Heading straight from Miami to Key West, this drive can take less than half a day. However, to get the full flavor of the Overseas Highway, you should take your time and make plenty of stops along the way. After all, it is one of only 30 highways in the nation that have been designated as All-American Roads; the highest honor awarded by the National Scenic Byways Program.
Drive Time from Miami to Key West: approximately 4 hours (not including stops)
Distance from Miami to Key West: approximately 166 miles
Day 1: Less than 70 miles south of Miami, you'll find Key Largo, the first stop on your journey to Key West. This spectacular island is a tourist hotspot, and you could easily spend an entire vacation here.
The best things to do in Key Largo are under the water. Dive to Spiegel Grove and check out a historic shipwreck, or marvel at the wonders of Molasses Reef. You can even see the famous Christ of the Deep, a 9-foot bronze sculpture that occupies the underwater realm.
If you decide to stay for a night in Key Largo, you can book a room in the world's first underwater hotel, Jules' Undersea Lodge; you'll have to dive over eight meters to get to your room! How would you like to have pizza delivered to your room by a scuba diver? Of course, the key has plenty of hotels on land if you would rather not sleep with the fishes.
From Islamorada, traverse the 30 miles to Marathon. Check out the city's Turtle Hospital, which is a rehabilitation center for sea turtles. It is a favorite spot for children, but adults will love it, too! The city also has a Dolphin Research Center that is worth checking out if you have the time.
After Marathon, you have one more stop to make before you arrive at Key West. Just 29 miles away from Key West, you'll find Big Pine Key. Grab a bite to eat at No Name Pub, which has been one of the key's favorite restaurants since the 1930s.
Finish the drive to Key West and settle into your hotel for the night.
Days 3: Begin exploring Key West. Since you'll have time to linger, spend the day at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, which has one of the cleanest beaches on the island. Work on your tan at the beach, go hiking or fishing, or take a bike ride. Smathers Beach, which is in the park, has tons of grills, so bring your charcoal and enjoy a yummy outdoor meal. There is also a historic fort in the park that is worth a stop.
Days 4 and 5: Continue to take in the wonders of Key West. Visit the Harry S. Truman Little White House, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and the Audubon House and Tropical Gardens. Be sure to snap a photo or two at Southernmost Point, which, as its name implies, is one of the southernmost points in the United States. It's only 90 miles away from Cuba!
Anyone who loves a beautiful drive should take the road trip from Miami to Key West. The Overseas Highway is an iconic byway that offers beautiful views and tons of amazing stops along the way. Bring your camera, your sunscreen, and your adventurous spirit. What are you waiting for? Book your rental car, pack up your stuff, and hit the road!