Drone view of the Overseas Highway in Florida Keys with turquoise color and infinite road.
Destinations

The Ultimate Florida Keys Road Trip – What to See & Do

A Florida Keys road trip offers endless aquamarine views, as well as access to picture-perfect islands, coral reefs and local restaurants serving freshly-caught seafood. The roughly 160-kilometre route is considered a classic all-American road trip, where travellers are spoiled with snorkeling spots, roadside attractions and gorgeous state and national parks.

happy woman at the beach

Photo| Happy woman at the beach | GETTYIMAGES – CDWHEATLEY

With over 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve mapped out an exciting Florida Keys road trip itinerary that highlights everything the islands have to offer. We’ve included the must-see pit stops, the best experiences in each destination (including outdoor activities, family-friendly attractions and top eateries) as well as the best places to stay.

How Much Time Do You Need for a Florida Keys Road Trip?

Technically you could complete this trip in one day, but why would you want to? The five-hour route is best-seen by taking it slow and visiting the local attractions in the five major regions: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, the Lower Keys and Key West. Embrace the laid-back lifestyle of the Florida Keys and rest and recharge at one of the beachfront hotels.

Scenic View Of Sea Against Sky

Photo| Overseas highway| GETTYIMAGES – REESE LASSMAN

When is the Best Time to Visit the Florida Keys?

The best time to embark on a Florida Keys road trip is between March and May before the temperatures get too hot and humid and crowds are thinner. Hurricane season is from June to September, so it’s a gamble visiting during this time.

The Ultimate Key West Road Trip Itinerary

Key Largo

Christ of the Abyss statue

Photo| Christ of the Abyss statue| GETTYIMAGES – IMAGE SOURCE

Key Largo is the first stop on your Florida Keys road trip after picking up a rental car in Miami. Enjoy the live music and tasty conch fritters at Alabama Jacks, an old-school Florida beach bar, then hop aboard the African Queen. This restored steamboat docked at Mile Marker 100 is made famous by the 1951 classic movie of the same name. Don’t miss seeing the colourful coral reefs and tropical fish at John Pennekamp, while glass-bottom boat tours in Molasses Reef are perfect for those who prefer to stay dry.

Top Experiences in Key Largo

Where to Stay in Key Largo

Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection

Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection, hotel for your Florida Keys road trip

Photo| Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection is a beachfront hotel set on five hectares of secluded shoreline. With sweeping views of the Florida Bay, this luxe resort has rooms and suites overlooking the Atlantic and white sand beach. Alternatively, opt for a private beach house or bungalow.

Refuel at the waterfront Sol by the Sea seafood restaurant, dine on ceviche at Las Olas or grab a cold drink from the beachside Sand Bar. Recover with a massage, facial or after-sun Aloe-ha treatment at the spa or get your adrenaline pumping with its watersports activities like snorkeling, scuba diving and kayak tours.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 219 – USD 1,074
Guest Rating: 9
Address: 97450 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States

Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton

Baker's Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton, hotel for Florida Keys road trip

Photo| Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton offers unparalleled views of Florida Bay. In addition to its prime location in Key Largo, it boasts a pampering Greenhouse Salon, waterfall pools and an abundance of water sports. Set above the island’s hardwood hammocks, it’s on-site restaurant Calusa serves a menu of Caribbean-Creole cuisine with Cajun flair.

Take respite after your road trip adventure in one of the chic rooms and suites, which feature private balconies, modern decor and stunning coastal views. Upgraded suites add extra space with living rooms, sofa beds and second HDTVs, as well as kitchenettes and wrap-around balconies.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 147 – USD 310
Guest Rating: 8.5
Address: 97000 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037, United States

Islamorada

Fishing in the Florida Keys

Photo| Fishing in the Florida Keys| GETTYIMAGES – DOUG WILSON

The next stop on your Florida Keys road trip is Islamorada, which is widely known as the “sportfishing capital of the world”. You could easily spend a few days hopping around the various tiny islands that make up this region, with culture vultures flocking to the lively Morada Bay Arts and Cultural District. If you’re a fan of diving, stop by the History of Diving Museum to browse its unique exhibits on display. Pedal around town on a beach cruiser, or pop into the Florida Keys Brewing Co for a cold brew.

Top Experiences in Islamorada

  • Hand-feed hungry tarpon at Robbie’s Marina, located at Mile Marker 77.5.
  • Make a pit stop at Midway Cafe, a funky little cafe, bakery, coffee shop and retail store.ww
  • Enjoy bird-watching, swimming, kayaking or relaxing on the shoreline at Long Key State Park.

Where to Stay in Islamorada

Cheeca Lodge & Spa

Cheeca Lodge & Spa, hotel for Florida Keys road trip

Photo| Cheeca Lodge & Spa| Provided by CHEECA LODGE & SPA

Cheeca Lodge & Spa is a tropical paradise in Islamorada. Undoubtedly its one of the most luxurious hotels in the Florida Keys, offering a host of activities such as adult and family pools, multiple restaurants and a Jack Nicklaus-designed 9-hole par 3 golf course. Fishing enthusiasts can charter a boat or cast a line from the pier, while the on-site spa offers pampering treatments.

Its elegant rooms and suites range from Beach Bungalows directly on the beach to Oceanfront Suites with private balconies, soaking tubs and separate living rooms. Got the pups with you? Choose the Dog Friendly Suite and Pup in Paradise Package. In addition, kids will love the fun activities at Camp Cheeca.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 72 – USD 292
Guest Rating: 8.5
Address: 81801 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 82, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States

Amara Cay Resort

Amara Cay Resort, hotel for Florida Keys road trip

Photo| Amara Cay| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Amara Cay Resort is consistently rated as one of the best resorts in the Florida Keys. With hammocks dotting the private beach, shimmering oceanfront pools and tiki bar – it’s not hard to see why. Additionally, the resort offers evening fire pits, lawn games, bicycles and water sports excursions. At Reelburger, you can fill up with made-to-order burgers and Keys-inspired cuisine.

Decorated in natural hues, the elegant rooms and suites come with a king or two queen-size beds, plush bathrobes, air conditioning, coffee makers and flat-screen TVs. In addition to the in-room perks, guests can take advantage of the complimentary beach chairs and pool towels.

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 84 – USD 700
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: 80001 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL 33036, United States

Marathon

Starfish in the Surf

Photo| Starfish in the Surf| GETTYIMAGES – PHOTOGRAPH BY ABI BELL

Just an hour south of Key Largo is Marathon, a 16-kilometre-long island chain and mid-point of your Florida Keys road trip. The set of 13 islands offers some of the best boating activities in the Florida Keys, from deep-sea and reef to flats fishing. In addition to a collection of laid-back waterfront restaurants, Marathon is an ideal spot to enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding and cruising along the tranquil waters. If you want to immerse yourself in nature, Curry Hammock State Park is perfect for paddling adventures.

Top Experiences in Marathon

  • Get up-close with sharks, rays and other marine life at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters.
  • Book a behind-the-scenes tour of the Turtle Hospital to learn about the facility’s turtle rehabilitation program.
  • Visit the local favourite Keys Fisheries for fresh-off-the-boat seafood from the Gulf and Florida Bay.

Where to Stay in Marathon

Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel And Resort

Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel And Resort, hotle for Florida Keys road trip

Photo| Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel and Resort| Provided by BOOKING.COM

You’ll feel a million miles away from stress at Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel And Resort, which is nestled within the palm-lined paradise that is Marathon. It boasts three pools, on-site watersports and a private beach as well as a spa with custom-made herbal scrubs, facials and body masks. However, foodies can sample local specialties at TJ’s Tiki Bar or shrimp cocktail and crab cakes at Butterfly Cafe.

Garden-view rooms feature flat-screen TVs, mini fridges, coffee makers and complimentary parking, with the garden pool just steps away. Alternatively, the private, standalone beach houses have private entrances with no hallways or elevators and feature large private porches for taking in the water views.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 159 – USD 659
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 2600 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050, United States

Hawks Cay Resort

Hawks Cay Resort, hotel for Florida Keys road trip

Photo| Hawks Cay Resort| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Undoubtedly one of the most famous resorts in the Florida Keys, Hawks Cay Resort lures you in with its small, secluded setting. Dolphins readily greet guests on this Duck Key resort, while seaside dining, outdoor pools and water sports are just the tip of the iceberg. It also has a full-service marina, saltwater lagoon, luxe spa and kid and teens club. Snorkeling and fishing are popular, as well as sunset cruises and stand-up paddleboarding.

Rooms boast an inviting island ambience with tropical accents, Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, while most offer balconies with ocean views. Travelling with the family or in a group? Upgrade to one of the luxurious two and three-bedroom Villas, which come equipped with full kitchens and oversized decks with water views or a Family Room with bunk beds.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 224 – USD 376
Guest Rating: 7.8
Address: 61 Hawks Cay Boulevard, Duck Key, FL 33050, United States

Lower Keys

Sunrise in Key West

Photo| Sunrise in Key West| GETTYIMAGES – STANLEY CHEN XI

To reach the Lower Keys, you’ll first have to cross the Keys’ most famous and longest bridge, the Seven Mile Bridge. A drive across this iconic landmark offers 360-degree water views and is a highlight of any Florida Keys road trip. Venture to Big Pine Key and neighbouring No Name Key to see some of Florida’s most beloved local wildlife, then enjoy outdoor adventures on Stock Island, which is also home to the open-air tiki bar and seafood joint Hogfish Bar and Grill.

Top Experiences in Lower Keys

Where to Stay in Lower Keys

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa – A Noble House Resort

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa - A Noble House Resort, hotel for florida keys road trip

Photo| Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, A Noble House Resort| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa – A Noble House Resort is the perfect getaway if you’re looking for absolute luxury. This private island retreat is only accessible by seaplane or private boat and boasts a world-class spa, gourmet restaurant, an oceanfront pool and pristine beach. Activities range from snorkeling and sailing to skydiving and seaplane adventures.

The beachfront bungalows are like a personal paradise, offering lavish island living with thatched roofs, vaulted ceilings and stunning ocean views. Best of all, there’s no phones or TVs – which means no distractions. Your only decision is whether to wake up for an early morning snorkel, soak in your outdoor copper tub or lounge in a beachside hammock.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 1,390 – USD 2,417
Guest Rating: No Rating
Address: 28500 Overseas Highway, Little Torch Key, FL 33042, United States

Oceans Edge Key West Resort, Hotel & Marina

Oceans Edge Key West Resort, Hotel & Marina, hotle for florida keys road trip

Photo| Oceans Edge Key West Resort, Hotel & Marina| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Surrounded by the tranquil sea, Oceans Edge Key West Resort, Hotel & Marina offers a perfect retreat on your journey between the Lower Keys and Key West. In addition to swimming pools, multiple dining options and a full-service marina, it boasts a shuttle to downtown Key West. Its oceanfront setting is ideal for paddleboarding, kayaking and dining on freshly caught seafood.

The lavish rooms and suites showcase the natural beauty of the Florida Keys with large waterfront balconies, bright and airy decor and unbeatable ocean views. Two-Bedroom Ocean View Suites are available for larger groups. Also, rooms come with complimentary use of paddleboards and kayaks.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 144 – USD 879
Guest Rating: 8.7
Address: 5950 Peninsular Avenue, Key West, FL 33040, United States

Key West

Marker at the Southernmost point,Key West

Photo| Marker at the Southernmost point,Key West| GETTYIMAGES – PETER UNGER

As you continue on U.S. 1 to Mile Marker 0, you’ll reach the last stop of your Florida Keys road trip – Key West. Embrace the anything-goes attitude and explore the streets of Old Town on dotted with colourful conch cottages and watering holes. The southernmost city in the U.S. is well-known for its rich history (once home to Ernest Hemingway), island activities and tart-but-sweet key lime pie. Get around to top attractions via the Old Town Trolley, then soak up the sunshine on the soft sands of Smather’s Beach.

Bonus activity – if you have time, take the ferry to Dry Tortugas National Park to swim and snorkel around the uninhabited keys.

Top Experiences in Key West

Where to Stay in Key West

Hyatt Centric Key West Resort And Spa

Hyatt Centric Key West Resort And Spa, hotel for florida keys road trip

Photo| Hyatt Centric Key West Resort and Spa| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Hyatt Centric Key West Resort And Spa is a tranquil waterfront retreat just a short stroll from the lively Duval Street in Old Town. Grab a charter boat from the hotel’s dock, check out the pampering treatments available at Jala Spa or kick back on the sun-soaked beach. Don’t miss the “Dock to Diss” menu at SHOR American Seafood Grill before sipping cocktails overlooking the beach at Blue Mojito Bar.

Discover quirky seaside decor and bright accents in the boutique hotel rooms, which all come equipped with private balconies. While 1 King Deluxe Ocean View rooms come with sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico, lavish 1 King Premiums offer 58 square metres of living space.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 204 – USD 564
Guest Rating: 8.6
Address: 601 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040, United States

Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina

Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina, hotel for Florida keys road trip

Photo| Margaritaville Key west Resort & Marina| Provided by MARGARITAVILLE KEY WEST RESORT & MARINA

Escape to Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina, which sits right on the waterfront of Old Town Key West. A hub of relaxation amidst all the excitement, this luxe resort offers a pool surrounded by tropical foliage, peaceful Massage Studio and waterfront dining. Enjoy harbour vistas at Bistro 245 or dine poolside at Castaways, then visit Sunset Deck for birds-eye views of the nightly Sunset Celebrations on the pier.

Accommodation options range from cosy Traditional Rooms to Two Bedroom Suites, offering in-room amenities such as bathrobes, coffee makers and flat-screen TVs. Select suites add balconies or patios with full or partial ocean views, Jacuzzi tubs, dining tables and refrigerators.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 175 – USD 416
Guest Rating: 8.6
Address: 245 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040, United States

Hotel Location

Pack Your Sunnies and Floppy Hat for an Epic Florida Keys Road Trip

Whether you’re a Florida native or first-time visitor, a Florida Keys road trip offers an exciting adventure through the state’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Hop from key to key and enjoy its array of outdoor adventures and family-friendly attractions, then take respite in one of the beach hotels that offer inviting perks and luxe facilities.

When are you planning a Florida Keys road trip? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for more Florida vacation ideas? Check out Florida’s most gorgeous beaches and its secluded, romantic getaways.

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