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Florida Keys Road Trip Itinerary: The Top Things to Do in the Florida Keys from Miami to Key West

Florida Keys Road Trip

Dreaming of a unique destination in the United States that has a subtropical climate with warm temperatures all year long? How about a place that’s perfect for a road trip? The Florida Keys makes for an epic vacation with outdoor adventures, delicious food and drink, and views for days. It’s time to explore this collection of islands from Miami to Key West. Let’s head out on a Florida Keys road trip!

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While it’s always ideal to spend more time in any destination, I recommend staying for at least four days in the Florida Keys, if not longer. To accomplish many things to do in the Florida Keys, you’ll need a solid five days. I stayed in the Florida Keys for five days (four nights), and got to see and do quite a bit. However, if you have 1 week in the Florida Keys, that’s even better. I’ll list everything that I did on my trip, as well as a few suggestions of things that I’d like to see in the region for next time.

Facts About Driving the Florida Keys

Itinerary for Florida Keys trip: The Beach in Key West

The Florida Keys are an island chain in the southern USA that’s unlike any other. This chain of islands is 125 miles long and they’re connected by the Overseas Highway. The Overseas Highway is 113 miles long, starting at the Miami-Dade county line and ending in Key West. It consists of 42 bridges over the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Florida Bay. One of these bridges is 7 miles long!

The Florida Keys are divided into five areas: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine and the Lower Keys, and Key West. There are hundreds of keys, and Key West is the southernmost populated island. However, about 70 miles west of Key West lies a collection of seven uninhabited islands called the Dry Tortugas. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, this is where you’ll find Dry Tortugas National Park.

The distance from Miami to Key West is 113 miles, and it’s 159 miles from Key West to the Miami International Airport. The distance between Miami and Cuba is only 90 miles. To give you an idea about the drive time, it takes about four hours to drive from Miami to Key West without stopping. But, I’m sure you’ll want to take your stay as there are so many things to do in the Florida Keys.

Renting a Car for a Florida Keys Road Trip

I recommend flying into Fort Lauderdale or Miami and embarking on a Florida Keys road trip from there. You’ll need to rent a car for your Florida Keys drive. Driving the Florida Keys is the best way to experience all of the islands. Don’t just skip ahead to Key West unless you have a very limited amount of time.

If you’re renting a car for a Florida Keys road trip, I suggest browsing Discover Cars for a rental car. They scour the web for the best prices across all car rental companies. Then, take a look at our detailed road trip packing list so you know exactly what to bring.

For my Florida Keys road trip, I stayed for two nights in Islamorada and two nights (three days) in Key West. Here’s my Florida Keys road trip itinerary if you’re traveling to the area for 5 days. I also have a couple of suggestions throughout the article that could easily allow you to spend 1 week in the Florida Keys.

Florida Keys Itinerary: Key Largo

As I only had five days and planned to split my time between Islamorada and Key West, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit much of Key Largo. After an early morning flight from Toronto to Miami, Key Largo served as a pit stop for lunch before continuing on to Islamorada.

Stop for Lunch at The Fish House

Florida Keys Road Trip: The Fish House in Key Largo

You might wonder what a vegan like myself is doing at a restaurant called The Fish House! Vegan and vegetarian restaurants are few and far between from Miami to Key West. You can find loads of vegan restaurants in Miami and vegan friendly places in Key West. On the islands in between, you’ll be able to find vegan-friendly meals at some restaurants.

Driving the Florida Keys: The Fish House in Key Largo

At The Fish House, I ate a garlic and oil pasta that was very yummy and free of animal products. Plus, you’ve gotta check out the decor in this place. There’s all kinds of quirky strings of lights featuring flamingos, palm trees, and more. It’s pretty cool! (You can even buy sets of the lights to bring home with you as a souvenir).

Things to Do in Key Largo

If you happen to have more time to spare, there are lots of fun things to do in Key Largo. The island is known as the Dive Capital of the World. It’s home to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, America’s first underwater preserve. If you love to dive, check out Spiegel Grove, a submerged US Navy ship that is now home to a thriving underwater ecosystem.

If you’ve never tried scuba diving before, you can take an introductory lesson in Key Largo. Learn scuba in a small group setting, starting with a training pool and heading out to the Pennekamp State Park for two coral reefs with an instructor.

If snorkeling is more your style, book this tour to go snorkeling at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, teeming with marine life and colorful reefs. And if you prefer to stay out of the water, perhaps a sunset boat cruise in Key Largo is more your style?

Florida Keys Drive: Islamorada

Pelican in Islamorada at Robbie's Marina - Planning a trip to the Florida Keys

My first stop on this Florida Keys road trip was Islamorada, a village of six islands (Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key). The distance between Miami and Islamorada is about 80 miles, and it takes 90 minutes to drive between them.

While Islamorada might be the “Sportfishing Capital of the World”, there are still plenty of things to do for those who don’t go fishing or consume fish. There are lots of things to do in Islamorada, so it’s a great place to base yourself for a couple of days. From Islamorada, you can explore more of Key Largo or Marathon, and there are lots of attractions in Islamorada, too. Here are some ideas for what to do in Islamorada.

Where to Stay: Hadley House Resort

Florida Keys Road Trip: Hadley House Resort Islamorada

If you’re planning a trip to the Florida Keys and looking for where to stay, make your base for a couple of nights at Hadley House Resort in Islamorada. It’s a boutique resort in Islamorada where you’ll enjoy a comfortable and relaxing stay. I spent two nights in one of the villas at Hadley House Resort, which felt like having my own apartment there.

Florida Keys Road Trip: Hadley House Resort Islamorada

There’s a separate living room with a couch and TV, as well as a kitchenette and a small table. While it isn’t a full kitchen, you can still make use of the microwave and fridge for snacks and beverages. There’s a Keurig coffee maker to get your caffeine fix anytime of the day from the comfort of your temporary home in Islamorada.

Where to stay in Islamorada: Hadley House Resort
Where to stay in Islamorada: Hadley House Resort

The bedroom is a couple of steps up from the living room, making it feel like a separate part of the villa. There’s a comfortable bed, another flatscreen TV, and ample closet space. Walk out onto a balcony from the bedroom that overlooks the swimming pool. The bathroom is quite spacious and has a shower, bathtub, and lots of counter space around the sink.

Where to stay in the Florida Keys: Hadley House Resort Islamorada
Where to stay in the Florida Keys: Hadley House Resort Islamorada
Where to stay in the Florida Keys: Hadley House Resort Islamorada

I like how every villa feels like its own separate home. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Also, there’s a car port with each villa to store your car on your Florida Keys road trip. You’re also seconds away from beautiful ocean views and access to water sports, too. Book your stay at the Hadley House Resort (with free cancellation) and feel free to browse more reviews of Hadley House Resort by travelers who have stayed there.

Go Parasailing with Sundance Watersports

Things to do in the Florida Keys: Parasailing with Sundance Watersports

I’d never gone parasailing before, but my first experience embarking on this adventure with Sundance Watersports was nothing short of spectacular. If you think that you need to be super adventurous to try parasailing, think again. It’s really something that everyone can enjoy, even if you’re a little bit afraid of heights!

Florida Keys Road Trip: Go parasailing in Islamorada

The main reason to try parasailing is to admire the stunning scenery. You’ll head out on a parasailing boat that holds up to 12 passengers, in case you have a larger group. Two or three people can go parasailing at once. The crew at Sundance Watersports will assist you with your harness, and you’ll be gliding through the air before you know it. From a seated position, you’ll enjoy a smooth ride from the boat up to the sky, sailing at 125 to 300 feet up.

Once you’re parasailing, you’ll be able to soak up the incredible views all around. Across the horizon, you’ll savor scenery from Everglades National Park to the Alligator Lighthouse. Down below, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the Florida Keys reefs and sea life like tarpon, turtles, and maybe even some dolphins. I was amazed by the color of the water, where various shades of turquoise and blue sparkled in the sunlight. You’ll be up in the air for 12 to 15 minutes, which is twice the amount of time of standard parasailing tours.

Planning a trip to the Florida Keys: Parasailing Islamorada with Sundance Watersports

When you’re being reeled back into the boat, the fun crew members might give you a little dip in the water first. Feel free to let them know if you want to dip your toes in the water or more. For this reason, you might want to wear your swimsuit, especially if you’d like to be refreshed by the cool sea waters!

Sundance Watersports operates out of Robbie’s Marina every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s one of the best things to do in the Florida Keys, and I feel that parasailing should be on every Florida Keys road trip itinerary (especially if you’ve never tried it before!). I loved going parasailing here so much that I won’t hesitate to try it again. And I can be a little bit of a chicken when it comes to heights. This is an incredible ride that combines a bit of a thrill with amazing Florida Keys scenery.

Florida Keys Brewing Company

Things to do in the Florida Keys: Florida Keys Brewing Company

Florida Keys Brewing Company is a local microbrewery, and the first craft brewery in the Upper Keys. While it’s a locally owned company, there is a connection between the Florida Keys Brewing Company and my home in Canada. Owned and operated by Craig and Cheryl, Craig is originally from Burlington, Ontario, about 10 minutes from where I call home. Cheryl is from Florida, and Craig followed her down to pursue island living in the Keys. Together, they brew delicious and unique beer in numerous varieties for every taste.

Florida Keys Road Trip: Florida Keys Brewing Company

After a short brewery tour, we ventured over to the taproom for a tasting flight. Our group sampled all of the different beers, and there are 20 on tap! It’s too hard to choose a favorite, so you’ll just have to stop by and try them for yourself. I like beers on the lighter side of things, so my favorites included the Weedline Wheat and the Iguana Bait. The taproom is decorated with thousands of bottle caps in unique patterns on the walls. Outside, there’s a beer garden with picnic tables and there might be live music when you visit.

Florida Keys Brewing Company Beer Garden in Islamorada
Bottle cap art at Florida Keys Brewing Company - Florida Keys road trip itinerary
Driving the Florida Keys: Florida Keys Brewing Company beer flight

I highly recommend adding the Florida Keys Brewing Company to your Florida Keys itinerary, especially if you’re a beer lover. The staff are all super friendly and knowledgeable, and it’s a great place to chat over a drink with your pals. Whether you’re having a beer flight at the bar or sipping a pint at the beer garden, you’ll surely enjoy this tasty beer with your road trip buddies.

Catch the Sunset at Morada Bay

Sunset at Morada Bay in Islamorada - Florida Keys road trip

If you’re searching for a great spot to watch the sun go down, I recommend making your way over to Morada Bay. You’re welcome to wander onto the property to view one of those famous Florida Keys sunsets. There’s also a cafe, a restaurant, and a little shop inside an Airstream trailer. Whether you’re going for a stroll along the waterfront or sipping a cocktail on the patio, Morada Bay is the best place to watch the sunset in Islamorada.

Things to do in the Florida Keys: Watch the sunset at Morada Bay Islamorada
Morada Bay airstream trailer - Things to do in the Florida Keys

Where to Eat in Islamorada

Hungry yet? While there aren’t any vegan restaurants in Islamorada, there are a few establishments with vegan options on the menu. Here’s where I dined in Islamorada.

Hungry Tarpon at Robbie’s Marina

Vegan breakfast at the Hungry Tarpon, Robbie's Marina, Islamorada

For breakfast one day, I sat on the patio of the Hungry Tarpon at Robbie’s Marina. My breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, hash browns, and toast with jam. Even though it’s a random selection of sides, it’s all vegan and a great way to start the day.

Bob’s Bunz

Vegan breakfast at Bob's Bunz Islamorada

Seeking another breakfast option? Bob’s Bunz in Islamorada has everything from full meals to lighter breakfast selections, like pastries. Bob’s Bunz has their own blend of coffee with cinnamon that tastes like a cinnamon bun. I ordered hash browns and fruit once again, but their Sticky Bunz also happen to be vegan.

Chef Michael’s

Vegetarian Plate at Chef Michael's Islamorada

Chef Michael’s is a fine dining restaurant in Islamorada that’s committed to preparing meals with local and seasonal ingredients. I ordered the black bean soup to start, and chose the “Simply Vegetarian” platter as my main course (seasonal veggies, grain, and spice). Even though they’re the only vegetarian and vegan choices on the menu, they were really yummy and I enjoyed my meal.

The Tiki Bar & Raw Bar (Postcard Inn)

Vegan tacos at the Tiki Bar & Raw Bar (Postcard Inn) Islamorada

You can easily spend all evening at the Postcard Inn, enjoying food and drink with a view. First, start your night at the Tiki Bar where you need to try their refreshing frozen cocktails. Next, dine at the Raw Bar where you’ll listen to island tunes by a musician playing a steel drum. While there weren’t any vegan items on the menu, the chef was happy to create whip up some vegan tacos and a salad with potatoes. Both meals were so delicious and should be added to the main menu! I recommend calling in advance to see if the chef can prepare this meal for you, just in case.

Marathon Florida

Next island on your Florida Keys road trip itinerary: Marathon, Florida. As I only had five days in the Florida Keys, I didn’t have the chance to explore much of Marathon. However, there’s one place that’s really high on my list for next time…

Visit the Turtle Hospital

The Turtle Hospital is a facility for injured or sick sea turtles where they’re rescued, rehabilitated, and released back into the wild. As you might know, I’m a huge advocate for animal sanctuaries and rescue centers, having traveled to volunteer at a wildlife rescue center in Guatemala. Since 1986, the Turtle Hospital has rescued and released 1500 sea turtles in the Florida Keys. The Turtle Hospital does such amazing work and it’s at the top of my Florida Keys road trip itinerary for next time.

Big Pine and the Lower Keys

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys are the calm environment you’re seeking. I didn’t have the chance to visit Big Pine Key this time around, but merely drove through on my Florida Keys road trip. If you have some extra time, Big Pine Key is perfect for nature and wildlife lovers.

Bahia Honda State Park is a fantastic natural attraction for outdoor adventures (boating, swimming, snorkeling, diving, hiking, bicycling and more), wildlife viewing opportunities (wading birds, ghost crabs, and even dolphins), and stargazing. There are cabins available for rent or you can stay on the campgrounds.

Big Pine Key is home to the National Key Deer Refuge. The Key Deer is the smallest subspecies of North American white tailed deer. These tiny, adorable deer are only found in the Florida Keys. Due to habitat loss and poaching, their numbers dwindled down to only a few dozen in the 1950s. Thankfully, these deer became protected as endangered species in 1967, and now there are about a thousand living on Big Pine and No Name Keys. The best thing we can do? Observe the deer from afar at the National Key Deer Refuge and don’t feed the deer (even if they come looking for handouts).

Road Trip to Key West

Key West Road Trip: Sunset in Key West Florida

From Islamorada, we continued on our road trip to Key West. The distance from Islamorada to Key West is about 80 miles or 1.5 hours driving time. Once you’re finished driving to Key West, you won’t need the car any longer. Key West is a very walkable town. It’s best not to have a car and need to worry about parking. Finally, you’ve reached the final destination on your Key West road trip, so feel free to return the rental car at this time.

There are so many fun things to do in Key West, whether you stay for a day, a weekend, three days or more. If you’re just visiting Key West or you’re looking for even more options than are covered in this blog post, please check out my Key West travel guide.

Where to Stay: Perry Hotel

Road trip to Key West: Perry Hotel

If you aren’t planning to stay right in the heart of Key West, I suggest staying at the laid back Perry Hotel Key West. While it’s about 20 minutes outside of Key West on neighboring Stock Island, there’s a hotel shuttle that will pick you up and drop you off from Key West all day long. You can also park your car at the Perry Hotel for free, if you need it throughout your stay.

Driving to Key West: Staying at the Perry Hotel Key West
Florida Keys road trip - Perry Hotel Key West

The Perry Hotel is such a beautiful boutique property that you might be tempted to stay on site for your entire trip. There’s a pool, restaurants, outdoor patios, and poolside bars. And then there are the little touches that make your stay memorable and enjoyable, like a complimentary glass of champagne upon checking in.

Where to stay in Key West: Perry Hotel Key West
Where to stay in Key West: Perry Hotel Key West

The room has everything you need for a comfortable stay. There’s a flatscreen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, a Keurig coffee maker, a fridge, a pillowtop mattress, and a bright and spacious bathroom. Every room comes with an over-sized private balcony with sweeping views of the property. Feel the cool, ocean breezes as you watch the boats sail in and out of the harbor. Book your stay at the Perry Hotel Key West (with free cancellation) or read more reviews of the Perry Hotel as written by fellow travelers.

The Hemingway Home

Things to do in the Florida Keys: Hemingway Home

When I embarked on my Florida Keys road trip, the first tourist attraction on my mind was the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum. It’s a gorgeous, Spanish colonial home that’s one of the most popular places in the Florida Keys. Even though the history of Hemingway and his home in Key West is fascinating, most people (including myself) are drawn to the Hemingway House for the cats.

Florida Keys Road Trip - Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

I first learned about Ernest Hemingway’s home on an Animal Planet TV show about cats. You see, Hemingway loved cats. His first cat, Snowball, was a polydactyl cat, meaning that she had six toes on her front paws and five toes on her back paws (one more toe on each foot than the average cat). Polydactyl cats look like they’re wearing little mittens or as though they have thumbs. The other cats that lived (and still live) at Hemingway’s house are descendants of Snowball, meaning that most of them are also polydactyl cats.

The Ernest Hemingway Home is important because Hemingway wrote over 70% of his books in Key West, Florida. The house itself is quite majestic with high ceilings and massive windows. There are unique artifacts and historic photographs of Hemingway, as well as his original typewriter.

Florida Keys Road Trip to Key West - The cats at the Ernest Hemingway Home
Florida Keys Road Trip to Key West - The cats at the Ernest Hemingway Home
Florida Keys Road Trip to Key West - The cats at the Ernest Hemingway Home

However, as an animal lover, the cats are the main attraction and stole the show. If you’re walking around the house or the garden, you’re bound to run into dozens of cats who don’t mind the extra attention. So, when you’re planning your Florida Keys road trip and itinerary for a Florida Keys trip, be sure to include the Hemingway Home – it’s not your typical historic attraction!

Key West Lighthouse

Things to do in the Florida Keys - Key West Lighthouse

Across the street from the Hemingway Home, you’ll find the Key West Lighthouse. In fact, you can see the top of the lighthouse from the Hemingway house (and you can view the Hemingway house from the top of the lighthouse, too!). Definitely add the Key West Lighthouse to your Florida Keys road trip itinerary. Lighthouses are always such a fascinating part of history, and the views from the top never disappoint.

Florida Keys road trip to Key West - Key West lighthouse

The Key West Lighthouse isn’t in a typical location for a lighthouse on the edge of the water. It’s the only lighthouse in the United States entirely within the city limits. The first lighthouse, built near the Southernmost Point at the water’s edge in 1825, was destroyed by a hurricane in 1846. The new lighthouse was constructed away from the ocean at its present location on Whitehead Street.

Itinerary for Florida Keys trip: Key West lighthouse

Ascend 88 steps up the circular staircase to the observation deck at the top for brilliant panoramic views of Key West. It’s a pretty narrow, twisting staircase, and there’s only one way up and one way down. If it’s a busy day, you might have to take turns ascending and descending the lighthouse. Fortunately, we didn’t run into that issue.

Planning a trip to the Florida Keys: Key West lighthouse
Road trip to Key West: Key West lighthouse

Another interesting fact about the Key West lighthouse relates to its keepers. The first new lighthouse keeper in 1848 was a woman, which was practically unheard of back in those days. Over the years, the lighthouse had three female lighthouse keepers.

Key West Butterfly Conservatory

Key West Butterfly Conservatory - Things to do in the Florida Keys

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is a peaceful retreat in the heart of Key West. Go for a stroll around this climate controlled, glass enclosed habitat to witness hundreds of colorful butterflies and flowering plants. There are two rescued flamingos who live at Key West Butterfly, rescued from a roadside zoo in Canada. Feel your stress melt away as you wander around this tropical paradise, admiring up to 60 species of butterflies.

The Southernmost Point

The Southernmost Point is one of those places where you can say you’ve been, and have the picture to prove it. In Key West, this particular spot is the southernmost point of the continental United States. As the post says, it’s just 90 miles to Cuba from there. You might have to wait in a 10-15 minute long line-up to get your picture at the Southernmost Point, but it’s one of those iconic things to do in the Florida Keys.

Florida Keys Road Trip -  Southernmost Point in Key West

Also, please be a courteous tourist when you’re visiting the Southernmost Point. After waiting to get your photo, the last thing you want are some random tourists walking around in the background of your picture. While most people were thoughtful tourists, there were a few who kept wandering into other people’s shots. Don’t be that tourist. Take your photo and step away from the area!

Mile Marker 0

Driving to Key West: Mile Marker 0

Much like the Southernmost Point, Mile Marker 0 is a tourist trap. While it’s merely a sign posted at the side of the road, there are numerous gift shops by Mile Marker 0 with kitschy souvenirs. Snap a picture with the sign if you happen to be walking by (you don’t need to go out of your way for this one!). However, if you’re driving by on your Florida Keys road trip, it might be an iconic place to grab a photo to summarize your road trip to Key West.

Key West Hydrobikes

Key West Hydrobikes - Things to do in the Florida Keys

Seeking a fun activity on your Florida Keys road trip? After sitting in the car, you might be looking to stretch your legs. It’s possible to ride a bike on the water with Key West Hydrobikes! These water crafts are super unique: peddle your legs to move forward, and you control the steering much like a bicycle as well.

Florida Keys road trip - Hydrobikes in Key West

There are solo and tandem hydrobikes, so you can experience this adventure with a partner. It’s possible to rent the hydrobikes to take them out for a spin, or embark on a guided tour to nearby landmarks. You’ll be out on the water without getting wet! I really enjoyed riding the hydrobike at sunset to witness the amazing pink and purple skies of Key West.

Honest Eco Kayak and Snorkel Tour

Honest Eco Kayak and Snorkel Tour - Things to do in the Florida Keys

If you’re looking for sustainable, eco-friendly, and fun things to do in the Florida Keys, my favorite tour of all goes to Honest Eco. Board SQUID, one of the first electric powered passenger boats in the USA that they built from scratch. Then, take the “All of the Above” tour to see dolphins in the wild, go kayaking and snorkeling, enjoy the scenery from the boat, and taste a delicious all vegetarian (and mostly vegan) lunch on board.

Dolphin watching with Honest Eco sustainable tours in Key West

The staff at Honest Eco are nothing short of amazing. They are biologists who focus on conservation efforts, sustainability, and ethical wildlife viewing opportunities. They’ll point out the dolphins from a safe distance. While kayaking at the Key West National Wildlife Refuge, our tour guide told us all about the local birds and wildlife. We kayaked through dense, mangrove forests, which was an adventure in itself. I saw so many fish, lobsters, and stingrays while snorkeling.

Florida Keys Road Trip: Kayaking with Honest Eco Tours in Key West
Snorkeling with Honest Eco Tours in Key West
Date and Thyme catered our lunch with Honest Eco Tours - all vegan and vegetarian food

Back on board, our lunch was catered by a local establishment called Date and Thyme. I really appreciated that the entire lunch was vegetarian and almost entirely vegan. Honest Eco takes sustainability and conservation seriously by offering an eco-friendly vegetarian meal. I really admired that stance, and not only because I follow a vegan diet and could eat almost everything served in the buffet. If there’s one thing that you should do on your Florida Keys road trip to Key West, it’s this five hour tour with Honest Eco.

Street Art in Key West

Street art in Key West Florida - Road Trip to Key West

Did you know that there are numerous colorful murals, street art, and public art in Key West? As you wander around the town, you might come across several bright and beautiful murals. They’re all over town, so I’m sure you’ll discover several of them just like I did. Be sure to take your picture in front of the Key West mural down by the harbor. If you love public art, checking out the street art in Key West is one of the top things to do on a Florida Keys road trip.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach

Things to do in the Florida Keys: Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

You might be thinking that I’m writing all about my Florida Keys road trip and haven’t visited a beach yet! When you’re in Key West, venture over to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park to enjoy Key West’s best beach. You can go swimming and snorkeling right at the beach, and it’s possible to rent an umbrella with lounge chairs, too.

You can also explore the nature trails, go bike riding, dine at the Cayo Hueso Café, check out historic Fort Taylor, and so much more. It’s easy to spend an entire day at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. If you’re looking for the best Key West beach, head directly to the Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.

Mallory Square Sunset Celebration

Mallory Square Sunset Celebration - Things to do in the Florida Keys

You can’t go to Key West without attending the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration at least once. It’s simply the place to be when the sun goes down. Since the 1960s, this event embodies the spirit of Key West. Starting two hours before sundown, Mallory Square welcomes street performers, artists, vendors, and visitors from all over the world to gather and celebrate this local, cultural experience. As the sun starts to go down, gather along the edge of the waterfront to watch the sky turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and pink as the sun disappears into the Gulf of Mexico.

Making Mojitos at Key West First Legal Rum Distillery

Key West First Legal Rum Distillery - Florida Keys road trip itinerary

This is a super fun addition to any Florida Keys road trip itinerary. Head over to Key West First Legal Rum Distillery for a short tour and introduction to the distillery. Then, venture into the mojito tasting room to learn how to make the best mojitos ever!

Making Mojitos at Key West First Legal Rum Distillery - Things to do in the Florida Keys

The owners are very fascinating people who have mastered the art of the mojito. They sailed to Cuba on a schooner and became the first rum runners from America to Cuba. Trained by the Cuban people on how to make the best mojito, they’ve brought their knowledge back to Key West to share these skills. You’ll receive training, written instructions, and the tools to make your own mojitos at home. I can’t wait to host my own mojito party to bring a taste of the tropics back to Canada!

Duval Street for Shopping or Night Life

Duval Street shopping - Key West

Need some retail therapy? Duval Street is the famous main street of Key West where you’ll find loads of shops and restaurants. Duval Street is also the main hub of nightlife in Key West. So, it’s a pretty happening place all day and all night. A Florida Keys road trip to Key West wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t spend at least a little bit of time on Duval Street.

Where to Eat in Key West

Now, let’s talk about the food in Key West. There are lots of Key West vegan restaurants, vegetarian establishments, and veg-friendly places to dine. It’s very easy being vegan in Key West! A Florida Keys road trip from Miami to Key West is totally worth it for all of the delicious vegan options you’ll enjoy. Here are a few of my favorite eateries.

Sugar Apple Organic Cafe & Market

Vegan food at Sugar Apple Organic Cafe & Market Key West

The Sugar Apple Organic Cafe and Market is a small, natural grocery store with a vegan cafe attached to it. You’ll find fresh, 100% plant-based meals and smoothies at the Sugar Apple Cafe. I ordered the Grilled Tofu sandwich with tahini sauce and a side salad with key lime dressing. There are lots of salads, sandwiches, and other entrees at this cozy little cafe. Everything on the menu looks amazing, so I’m sure you’ll have trouble choosing what to eat!

Do you want to see where you can find more plant-based meals in Key West? Check out my vegan dining guide to Key West, Florida!

The Cafe

The Cafe - Vegan restaurants Key West

The Cafe is a mostly vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Key West. While there is some fish on the menu, mostly everything is either marked as “vegan” or “non-vegan”. It’s a very vegan friendly restaurant, and I thought the food here was super yummy. Choose from sandwiches, salads, pizza, tacos, stir fries, and other main courses. I ordered a Spicy Szechuan Stir Fry with tofu, noodles, and vegetables. It was pretty spicy and so tasty!

Bad Boy Burrito

Bad Boy Burrito - Vegan in Key West

Bad Boy Burrito in Key West has several vegan options on the menu, all clearly marked. It’s a fast food restaurant with a few outdoor dining spots, but you’ll find that most locals take their burritos as takeaway. You can choose from the selections on the menu or build your own burritos / burrito bowls. There’s also a Bad Boy Burrito in Islamorada, too!

Moondog Cafe

Moondog Cafe - Vegan key lime cheesecake

While I didn’t have a full meal at Moondog Cafe, they have tons of vegan desserts in the case up front. I had a slice of vegan key lime cheesecake and an iced coffee with plant-based milk. It was such a delicious treat!

Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant

Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant Key West

Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant on Duval Street has a laid back atmosphere with delicious drinks and yummy food. You simply must order one of their frozen, slushy drinks, like the Frosé (so good!). They don’t have too many vegan options, but I loved the black bean burger, as well as the nachos and salsa. Yum!

Fisherman’s Cafe

Fisherman's Cafe Key West - Florida Keys road trip itinerary

The Fisherman’s Cafe is a little hut near the waterfront with some of the best coffee in Key West. While this cafe’s food is very fish focused, they also serve a black bean burger with fries that’s vegan-friendly. Add this restaurant to your Florida Keys road trip as a great morning coffee pit stop before embarking on your tour with Honest Eco.

Dry Tortugas

If you have an extra day in Key West, you can take a day trip to the Dry Tortugas. I didn’t have the chance to visit Dry Tortugas National Park this time around, but I’d love to return to the Florida Keys to experience this. The Dry Tortugas are 70 miles west of Key West, and you can visit by ferry or seaplane.

The national park is 100 square miles of primarily open water, as well as seven uninhabited islands. You can visit Fort Jefferson, go swimming, go snorkeling and diving, or even go camping at Garden Key. As the islands are remote, there aren’t any restaurants or facilities there, so you’ll have to plan accordingly. A day trip to the Dry Tortugas would be the perfect addition to any Florida Keys road trip.

When to Take a Key West Road Trip

Key West beach - Florida Keys road trip

Any time of the year is fantastic for a Florida Keys road trip. I visited the Keys in mid-November and the weather was hot, sunny, and perfect for all outdoor adventures. You can even visit in the middle of January and expect sunny skies and warm days.

When planning a trip to the Florida Keys, keep in mind that December to February is peak season and will have more tourists. The prices will also be higher for accommodations and flights. However, you’ll be escaping winter and enjoying some of the best weather in the Florida Keys, so it’s a good trade off.

Florida Keys Road Trip Itinerary - Key West Itinerary

If you travel between June and October, you’ll encounter some very hot days and perhaps some rainfall. Also, it’s hurricane season, so keep in mind that you’ll be running the risk of potentially having to cancel your trip if there’s some nasty weather.

November is a great time of year to visit the Florida Keys. There aren’t that many tourists around (except for some tourists from cruise ships in Key West, but it still didn’t feel crowded) and the weather is fantastic. We left for our trip on the morning of what ended up being the first big snowstorm of the year in Toronto. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be traveling through Florida!

Florida Keys Road Trip Map

When planning your itinerary for a Florida Keys trip, it helps to see everything visually mapped out. Feel free to save this map to your Google Maps for future reference. You’ll see every stop on my Florida Keys road trip itinerary so you can plan your holiday with ease.

Thanks so much to The Florida Keys & Key West for hosting my trip.

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Sidonie Sawyer

Thursday 26th of December 2019

I have lived between Miami and Key West for 25 years and I must say this is the best compilation and true tips I have ever read about the Keys! Good Job!


Friday 27th of December 2019

Amazing! That means so much to me! Thank you - I'm happy to have the approval of a true local like yourself! :)

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