Ready to step away from Miami's party scene and enjoy some of the natural wonders of the Sunshine State? Hop in your rental car and make the trip to Key West, one of the US's iconic vacation destinations. Whether you stay there for a day, a weekend, or longer, you're bound to enjoy your time in this Southern paradise.
Drive Time from Miami to Key West: approximately 4 hours
Distance from Miami to Key West: approximately 166 miles
Best Car for this Road Trip: Convertible
Depart Miami early in the morning. Hop on the Ronald Reagan Turnpike and follow signs for US-1 South. The portion of US-1 that you'll be driving on is known as the Overseas Highway or the Highway that Goes to Sea. It is one of the most scenic drives in the country. The roadway hops from key to key, treating drivers and passengers to breathtaking views of the sparkling blue ocean, towering palm trees, and unique species of birds.
You can also marvel at the engineering of the roadway. It consists of 42 overseas bridges, many of which utilize the original roadway foundations from the early 20th century.
If you leave Miami between 8:30 and 9:00 in the morning, you'll arrive at Key West just in time for lunch. Those who want to splurge on gourmet cuisine should head to Tavern N Town, which, contrary to its name, is a high-class seafood restaurant. If you're on a tighter budget, go to Bien, where you'll be treated to a delicious fusion of Korean and Caribbean food. Alternatively, you can bring along a picnic lunch and enjoy it at one of the island's beaches.
After lunch, go exploring! To get a unique perspective on the island, take a boat tour. These tours can last from two hours to half a day. If boats aren't your thing, go to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, where there are dozens of species of butterflies for you to marvel at.
At the end of the day, go to Mallory Square on the island's northwest tip. There is a nightly Sunset Celebration, which begins about two hours before sunset. This arts festival is a great way to wind down after a busy day. And, of course, Mallory Square offers one of the best vantage points on the island to watch the sunset. Keep in mind, though, that it can be crowded.
Enjoy your time in Key West. Check out the Southernmost point in the US, spend time exploring the area by foot or bike, and enjoy the laid back atmosphere with the various eateries and bars as you enjoy the unforgettable sunset over the sparkling ocean.