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drive from Miami to key west
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10 Best Places to Stop on Drive From Miami to Key West

In this guide, I put together the ten best places to stop on drive from Miami to key west.

Being an adventurer, one of the best road trips that I have ever had is from Miami to Key West.
It is one of the best drives you can have in the USA. The views stop, and the overall aura of this road trip is incomparable.

The shift from glitz and glitter of Miami to the serene environment of Florida is although smooth but each stop in the way is a different look and feel.

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Trust me; you will want to have this trip over and over again. Although this is a one-day trip, the stops are so cool; you might want to extend your road trip.

Miami is the heart of Florida, whereas Key West is the soul. However, all the places in the middle are the journey of a lifetime that you don’t want to miss.

Drive from Miami to key west might take a day, but if you extend by making the right stops, this trip can be fun, adventurous, and educating at the same time.

Imagine you are traveling with your kids, wouldn’t it be great if they come back with a love of animals and a lot of information?

Imagine them being courteous and lovable to animals and nature after this trip. If you are traveling with friends, you can have a jet ski, diving, and cruising experiences that you may not want ever to forget!

Here is our ultimate guide to help you get going on your Miami to Key West road trip.

Related Topic: Best Small Beach Towns in Florida

How Long Does it Take to drive From Miami to Key West? 

The Miami to Key West drive takes around 4 hours. The distance between Miami to Key West is around 159 miles, i.e., 236 kilometers with 42 different bridges.

It is 90 miles from Cuba, add another 2 hours, and you will reach another best place in the USA. 

However, you can extend your trip to a day or more by stopping at a few of the best places in the world. 

Driving overseas is one hell of an experience, and a trip to the key west is a hell of a journey.  

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What is the Drive Like From Miami to Key West? 

The drive from Miami to Key West is around 159 miles. The drive is filled with fun and positive energy that is incomparable to all the other road trips worldwide. 

This 4-hour trip can be extended easily to a day-long trip by just making the right stops. The best time to leave for this trip is to leave in the morning. 

Since I am a morning person, I got on the wrong at 7 am. With making all these amazing stops on the way, I extended the trip to 6 days, making it one of the best trips of my life.  

Where to Stay? Check Out the Best Affordable Hotels

10 Best Places to Stop on Drive From Miami to Key West 

1- Islamorada 

Islamorada, also known as the village of six islands, is located 90 miles from Miami. It is known as heaven on Earth where you can explore places both by land and sea. 

It is also known as the Sportfishing Capital of the world. Explore Dolphins at the Theatre of the sea or enjoy yourself with parrots on the land.

If you are new to sea diving, do not worry. Experts are always there to guide you. 

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They ensure that both animals and people are safe from any malicious action by either side. Apart from Dolphins, you can also have fun with sea lines. 

The best thing about Islamorada is the History of Diving Museum, where you can learn about diving and learn more about the history of this very sport.  

Apart from diving or swimming with the dolphins, you can also soak yourself in the sun at the very famous Anne’s beach. 

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Not only the sea, but there are also historical explorations on the way; including the Indian shipwreck museum, Morada Way Arts & Cultural District, and Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park.

These places are perfect for those who aim to explore historical sites. On your way to Key West, Islamorada is a place full of adventure, knowledge, and fun.

No matter what your preferences are, this place has to offer something for every traveler.  

2- Key Largo 

Another best stop to make while your road trip from Miami to Key West is Key Largo.

The Visitors can enjoy Key Largo’s ties to the sea, including scuba diving, an underwater hotel, sport fishing, eco-tours, snorkeling beaches, and dolphin encounter programs. 

It also offers off-the-water attractions, including rehabilitation centers for wild birds and nature trails. 

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Key Largo is the world-proclaimed Dive Capital, where people from around the world travel to have one of the best diving experiences. 

If you have a love for cruising, the Key Largo is the perfect stop to make. The African Queen serves as the leisure Canal cruise boat. 

You can even book this beauty for yourself and ride it in the ocean, or you can simply ask the captain while you have the best candlelight dinner with your partner.  

Apart from boating, another world-class experience you can get is diving at Jules’ Undersea Lodge.

You might wonder why I would dive again here? Trust me, diving is the only sport in the world that offers a different experience each time.

The love of the sea will call you again and again, and trust me, you don’t want to resist it. The underwater calmness at Key Largo is something worth making a stop for.  

3- Big Pine Key 

Another place where you can have a wonderful sea experience. Making a stop here is your gateway to the best underwater activities.

The visit from Miami to Key West is incomplete without making a step at Big Pine Key, as it has one of the best restaurants in Florida. 

These restaurants specialize in seafood, giving you the best fish, crabs, and lobsters. 

The place that makes Big Pine different from the rest of the stops is the National Key Deer refuge, where deer are kept safe from any hunting and attack from animals. 

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You can spend a lovely time with these deer as they are one of the most loving creatures in the world.  

There are various resorts at Big Pine Key where you can stay to have an enjoyable time.

Whether you want to remain indoors or want to explore some more of Florida, Big Pine Key is perfect. The best is yet to come.

The Bahia Honda State Park has the best white beaches in the world. Imagine that white sand, and you lying around sunbathing yourself and then that dive in the sea? Isn’t it amazing? 

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Well, it is, and this is why you need to stop while making a road trip from Miami to Big Pine Key. 

There are some cool shops in Big Pine Key where you can buy some traditional stuff for your friends and family on the way back. 

If you are a shopping lover for unique items, this is the stop you need to make.  

4- Coral Castle Museum 

As the name suggests, this is a castle built of coral boulders. Each stone weighs 5 tons.

This castle is like a maze. Walking in this castle is both artistic and somewhat sickening at the same time.

If you love mazes and have extra love for exploration, then Coral Castle museum is the stop you should make.

If you are traveling with a dog, you don’t need to worry. You can take your dog inside as well.

The large coral walls and artistic interior of this place give you a mesmerizing feeling. 

This place has a lot of legends associated with it. You will love to hear about it from the guide.

If you are with kids, then this must be visited, as they can learn so much from this museum.  

Apart from the Coral walls, it has a small garden as well you can sit and spend some quality time with your family and friends.

However, if you are someone with no love for ancient stuff, I will not suggest making a stop here. 

The best thing about this place is it’s not a place you can visit once. There are so many mysteries and legends that you will want to visit this museum again and again.

As mentioned earlier, being an avid reader and sucker for knowledge, I loved my visit to this museum. 

If you are just like me, then trust me; this place will always keep a place in your heart. 

5- Everglades National Park 

If you are done with beaches, parks, museums, and Scooba diving trips, then the next best step you can make is Everglades National Park.

Explore wild and untamed mangrove forests, dive deep into an ocean adventure, and immerse yourself in the splendor of nature.

There is a lot you can do in this park. Travel pinelands by bike or paddle amongst the mangroves on Nine-Mile Pond.

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This place is home to various animal species that you can explore openly. You need to be careful instead of animals.

Humans are carried around in this forest in captivity. This place is home to many florae, fauna, and invasive species of animals, including the Florida panther, crocodiles, and alligators, & manatees.

You can experience two different kinds of weather in Florida depending upon the time of your visit.

From November to March, you can experience idyllic and mild weather. However, from April to October, the weather is humid and dry, with little rain.

Yet, no matter what time you travel in the forest, you must carry an insect repellent as bugs and mosquitoes are active in this area all around the year.

On your trip from Miami to Key West, this place is a good option for a 2-hour stay. It is also one of the beautiful places to stop on drive from Miam to Key West.

6- Marathon 

If you love turtles, Marathon is a must-place to stop. The Turtle hospital is one of the stays you must make on your Key West road trip.

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The people here are doing an amazing job raising the turtle species and guiding people regarding how to take care of turtles and nurse them to health. 

This place is open 7 days a week, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, which means you can make a small stop on your way to Key West.  

Marathon is known as the fish heritage corner of Florida. You can fish yourself or get into a restaurant where they cook fresh fish out of the sea.

If you are traveling at the time of the seafood festival, you will have one hell of a time. However, accommodations at that time can be tough to get. 

However, various accommodations are available, such as private waterfront vacation homes, small hotels, beachside inns, and tropical, family-style resorts.  

If you want to have a quick look around the place, then traveling on Seven Mile Bridge is the best way. However, this place is close for an hour during the annual marathon. 

But if you want to run in a marathon, then stopping the car at the corner area of the bridge is the best bet. 

The road trip from Miami to Key West becomes more exciting with participating in the Marathon.  It is one of the best places to Stop on Drive from Miami to Key West

7- Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge 

Protecting more than 6,700 acres of Key Largo to provide prime habitat for the endangered American crocodile.

Crocodile Lake NWR has a small visitor complex along Card Sound Road where you can learn about species conservation at the refuge. 

You can travel here and watch crocodiles and even feed them if you like. However, you need to be careful while doing so. 

It’s a small stop for around 1 hour, which will not add much time to your overall trip. 

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This lake comprises three different areas, including the upland hammock area covering about 1,805 acres, the mangrove forests along the shorelines covering about 4,213 acres, and about 668 acres of open water. 

Even though the sanctuary looks like a natural habitat, this place is made to replicates the natural living conditions of the crocodiles.  

The guides are also helpful as they provide you information about crocodiles and their living conditions.

They give you adequate knowledge of the species and how these different species can be preserved for future generations. 

Although this place is open most of the time during the breeding season, as any activity can be perceived, the female crocodiles can make them abandon the nest. 

Therefore, you must ensure that you are not visiting the place in the breeding season.

8- Seven Mile Bridge 

Known as one of the most dangerous bridges of the world, there is no way you can move to the other side of the bridge before completing seven miles

However, in the last few years, the bridge has become secure through adequate attention by the authorities. 

This is the very reason the seven-mile bridge marathon is famous in the world. 

This place is amazing to visit, but there aren’t many activities so if you want to have a good time on this bridge, the best time to go is during the marathon. 

There are bunk beds and tents during marathons where the people can stay and get back to traveling the next time.  

9- Key West 

Key West is a mix of culture, climate, history, and natural beauty. This place is full of diversity and amazing activities to do. 

Palm-lined streets with gingerbread mansions and tin-roofed conch houses make it an eye-catching place. You can even travel late at night on the streets.

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The long walk under the palm-tree is one of the most romantic experiences ever. Diving, snorkeling, boating, and fishing are other activities that you can have in this place. 

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In fact, you can also jet ski at Key West. The streets are wide, where you can travel around on cycles. 

There are various salons, spas, and fitness centers that ensure that you don’t miss out on your health and beauty while you are on your vacation. 

If you are a food lover, Key West is the best place to visit. From seafood to other food items, you can have anything you want in this place.

It offers a mix of cuisines, including Italian, French, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, German, Slavic, Polish, and Cuban. 

There are a few restaurants that do not welcome kids. Therefore ensure that you call them before making the stop.  

Key west is truly among the best places to Stop on Drive from Miami to Key West

10- Dolphin Research Center 

My love for Dolphins always brings me to this place. Playing with dolphins, knowing about, even you can be part of the research volunteer team.

There are shows going around all around the year, which makes it worth traveling every now and then.

The research also focuses on the conversation between marine life and humans, which gives useful insight into this interesting research area. 

You can also book a program where you can paint, play, and meet the dolphins. Even more, you can also become the trainer for a day. 

Apart from Dolphins, there are also sea lions, making it an overall interesting and fun visit. 

On your trip from Miami to Key West, Dolphin Research Center is a must-stop to make.  

Where to Stay? Check Out the Best Affordable Hotels

Conclusion  

It’s time to have the best time of your life. On your trip, the places to stop on a drive from Miami to Key West can make your road trip worth traveling. 

There is a lot to do in Key West. You must aim to spend at least three nights in this place. Plan your travel ahead, and you can get the best experience of your life.

The best part is this travel experience is not a one-time experience. This place will call you towards itself again and again, along with a fun road trip.  

It’s a perfect travel experience whether you are traveling with friends or with family.

You can make your time memorable on each stop you make from your trip to Key West.

If you are planning to take the necessary steps on the way, then ensure that you have 1 week for this whole trip.

I kept my trip for 10 days as I wanted to spend time at museums but if you don’t like them, a trip for a week will suffice.  

Also Read:
Small Beach Towns in Florida
Things to do in Destin Florida
Best Places to Travel Alone in the US
Crystal Clear Lakes in the US
Best Winter Destination in the US

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