Miami to Key West Road Trip: Best Hotspots and Hidden Gems

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One of the most renowned and scenic road trips in the United States is the Miami to Key West drive. With a length of 165 miles, this route presents passengers with spectacular views and numerous one-of-a-kind stops along the way. Have you considered taking this stunning road trip?

Along this highway, there is a little bit of something for everyone, whether you enjoy the beach, historical sites, or adventure. This article will serve as a guide to share the top things to do, the best places to eat, and where to stay, including fancy resorts and cozy bed & breakfasts.

Florida’s Miami to Key West route boasts an array of top-rated restaurants and foodie destinations, serving up delectable dishes from fresh seafood to Latin American cuisine. Make sure to check out many of the can’t-miss spots.

As you make your way from Miami to Key West, we’ll also point out the most noteworthy hotspots and hidden gems to visit.

Miami to Key West Road Trip Itinerary


There are so many things to do in Miami that you could spend many days exploring this vibrant city. If you choose to stay in Miami for a few days, there are incredible beaches, attractions and cuisine.

For a morning in Miami, one of the best hotspots in Miami is South Beach. The crystal-clear waters, stunning Art Deco architecture, and incredible food just a few steps away from the beach, keep visitors coming back to South Beach, Miami.

This must-see destination offers white sand beaches perfect for spending your day lounging in the sun or people watching on Ocean Drive. If you want to enjoy the beaches, Miami is the place to do it. Once you head towards the Keys, nice beaches become far and few between.

After spending the morning at the beach, you can grab lunch at a favorite place among vacationers and Miamians alike, La Sandwicherie, which is an informal sandwich joint located in Miami Beach. Their menu showcases a broad selection of fresh baguette sandwiches and crisp salads crafted from the best of ingredients. Then you can be on your way to the next destination.

Another foodie spot worthy of mention if you choose to stay longer in Miami, is Joe’s Stone Crab. A Miami to Key West road trip should definitely include a stop at Joe’s Stone Crab, a dining destination you surely won’t regret. For over a century, this legendary establishment found in Miami Beach has been serving their famous fresh stone crab, which is sourced locally and served cooled and accompanied with mustard sauce.

Other seafood dishes, such as grilled fish, lobster tails, and shrimp cocktail, are also served at Joe’s, a restaurant featuring vintage photographs on the walls, white tablecloths, and wood paneling to give it an elegant and classic design.

If you are looking for more things to do in Miami for a longer stay, then Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is one of the top things to see in Miami.

Where To Stay

Located in the heart of Miami Beach, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach boasts a luxury hotel that is sure to impress. With its multiple pools, spa, and various dining options, the hotel offers an unforgettable experience. Guests can enjoy spacious, modern rooms that offer spectacular ocean views.

Explore the Everglades

Southern Florida is home to the extraordinary Everglades, waiting to be explored on your trip from Miami to Key West. Covering 1.5 million acres, this ecosystem boasts an abundance of wildlife, such as manatees, panthers, and alligators. Don’t miss this remarkable outdoor adventure.

The Everglades offer a fantastic opportunity for visitors to take an airboat tour. This thrilling ride takes you through the swamp’s shallows at great speeds. Expert guides are available to help you identify the various wildlife and plant species living in the Everglades.

Robert Is Here Fruit Stand

Located in Homestead, this is a very unique hidden gem along the Miami to Key West drive. What started out as a small fruit stand along the side of the road, has grown into a tourist destination. The store specializes in rare and exotic fruits and vegetables that are mostly grown on their farms.

They have also added an animal farm, play area and picnic tables and have live music on some occasions. It is a few miles off of the main road but it is worth the unique stop.

Key Largo

The first of the Keys, Key Largo is known as the diving capital of the world. That being said, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a must stop for snorkeling and diving. This was the first underwater park in the United States and it is one of the best things to do in Key Largo and one of the top snorkeling destinations in Florida.

Crystal-clear waters in the Florida Keys conceal some of the best diving and snorkeling spots worldwide. Take a plunge and explore the Christ of the Abyss statue, shipwrecks and coral reefs, which offer close glimpses of dolphins, tropical fish, and sea turtles.

Another way to view the beautiful reef is to take a glass bottom boat tour. Key Largo Princess is one of the most popular cruise and charter companies in Key Largo that offer a glass bottom boat tour. While there, learn more about the boat which was filmed in the movie African Queen.

For seafood, stop at the Key Largo Conch House where you can try conch fritters or ceviche, shrimp and fish. Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen is a locals favorite that has visitors coming back over and over again as well.

Where To Stay

One of the best places to stay in Key Largo is Playa Largo Resort & Spa. It features a modern and pet-friendly accommodation with beautiful island views. An adults-only option for a stay is Bungalows Key Largo. This trendy and unique accommodation is even closer to all of the Key Largo attractions.


If you’ve ever wanted to swim with dolphins then stopping at the Theater of the Seas will make that dream come true. Their dolphin shows and encounters are some of the most popular things to do at the park. Other than a dolphin encounter, they also have sea lions, turtles, sharks, alligators, rays and parrots to see at the park.

Located in Islamorada, the Tiki Bar at the Postcard Inn is a perfect place to soak up the sun and get a tropical vibe. With its sandy beach area and variety of frozen drinks and cocktails, this beach bar offers a relaxed atmosphere that welcomes everyone. Live music adds to the chilled-out vibe at the Tiki Bar making it the best place to spend a lazy evening.

Where To Stay

If you choose to dine at the Postcard Inn, you will see what a beautiful and contemporary accommodation it is. Their large pool looks out into the water and you really see postcard perfect views all around. This island style stay is sure to be one of your favorites from which you can watch the sunrise.


One of the most special places to stop by on your Miami to Key West road trip is the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. There are tours and exhibits that you can see to learn more about how injured turtles are nursed back to life. Over the years, they have helped more than 1500 turtles.

After touring the Turtle Hopsital, make sure to check out the best beach in Marathon. Sombrero beach is one of the top beaches in the Keys so if you want to enjoy some more of the beach then this is one of the best places to do so.

Where To Stay

Enjoy staying at a Tranquility Bay Resort beach house with your own private porch looking out onto the water. You can choose from two or three bedroom places which are perfect for the whole family. Make sure to look on their site to find ways you can save on your stay.

Seven Mile Bridge

The seven mile bridge isn’t exactly a stop, but it is definitely worth a mention. This is the longest bridge in the Keys and as the name implies, it is seven miles long.

The construction of the original bridge began in the early 1900’s. In the late 1900’s the new bridge was constructed. Today, the older bridge runs along with the new one and serves as a walking and fishing pier.

As you leave Marathon Key and drive onto the bridge, you will have stunning views of the water all around you. Driving over this bridge is one of the best and iconic experiences on the Miami to Key West road trip.

Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park is one of the best gems of the Keys. Lined with incredible beaches, some of the best in the Florida Keys, it is the perfect place to spend the day. If you choose to visit just one beach on your whole trip, then this should be the one.

The soft white sand and clear water are an excellent setting for sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and enjoying various other water activities. On the Gulf side, the water is calm making it ideal for water activities to be enjoyed by the whole family.

After the beach, walk up on the historic bridge from where you can see the views all around you. The railroad bridge was originally built in the early 1900’s making it a unique historic relic.

Key West

Southernmost Point in Key West Florida

As you arrive to Key West, you have made it to the southernmost point of the continental U.S. Make sure to go by the buoy and take a picture by the mile marker zero. You have come to the end of the road, making your road trip complete.

While on the island, make sure to do some of the other top things to do in Key West, like visiting the Ernest Hemingway home. This gem can be found in the center of Old Town Key West, and from 1931 to 1939, it was the residence of renowned American author Ernest Hemingway. Nowadays, the house has been transformed into a museum open for visitors, granting a riveting peek into the life of this legendary writer.

Key West’s architecture is on full display in the beautiful house, boasting tropical gardens and the iconic conch-style design. Tourists can join a guided exploration of Hemingway’s abode, together with visits to his private artifacts and his writing studio.

Towards the end of the island, you will find Fort Zachary Taylor State Park where you can see a historic fort, enjoy the beach, picnic under the trees, and have a relaxing afternoon.

The Florida Keys are also famous for their stunning sunsets, and there’s no better way to experience them than on a sunset cruise. Relax on deck with a cocktail in hand, and watch the sun dip below the horizon in a blaze of color.

Alternatively, Key West’s Mallory Square is a hubbub of activity renowned for its sunset celebration. This gathering place displays spectacular views of the sun setting over the water, while food vendors and street performers line the area. A visit to Mallory Square is an excellent way to experience the town’s culture and cherish Key West’s awe-inspiring beauty.

Where To Eat

With over 25 years of experience in cooking authentic Cuban delicacies, El Siboney is a privately-owned eatery in Key West. The pleasant color scheme and welcoming hospitality create a laid-back ambiance that reminds you of enjoying a meal in a traditional Cuban home. At El Siboney, you must try the ropa vieja, which is a Cuban classic consisting of shredded beef, onions, peppers, and tomato sauce. This dish is a flavorful and satisfying meal that goes well with a serving of rice and beans.

In the Bahama Village neighborhood of Key West, you’ll discover another dining destination that’s a must-visit on any Miami to Key West road trip – Blue Heaven. Since the 1920s, this historic restaurant has been a beloved local institution. Nestled amidst tropical foliage lies a charming conch house that houses Blue Heaven – a one-of-a-kind restaurant that offers a laid-back atmosphere for casual dining. The menu here is a fascinating blend of Southern and Caribbean cooking, showcasing the flavors of the region with fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients.

Anyone headed to Key West should make a point to stop at Sloppy Joe’s, the famous bar beloved by author Ernest Hemingway. Their menu features crowd-pleasing classics like burgers and sandwiches, alongside a wide assortment of beverages.

Where To Stay

Located near the heart of Key West, The Gates Hotel is a modern and chic accommodation. The well-furnished rooms, styled with a tropical touch, are just one among amenities like a pool, a fitness center, and a lively restaurant and bar that make this hotel stand out.

Another option is in the Stock Island neighborhood of Key West. The Perry Hotel boasts a waterfront view with a unique nautical décor. Offering a pool, marina and several eateries, guests can enjoy modern, open rooms perfect for a seaside getaway.

How Long Should You Plan the Miami to Key West Road Trip For?

While you could drive from Miami to Key West in just a matter of four hours, to really experience this road trip to the fullest you should plan to road trip for about a week. Three days is the minimum for you to see most of the destinations. To really enjoy snorkeling at the reefs, sunbathing on the sandy beaches, swimming with dolphins, discovering historic sites and seeing the top attractions of each island, plan for a trip of at least 5-7 days.

You can book a place to stay on each of the main islands to break up your trip into smaller sections. After you spend the day doing activities on an island, stay the night and then head out to the nest island destination.

The best time to make this road trip is in the winter months and early spring. This time of the year in Florida is known for better weather and less rain. The hurricane season and the rainy season both start around the summer months through the fall months. To make sure you have the best time on your road trip from Miami to Key West, be sure to pick the best time to visit.