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The drive from Key Largo to Key West is a bucket list road trip. It’s simply one of the most beautiful drives you’ll ever experience.
This Overseas Highway part of the journey connects Southern Florida to the Southernmost Point in the US.
The road is marked with Mile Markers that end at Mile Marker zero upon your arrival in Key West.
This highway spans 113 miles and takes roughly 2.5 hours without stops. But sometimes, the fun in travel is making stops along the way to a destination.
A drive to Key West takes you through a chain of 800 Keys connected with 42 bridges. The most famous bridge is the Seven Mile Bridge at Marathon.
Along the way, a chain of islands off Florida’s southern coast slices the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
You can drive directly from Key Largo to Key West in less than half a day.
But to experience this unique part of the world, think about spending a few nights on one or more Keys before arriving in Key West.
Booking a last-minute trip to Key Largo or Key West?
If so, we have you covered. Here are some top recommended tours and experiences!
Top Tours in Key Largo
Snorkel Trip On Reefs In Florida Keys (Half-Day Snorkeling Tour From Key Largo)
Key Largo Snorkeling Tour (With Gear, Snacks and Drinks!)
Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Adventure (Explore Key Largo’s Wildlife And Ecosystem)
Top Tours in Key West
Key West Sunset Sail (With Full Bar, Live Music, and Hors D’oeuvres)
Key West Reef Snorkeling Excursion (Half-Day Snorkeling Tour In Key West Florida)
Key West Mangrove Kayak Eco Tour (Kayak Tour Of Key West Mangroves)
Top Hotels In Key Largo
Atlantic Bay Resort – (High-Rated Beach Front Resort)
Seafarer Key Largo Resort And Beach – (Budget Hotel Nearby Beach)
Top Hotels In Key West
Douglas House – (Top-Rated Hotel Perfect For Couples!)
The Capitana Key West – (Top-Rated Luxury Hotel In Key West)
Looking To Get Around In Key Largo or Key West?
Check out rental car rates here! 🚗
Key West To Key Largo- Stops To Make Along The Way
Our list curates 24 amazing stops between Key Largo and Key West.
With car keys in hand, let’s get ready to count down the Mile Markers from 106 down to zero.
1. Far Beach
Located within John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the serenity of Far Beach is a great place to relax for an afternoon or stay for overnight camping.
This popular Key Largo beach provides many recreational opportunities, including swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and wildlife watching.
The beach includes a wide shallow section, and the water is distinctly warm, making it a perfect place for youngsters to have fun in the water.
If you’re looking for a place to start your Key Largo to Key West adventure, this beach is just a few minutes north of Key Largo.
2. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park features the only true living coral reefs in U.S. continental waters.
With 70 nautical square miles of natural beauty, this park offers a variety of activities for a fun-filled day for the family.
This state park is a main attraction in Key Largo and bears the nickname “dive capital of the keys.”
If you’re up for snorkeling or a scuba dive, you can see the nine-foot-tall “Christ of the Abyss” statue in 25 feet of water off the Key Largo coast.
Originally a gift from Italy in the 1960s, the statue continues to attract underwater adventurers.
Book a half-day tour to explore reefs that are part of the third-largest living reef system on Earth.
3. Bayside Grille & Sunset Bar
Dine in an island atmosphere experience at Bayside Grille. The elevated restaurant offers panoramic views of the Florida Bay.
The menu features local seafood, “certified” Angus steaks, and specialty cocktails. Bayside Grille is open for lunch and dinner daily.
It’s an excellent place to experience the sunset while dining.
So along with your appetite, bring your camera as the restaurant boasts having the most-photographed sunset in Key Largo!
4. Harry Harris Beach and Park
At mile marker 92.5 Oceanside in Tavernier, spend a pleasant beach day at Harry Harris Beach and Park.
This popular spot offers several amenities, including picnic tables, grills, playgrounds, and a bike path.
Youngsters will enjoy wading in the tidal pool. Just pack your lunch and drinks before arrival, as there are no concessions at this location.
5. Captain Dave Perkins Fishing Charters
Add a day of fishing during your journey to Key West. Captain Dave Perkins offers guided fishing charters in the upper Florida Keys.
Half-day and full-day charters are offered in the Florida Keys and the Everglades.
Guided by Captain Dave’s knowledge of the area, you’ll experience fishing in some of the most productive waters in the world.
Fish for Mackerel, Pompano, Redfish, Sea Trout, Snapper, Snook, Tarpon, and even Sharks.
You’ll have access to the best gear and tackle during your excursion.
The fishing is primarily catch and release, though there are certain species you can keep for a meal.
As a host for summer fishing camps, Captain Dave Perkins has much experience fishing with children and offers kid-friendly days on the water.
You can also bring your dogs on their boats.
6. Founders Park
Located bayside at Mile Marker 87 in Islamorada is Founders Park, a 45-acre multi-recreational facility.
This destination includes a full list of water activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling.
The beach sections offer a barbecue area with picnic tables, a section of trees for shade, and some of the cleanest facilities you’ll find at any beach in Florida.
A one-acre fenced dog park is available for your furry best friends.
Recreational facilities include baseball, basketball, golf driving cage, pickleball, soccer, and volleyball.
Swimmers will enjoy the Olympic size swimming pool with four springboards for divers.
And the serenity of the beach is a great place for yoga.
Photo credit – Wikimedia
7. Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
Located at Mile Marker 84.9 near Islamorada, Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park is set on Key Largo limestone (fossilized coral).
From the early 1900s until the 1960s, the quarry produced decorative stone called Keystone.
Explore 8-foot-high quarry walls, observe cross-sections of ancient coral, and see historic quarry machinery.
Five self-guided trails provide 1.5 miles of pathways to explore the island’s natural beauty.
You can see over 40 native species of trees and plants. Picnic tables are available throughout the park.
The Alison Fahrer Environmental Education Center (Visitors Center) offers an educational exploration of the area’s old railroad, Florida Keys geology, and more.
On weekends, guided tours are offered in the park.
Photo credit – Wikimedia
8. Theater Of The Sea
Theater of the Sea is a top attraction in Islamorada. The world’s second-oldest marine mammal center offers marine exhibits and live animal shows.
Various animals make their home in the lagoons and tropical gardens.
You can see dolphins, fish, sea lions, turtles, sharks, stingrays, alligators, and many bird species.
Enjoy a bottomless boat ride, spend time on the lagoon-side beach, or participate in a fish and reptile tour.
Immersive experiences let visitors swim with dolphins trained for dorsal tows, kisses, and hugs.
Dolphin Stadium offers excellent views from any seat to see the talents of the wonderful animals cared for at Theater of the Sea.
This family-owned attraction has been serving up family fun since 1946. The popular shows have even attracted Presidents Eisenhower and Truman to visit.
Plan a day enjoying the wonders of the sea during your journey to Key West.
Parade of Nations Exhibit in History of Diving Museum – Photo (c) Wikimedia
9. History Of Diving Museum
About 90 minutes south of Miami near Mile Marker 83 in Islamorada, you’ll arrive at The History of Diving Museum.
This museum preserves artifacts, documents, photographs, and oral history about the history of diving.
Inside is a history spanning nearly 4,000 years of the quest to explore the depths of the sea.
Exhibits include breath-holding apparatus’, diving machines, helmets, and underwater suits.
You’ll see one of the largest collections related to diving history in the world.
It’s a unique location for anyone with a passion for man’s exploration of the underwater world.
10. Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail- Fishing Pier
If fishing excites you, you’ll want to visit the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.
The historic bridges of this trail have some of Florida’s most popular spots for fishing.
Cast your line from the fishing platforms along the trail to land your big catch.
Enjoy magnificent views of the Florida Keys and watch pelicans and osprey joining the fishing fun.
Bring your fishing pole and experience the thrill of fishing on The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail.
11. Long Key State Park
The beautiful Long Key State Park affords numerous recreational opportunities.
Fill your day of adventure at the park with hiking, kayaking, birding, flats fishing, snorkeling, or picnicking. You can rent a kayak from the ranger station.
The park is a great place to view the abundant natural plant life in the Keys and has restrooms and several picnic tables.
After sustaining Hurricane Damage in recent years, the park is open again after January 1, 2023.
The park’s hike-in and tent-only campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are the only camping option in the park.
12. Keys Cable Park
Halfway to Key West on Grassy Key, you can experience a fun way to shred water via an overhead cable system.
The 7-acre lake at Keys Cable Park offers two cables to pull riders on wakeboards, waterskis, or kneeboards across the picturesque water of the Florida Keys.
This experience is a water-ski adventure, but you are pulled by a motorized cable versus following behind a boat.
A higher tow point makes for an easier ride than conventional water skiing. Staff is available for sports coaching in cable riding.
With Mangroves protecting the lake from wind, you’ll find perfect riding conditions here.
And the cable systems here are powered by the sun providing a green source of wakeboarding.
The speed of the ride is adjustable for various ability levels.
Bottle Nose Dolphin At Dolphin Research Center Florida – Photo (c) Wikimedia
13. Dolphin Research Center
Visit a nonprofit education facility to learn about dolphins. You can spend an hour or a whole day up close with dolphins.
Educational presentations are offered in an air-conditioned theater.
Learn fun facts about dolphins in narrated sessions, observe current research, and see dolphins at play.
You can meet dolphins up close and participate in a dolphin encounter swim.
And there’s more than dolphins at this center. Say hello to exotic birds.
Observe sea lions in a natural outdoor setting. Staff is available to answer your questions about marine life at the center.
14. Coco Plum Beach
Sandy beaches are not abundant in the Keys, so Coco Plum Beach is particularly attractive as it offers lots of sand.
This beach is perfect for a romantic stroll and a place to enjoy solitude.
People come here to catch the sun’s rays, relax, read a book, or swim in the water.
This beach is also a sea turtle nesting area. And it’s also a dog-friendly beach.
So, if your dog is traveling with you. add this stop to your itinerary.
15. Key Colony Beach Golf
If golf is your game, stop at Par-3 Key Colony Beach Golf. It’s a quaint course in a beautiful setting on the Florida Keys.
The total par-27 course has a distance of 962 yards. The average hole is 108 yards.
Pack your 9-iron, wedge, and putter for a few hours of fun. And don’t forget your suntan lotion.
You might even run into the occasional iguana on these grounds.
16. Sunset Park Beach
Sunset Park Beach offers clean sand, paths for strolling through a meadow located next to the beach, and room for kids to play and build sandcastles.
The park offers a few tables and bathrooms. Take a walk to the end of the small pier and admire the beautiful view.
Take your shoes off, sit on a rock, and let your feet dangle in the water.
As the name suggests, the best time to visit is just before sunset. Look west to watch the sun disappear below the horizon.
There are plenty of benches to sit on and watch the setting sun.
17. Sombrero Beach
The lovely Sombrero Beach on Marathon Key is a gem. This mangrove-free beach offers soft sand and turquoise waters.
It’s a perfect place for sunbathing or getting in the water for an afternoon of snorkeling.
Parking is free next to this beach. The grounds offer picnic pavilions, restrooms, showers, a children’s playground, and volleyball courts.
Sombrero Beach offers total handicap accessibility. Dogs are permitted on leashes.
Sombrero Beach is a nesting turtle beach, so during the active nesting season, human activity is curtailed near nests.
This still leaves 90% of the beach available for visitors to enjoy.
18. Seven Mile Bridge
After Sombrero Beach, our next stop is after Seven Mile Bridge. At Mile Marker 47, you’ll experience a journey over the world’s largest segmental bridge.
This engineering marvel connects the Upper Keys to the Lower Keys.
19. Bahia Honda State Park
We’re in the Lower Keys section of the journey at this point. Crossing over 7-Mile Bridge, consider a stop at Bahia Honda State Park before rushing to Key West.
When outdoor enthusiasts look for the best beaches in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda State Park is at the top of the list.
This beach lovers’ destination has two beaches and camping.
It’s another place on your Florida Keys road trip route that offers sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, biking, and bird-watching opportunities.
It’s also one of the best places to snorkel in the Florida Keys.
20. Smathers Beach
Smathers Beach is the largest beach in Key West. This famous beach runs along the southern shore of the island and begins at Mile Marker Zero – the beginning of A1A.
If you want to enjoy some beach time, this place is for you. The beautiful sandy beach offers plenty of palm trees.
There is access to restrooms and shower facilities. You’ll find snacks and beverages from vending trucks parked by the beach.
For fun in the sun, head to the volleyball court. You can rent a kayak, jet ski, or stand-up paddle board for adventure in the water.
There’s also a swim zone for snorkelers.
21. Higgs Memorial Beach Park
Higgs Memorial Beach Park is county-owned and located in Key West.
The lower Florida Keys property has nearly 16.5 acres of oceanfront.
Its park includes the 400-foot-long Reynolds Street Pier.
This beach features a wide sandy area and clear shallow water.
You can rent all the necessary items for your perfect beach day from the concessionaire, including beach chairs, umbrellas, paddleboards, and kayaks.
The amenities include two children’s playgrounds, covered picnic tables, barbecues, restrooms and showers, tennis and volleyball courts, a restaurant, and more.
Free self-guided tours of the beautiful two-acre botanical garden area at Fort West Martello are offered by the Key West Garden Club.
You can see a Civil War Era Fort and the Fort West Martello home listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Also featured here is the African Refugee Memorial and burial site.
The park is pet-friendly, offering a large dog park with separate runs for small and large dogs.
Photo credit – Historic Tours of America
22. Old Town Trolley Tours Key West
Once you’re in Key West, the best way to get familiar with the area is to hop aboard the Old Town Trolley Tour.
Knowledgeable tour guides provide live narration during your tour.
The hop-on hop-off feature lets you ride all day long so you can explore the stops along the route at your own pace.
The company offers a mobile-device-ready interactive map to provide helpful information for your Key West exploration.
You can discover the entire town riding aboard the Old Town Trolley. There’s no stress of worrying about where to park your car.
Frequent pickups are offered at every stop, and you never have to walk too far before returning to the trolley again.
This tour is a wonderful way to explore the tropical paradise of Key West.
Highlights of this tour:
- Discover more than 100 points of interest
- Learn about the history of Key West from your friendly guide
- Hop on and off at 12 convenient stops around the island
Book the Key West Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour
23. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
Florida’s State Parks culminate with the park system’s southernmost location in Key West.
Step into history at the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, a designated National Historic Landmark.
The fort hails from the mid-1800s as a defense fortress for the nation’s southeastern coast.
Guided tours are offered daily. This beautiful Civil War-era relic displays brick archways built by old-world craftsmen who brought castle-building skills to the United States.
You can see one of the country’s largest collections of Civil War armaments at this site.
At the park’s south end, you’ll find a popular beach that attracts swimmers, snorkelers, and fishing enthusiasts.
A short nature trail offers a pathway for a leisurely stroll.
24. Mallory Square
When you get about as far as you can go on your trip to Key West, you’ll reach Mile Marker 0, the southern end of the United States.
When you’re here, don’t miss Mallory Square. Located at the island’s northwest corner, the famous square offers breathtaking views and an atmosphere that makes time pass without notice.
This place is action-packed and a great spot to see the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.
Most evenings, the square becomes a festive spot filled with performers, street vendors, and plenty of food and drinks.
You can sample everything from Cuban food to conch fritters, a cold libation, and more.
If you want a souvenir from your trip, you’ll find an abundant selection in the numerous gift shops – but have cash available for payment.
There are plenty of artisan crafts unique to the area, including woven baskets, paintings, mouth-blown glass, and photography.
Mallory Square is a great place to end the day and celebrate the completion of your journey from Key Largo.
Key West Boat Tours
When you arrive at Key West, it’s the end of the road for your vehicle.
However, you can still continue traveling by taking one of the many boat tours available in Key West.
Here are a few 5-star rated boat tours to book in Key West:
Photo credit – Key West Extreme Adventures
This tour is rated 5 Stars on Viator with over 1365 reviews!
Tour length- 2 Hours
Get close to marine wildlife on this Key West boat tour. You’ll travel on board a 34-foot catamaran to see dolphins, stingrays, turtles, and birds.
When the pilot drops bait into the water, watch as sharks come right up to the boat for their feast.
Bring your camera to capture the moment.
Photo credit – Floridays
This tour is rated 5 Stars on Viator with over 485 reviews!
Tour length- 1 hour and 30 minutes
Set sail into the waters of Key West to catch a view of the magnificent sunset while enjoying drinks.
This intimate small group experience provides a relaxed way to enjoy the end of the day on a memorable sunset cruise.
Photo credit – Danger Charters
This tour is rated 5 Stars on Viator with over 1080 reviews!
Tour length- 4 hours and 30 minutes
Enjoy a half-day of fun in the sun on this combination sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling adventure.
Cruises are available in the morning and afternoon. You’ll kayak through mangrove-canopied canals.
Then put on the snorkel and get in the water to see nearly 600 different marine species above a coral reef.
And while on the boat, enjoy snacks and drinks on a perfect Key West day.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Time Do You Need For Key Largo To Key West Drive With Stops?
Depending on traffic, the 113-mile drive from Key Largo to Key West has a direct travel time of roughly 2.5 hours.
But with so many amazing stops available, you’ll have a fuller experience with one or more overnight stays during your journey.
Your best bets for a place to spend the night between Key Largo and Key West include Islamorada, Marathon, and the Lower Keys.
Yes, you can make the journey in half a day. But scheduling several days for this trip will provide enough time to fully experience the natural beauty and best stops between Key Largo and Key West.
Route To Take – How To Get From Key West To Key Largo?
By car, the route from Key Largo is a direct journey on US-1 South.
A trip by car is your best bet as you’ll have the most flexibility to plan an itinerary with stops along the way of your choosing.
Are There Tolls On The Route?
Florida has many toll roads. The good news is that once you enter the Florida Overseas Highway, your main pathway between Key Largo and Key West, there are no tolls.
If you spend more time in Florida, you may want to explore getting a SunPass.
Without this pass, you’ll be billed by the TOLL-BY-PLATE system, which adds an extra $25 fee on top of the toll.
Note that along the route to Key West, there is an old alternate toll road (905A Card Sound Road) for which you would need cash to cross a toll bridge.
You can complete the journey from Key Largo to Key West without paying toll fees.
Is There A Shuttle From Key Largo To Key West?
There is a bus service between Key Largo and Key West and a private shuttle option.
However, you’ll only want to consider this mode of transport if your main interest is to get directly to Key West without experiencing the many attractions en route from Key Largo.
If bus tickets are of interest to you, here are a few options:
- Flixbus USA offers bus travel twice daily bus routes between these two locations.
- Greyhound Bus Service operates between Miami, Key Largo, and Key West.
- Private Shuttle: Florida Keys Express Shuttle
Book Your Next Trip! For Accommodations and short-term rentals, I recommend Booking.com as they are the best in the business when it comes to rates and places to stay.
To Book Activities- For activities, I suggest booking with Viator, they have thousands of 5-star activities to choose from!
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