Florida Keys Travel Guide

Florida Keys Travel Guide

Andrew Hetherington

Located in the tropical southeastern United States, the Florida Keys are a top destination for visitors of all ages—and the drive from Miami to Key W... Read More

Located in the tropical southeastern United States, the Florida Keys are a top destination for visitors of all ages—and the drive from Miami to Key West is one of America’s most iconic road trips. And while you could easily make the journey in a single three-hour trip, that would be missing the point completely. The Overseas Highway, the 113-mile stretch of road—a.k.a. U.S. Route 1—that whisks vacationers from Magic City to the southernmost point in the continental U.S. (quite literally, as there’s a concrete buoy that marks that very spot), is full of charming little towns that you’d probably never find yourself in otherwise.

To truly embrace the diversity of the Florida Keys, it’s best to take your time so that you don’t miss some of the path’s most iconic experiences, like a visit to the undersea park at Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the chance to feed some hungry tarpon at Robbie’s Marina in Islamorada, watching the sunset at Bahia Honda State Park, and meeting the famous six-toed cats at Ernest Hemingway’s former home.

While it’s Key West that has traditionally received the most attention, that’s been changing in recent years. The Moorings Village & Spa, in Islamorada, and the Little Palm Island Resort & Spa are just two examples of non-Key West–based hotels that offer over-the-top luxury, while the globally inspired Pierre’s and laid-back Lorelei’s are helping to draw more culinary-minded travelers to the Upper Keys.

From food and drink to art and literature, the Florida Keys are a haven for culture vultures—with gorgeous white-sand beaches and ocean views as a backdrop. Travel + Leisure’s Florida Keys travel guide highlights the rich potential in a trip to this gorgeous coastal region.

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Visit Florida Keys

Best Time To Go

Peak tourist season in the Florida Keys begins in late December, right after the holidays, and the area remains busy through May. The number of visitors drops during the summer months, but for Florida residents and other travelers who don’t mind a bit of humidity, the summer months offer an opportunity to take advantage of thinned-out crowds and better deals on hotels. June 1 to November 30 is officially hurricane season in the Keys, though August, September, and November are the most vulnerable months.

Transportation

Though there are regular shuttle services between both Fort Lauderdale and Miami International Airports and Key West, if you want to see more than just Key West, your best option is to rent a car. Once you arrive in Key West (which is usually the ultimate destination for anyone making the drive), you can get around pretty easily on your own two feet. Visitors who opt to park their vehicles at the town’s Park N Ride Garage (which costs $2 per hour or up to $13 per day) can utilize Key West Transit, the city’s bus system, for free. That same transit system operates between Key West and Marathon, with prices ranging from $2 for a one-way bus ticket around town to $25 for a weeklong pass to get you all around the Keys.

Weather

July is the hottest month, with an average high of 86°F (30°C). January is the coolest month, with an average temperature of 70°F (21°C).

Know Before You Go

The Florida Keys are home to dozens of annual events that have a tendency to attract big crowds and send hotel rates skyrocketing. If you’re planning to attend one of these events, such as Key West’s Fantasy Fest, in October, there’s really no way of getting around the increased tourism. If you’d rather avoid the crowds and price surges, check the Florida Keys Tourism Bureau’s website and plan your dates accordingly.

Language

English

Electric

Type A (two-prong plug) or Type B (three-prong plug)

Currency

U.S. dollar ($)

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