its heavy traffic, especially during rush hours. Leaving early in the morning or during off-peak times can help you avoid congestion as you start your journey.
- Weekends and Holidays: The Florida Keys are a popular weekend getaway, and holidays can see increased traffic. Planning your trip during weekdays or non-holiday periods can lead to a smoother drive.
- Hurricane Season: The hurricane season in Florida typically runs from June to November. Check weather advisories before your trip, as severe weather can impact road conditions and safety.
- Speed Limits: While the standard speed limit on Florida’s highways is 65 mph, it can be lower, especially along Highway 1. Pay keen attention to speed limit signs and adjust your travel time accordingly.
- Road Closures and Diversions: Roadworks, closures, and diversions can affect your route. Stay updated with local advisories and consider using navigation apps for real-time traffic updates.
- Fuel Stops: Ensure your fuel tank is topped up before heading into the Keys. Finding gas stations can be challenging once you’re on the islands, and running out of fuel could cause delays.
- Scenic Stops: The drive from Miami to Key West is not just about getting to your destination but the journey itself—factor in time for scenic stops, photo opportunities, and exploring beautiful Florida.
Tips to go from Miami to Key West (shortest-cut route)
While the Miami to Key West drive is a journey meant to be savored.
If you’re looking to make the trip in the shortest possible time, here are some tips to help you streamline your route and minimize travel time:
- Avoid Peak Traffic: Miami’s traffic can be daunting. Leave early in the morning or during non-peak hours to escape the congestion as you exit the city.
- Choose Off-Peak Days: Weekdays are generally less congested than weekends. Therefore, traveling during non-holiday periods can save you time.
- Use Navigation Apps: Apps like Google Maps or Waze provide real-time traffic updates. It would suggest the fastest routes and alert you to potential delays.
- Plan Stops Wisely: While the Florida Keys offer numerous tempting stops, limit your breaks to essentials like refueling and quick meals. Save leisurely stops for your return journey.
- Maintain Speed Limits: Keep an eye on speed limits, significantly as they drop along Highway 1 in the Keys. Avoiding speeding tickets or accidents will help you maintain a steady pace.
- Ferry Consideration: If time is of the essence, consider taking a ferry from Marco Island to Key West. It may save you driving hours and offer a unique perspective on the journey.
- Weather Awareness: Check weather conditions, especially during hurricane season. Inclement weather can lead to road closures and delays.
- Pack Essentials: Ensure you have everything you need before starting your journey. So you don’t waste time searching for items along the way.
By following these tips and maintaining a focused approach, you can complete the Miami to Key West drive in the shortest time possible. While still enjoying the remarkable scenery and attractions of the Florida Keys.
The must-visit 15 stops from Miami to Key West drive
Throughout this scenic 165-mile adventure, you’ll encounter 15 remarkable stops, each offering unique charm and specialty.
- Miami: Begin your journey in this vibrant city. You can revel in the glitz of Ocean Drive, soak up the sun on South Beach’s pristine sands, and savor exquisite Cuban cuisine.
- Homestead – Coral Castle Museum: Witness the mysterious allure of a massive limestone castle. It was built single-handedly by Edward Leedskalnin over 28 years ago, an architectural marvel that continues to baffle the world.
- Robert is Here Fruit Stand: Learn the story behind this family-owned fruit stand. Here’s where you can indulge in rare and exotic fruits and vegetables while enjoying an animal farm and playful surroundings.
- Everglades National Park: Enjoy the beauty of this renowned national park, known for its wildlife. Embark on an airboat tour or wildlife expedition for an up-close encounter with nature.
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park: Tackle the first undersea park in the U.S., where you can explore mesmerizing coral reefs and vibrant marine life. They offer snorkeling, kayaking, or glass-bottom boat tours.
- Cruise on the African Queen: Relive the classic film magic aboard the iconic steamboat. It offers canal cruises and a glimpse into cinematic history.
- Islamorada: Known as the “Village of Islands,” this picturesque beach town beckons with many attractions. They include Rain Barrel Artisans Village, Robbie’s Marina, and the Islamorada Beer Co.
- Rain Barrel Artisans Village: Stroll through this open-air garden property, home to galleries, specialty shops, and boutiques. It showcases unique local art, handcrafted crafts, and Florida-style resort wear.
- Robbie’s Marina: Feed enormous tarpon and enjoy seafood delights and scenic waterfront views.
- Islamorada Beer Co: Savor locally brewed beer in a taproom and spacious garden. It epitomizes the laid-back Florida Keys lifestyle.
- Dolphin Research Center: Interact with dolphins and learn about their conservation efforts. It is a remarkable facility dedicated to these marine creatures.
- Turtle Hospital: Witness the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles and contribute to their conservation efforts. It aids to help you get up close and personal with these endangered creatures.
- Seven Mile Bridge: Savor breathtaking views of endless turquoise waters and mangrove forests. You can watch them cross this iconic bridge connecting the Keys’ islands.
- Bahia Honda State Park: Find the hidden gem of Bahia Honda State Park. It boasts pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and various activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing.
- Key West: Finally, arrive at the Mile Marker 0, marking the end of your journey. Analyze Key West’s iconic landmarks, including the Southernmost Point buoy and Duval Street’s bustling culture. Also, consider a day trip to the remote and serene Dry Tortugas National Park.
Welcome to the energetic starting point of your Miami to Key West adventure.
Miami is famed for its vibrant South Beach, where pastel-hued Art Deco buildings line the streets, creating a uniquely Miami atmosphere.
Stroll along Ocean Drive, a bustling thoroughfare filled with restaurants, hip bars, shops, and a palpable sense of excitement.
And don’t leave Miami without experiencing the soft, white sands of South Beach and the warm embrace of the Atlantic Ocean.
For a different perspective on the city, embark on a cruise that offers views of the Millionaire’s Homes and the glittering city skyline.
Around 45 minutes from Miami, you’ll come across Homestead, an unassuming yet intriguing stop on your journey.
2. Coral Castle Museum
At its heart lies the Coral Castle Museum, shrouded in mystery. This massive limestone castle was single-handedly constructed by Edward Leedskalnin over 28 years. They have used over 1,100 tons of coral rock.
Leedskalnin, who claimed to possess the secrets of the ancient pyramids, left behind an enigmatic marvel that continues to baffle visitors.
3. Robert is Here at Fruit Stand
Your next stop might sound unconventional, but it is a delightful experience.
The story behind Robert is Here is as charming as the place itself. In 1959, six-year-old Robert began selling cucumbers at this very spot.
When nobody stopped to buy, his father crafted a handwritten sign that read “Robert is here” in bold red letters. Since then,
Robert has always had customers. This once-small cucumber stand has grown into a thriving family-owned business specializing in rare and exotic fruits and vegetables.
The produce is either grown on their family farm or imported during the off-season. Moreover, the fruit stand has expanded to include an animal farm, picnic tables, and a play area, making it an ideal rest stop for travelers.
4. Everglades National Park
Continuing southward, consider a detour to the Everglades National Park, one of Florida’s most renowned natural wonders.
It is a vast wetland ecosystem with diverse wildlife, from alligators to eagles and even elusive panthers and dolphins.
The best way to immerse yourself in the Everglades’ natural beauty is through a guided nature tour. An airboat tour takes you through the waterways, allowing you to see wildlife up close.
If you’re a photography enthusiast, a birding, wildlife, and photography expedition provides the perfect opportunity to capture mesmerizing shots of these animals in their natural habitat.
As you progress further southward, you’ll reach Key Largo. It is the first of the captivating Florida Keys.
5. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Key Largo beckons with the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, renowned as the first undersea park in the United States.
This underwater paradise boasts 70 nautical square miles of awe-inspiring beauty.
To truly appreciate the park, consider embarking on a half-day snorkeling trip. It allows you to explore mesmerizing coral reefs and marine life.
For those who prefer to stay dry, kayak or take a glass-bottom boat tour to enjoy the captivating views of the wildlife and the reef’s vibrant ecosystem.
6. Cruise on the African Queen
Movie enthusiasts and history buffs will appreciate the opportunity to step back in time as you arrive at Key Largo.
The African Queen made famous by the 1951 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, has found its home in Key Largo since the early 1980s.
You can now embark on a canal cruise on this iconic steamboat, departing from the Marina Del Mar marina at mile marker 100 in Key Largo.
As you leisurely meander along the scenic Port Largo Canals, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a classic Hollywood film, reliving the magic of this beloved piece of cinematic history.
It is often referred to as the “Village of Islands,” Islamorada is a picturesque beach town that spans merely seven miles in length.
Despite its compact size, it boasts an array of attractions to captivate travelers.
7. Rain Barrel Artisans Village
An unmissable stop in Islamorada is the Rain Barrel Artisans Village, an expansive open-air garden property that exudes the charm of southern Florida.
This village houses an eclectic mix of galleries, specialty shops, and boutiques. They offer unique local art, handcrafted crafts and jewelry, and Florida-style resort wear.
A towering and eye-catching landmark, Betsy is a colossal 300-foot lobster sculpture. It welcomes you at the entrance, letting you know you’ve arrived at this one-of-a-kind destination.
8. Robbie’s Marina
As you reach Mile Marker 77, you’ll discover Robbie’s Marina, a place as quirky as it is delightful.
What makes Robbie’s Marina truly special? It is the opportunity to hand-feed tarpon, enormous silver fish that can reach up to five feet long and have impressive giant mouths.
Observing these incredible creatures during a feeding frenzy is an experience you will remember.
While at Robbie’s, take some time to savor delicious seafood and indulge in their signature Trailer, Trash Bloody Mary, all while enjoying picturesque waterfront views.
9. Islamorada Beer Co.
Stop at the Islamorada Beer Co. to fully embrace the laid-back Florida Keys lifestyle.
This establishment is the first distillery in Islamorada to feature both a taproom and a spacious beer garden.
Here, you can unwind and relish a cold, locally brewed beer. It’s an ideal opportunity to soak up the relaxed island atmosphere. You can also mingle with fellow travelers, making it a quintessential Keys experience.
As you continue on your journey toward Marathon Key, make time to visit the Dolphin Research Center.
10. Dolphin Research Center
This remarkable facility of the Dolphin Research Center allows you to observe dolphins and educates visitors about conservation. It also rescues efforts to protect these amazing marine creatures.
You can mingle with these gentle giants and witness their playful and skillful antics, making it an enriching and heartwarming experience for nature enthusiasts.
11. Turtle Hospital
Just past Mile Marker 48 in Marathon, you’ll encounter the Turtle Hospital, a place dedicated to rehabilitating injured sea turtles.
The hospital aims to nurse these majestic creatures back to health and release them into their natural habitat.
A guided facility tour offers an up-close view of these endangered turtles. It provides insight into the hospital’s vital work.
Witnessing these rehabilitated turtles up close is heartwarming and contributes to their ongoing conservation.
12. Seven Mile Bridge
A highlight of your journey is the Seven Mile Bridge, which commences at Mile Marker 47.
This magnificent bridge connects various Keys islands, offering unparalleled views of endless turquoise waters and the majestic expanse of mangrove forests.
Taking your time to savor the beauty of this remarkable structure and its surroundings is a must.
Whether you stop to snap photographs or bask in the breathtaking scenery, the Seven Mile Bridge is a visual treat you’ll cherish.
13. Bahia Honda State Park:
As you approach Bahia Honda Key near Mile Marker 37, prepare to discover one of the Florida Keys’ best-kept secrets: Bahia Honda State Park.
This natural gem boasts pristine white sandy beaches and crystalline waters. With its powdery sands and gently lapping waves, Calusa Beach is the park’s most beautiful spot.
Here, you can participate in various activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, paddling, and fishing.
14. Key West
Finally, you’ll arrive at your ultimate destination: Key West, marked by Mile Marker 0.
This island is paradise, offering a wealth of attractions to explore. Begin by taking a selfie at the iconic “Southernmost Point” buoy, an emblematic symbol of Key West’s geographical significance.
A stroll along the renowned Duval Street will lead you to lively bars, restaurants, and shops, providing a taste of Key West’s vibrant culture.
15. Dry Tortugas National Park
If time allows, consider embarking on a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park, located off the coast of Key West.
While it may be less accessible than other stops on your itinerary, it’s well worth the effort.
The Dry Tortugas National Park Day Trip, offered by Catamaran from Key West tour, offers everything you need for an unforgettable day. It includes a scenic catamaran ride, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters among thriving coral reefs, and swimming among colorful marine life.
The park’s remote location ensures a serene and unspoiled natural experience, making it a memorable addition to your journey.
Your Miami to Key West drive is not just a journey; it’s a series of adventures waiting to be explored. Embrace the distance, make those strategic stops, and immerse in the beauty of the Florida Keys.
From the vibrant streets of Miami to the laid-back paradise of Key West, this road trip offers memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy every mile, create unforgettable stories, and let the road be your guide on this remarkable adventure.
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