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Sunday, June 9, 2024

Florida Keys Highway Journey: One-Week Itinerary (2023)

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Are you searching for the whole Florida Keys journey? I spent about 4 months exploring from Key Largo to Key West on my sailboat and have put collectively the proper one-week itinerary.

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The Keys are an exquisite place to spend a solo trip. It solely takes about 2.5 hours to drive the 100 miles from finish to finish. It is a strip of paradise although, so it may be fairly costly. Right here’s what I like to recommend with regard to saving cash, locations to go, issues to do, and the place to remain:

Getting There and Transportation

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There’s an worldwide airport in Miami and one in Key West, so technically, you would get a one-way ticket to Miami after which depart from Key West (or vice versa). That is 100% private choice. I like to recommend you hire a automobile if you’re solely visiting for per week. However every thing is completely doable in the event you go for the “bus and bike” choice and take the pedestrian portion of the historic Abroad Freeway. I imagine most individuals will fly into Miami although, so let’s begin from there.


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The Florida Keys are in no way low cost, but it surely’s nonetheless attainable to go to on a funds in the event you do your analysis.

When you’re on a funds, like I used to be, even the extra inexpensive resorts can actually tear a gap in your pockets. Simply in lodging, you’re looking at $1,200 for the week. So undoubtedly click on on our hyperlinks to lodging to find out about cheaper locations within the space to remain, like tenting in parks or sleeping on a ship. Most resorts embody parking, so remember the fact that virtually all tons, particularly in Key West, are paid.

On high of that, anticipate to spend about $20 at a restaurant, and in the event you get a drink, tack on one other $10. You’ll spend half as a lot, although, in the event you store at grocery shops and picnic on the seashores (I’ll go into this in additional element). Most state parks have a small admission price (round $2.50 for a pedestrian or $5 for a car). Museums can be round $15-$25 (although there are some free ones!). A majority of the partial-day excursions and excursions can be round $100. Full-day actions may very well be nearer to $500.

It can save you cash in the event you carry your personal and fishing gear and keep at resorts that provide complimentary use of kayaks or a reduction on boat leases.

The itinerary under begins in Key Largo, however you can begin in Key West as a substitute and reverse it.

Day 1: Arrive in Key Largo

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Attempt to arrive in Key Largo simply earlier than lunch after which get a morning stroll in on the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, positioned on the northern tip of the island. From there you’ll be able to swing over to the grocery retailer referred to as Publix to seize considered one of its well-known Pub Subs and perhaps a picnic lunch for tomorrow (you may also order on-line). Then eat your sandwich at Cannon Seashore or Far Seashore in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

After lunch, it’s time to get out on the water! There’s loads of snorkeling off the coast of Key Largo, which is known as the diving capital of the world for a motive. However one sight you’ll be able to’t get wherever else in all of the Florida Keys is the Christ of the Abyss statue, so I’d suggest you do this! (Observe: You could use solely reef-friendly sunscreen anytime you’re close to or within the water.)

Christ of the Abyss is a statue on the backside of the ocean, about 25 toes down. It honors the lives of these misplaced at sea. In order for you go in a tour to see the statue, you’ve gotten to have the ability to maintain your breath for at the very least 30 seconds and be a reliable swimmer. If Christ of the Abyss isn’t for you, try this text for some extra Key Largo snorkeling.

By this level you’ll in all probability be fairly drained, although there’s nonetheless lots of issues to do in Key Largo. When you can, go forward and drive the twenty minutes to the city on Key Largo referred to as Tavenier. This may stage you for the subsequent day. place to remain in Tavernier is Atlantic Bay Resort, as kayaks and bikes there are complimentary. If this doesn’t work to your schedule, try our checklist of really helpful Key Largo areas and resorts right here.

Day 2: Discover Tavernier on Key Largo

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In case your resort has kayaks, spend the morning out on the water exploring the mangroves and bird-watching. Then hop on a motorbike and head over to the Harry Harris Park (or one other of Key Largo’s seashores), the place you’ll get some beautiful ocean views. When your meals is all settled in your abdomen, bike the three miles to the Laura Quinn Wild Hen Sanctuary and spend the remainder of the day there. Earlier than you progress on to Islamorada, cease within the Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Manufacturing facility to get a deal with for the highway.

You’ll wish to make it to Islamorada tonight, the place I like to recommend staying at Sundown Inn, which gives fishing charters.

Day 3: Islamorada

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Welcome to Islamorada, the sportfishing capital of the world! Vibrant and early within the morning, it’d be acceptable to go out on a fishing constitution. You’ll probably spend a very good little bit of the day casting a line, so get pleasure from it, and hopefully you’ll catch your dinner! When you didn’t catch a fish for dinner, you’ll be able to all the time go to Robbie’s Marina the place there may be additionally a enjoyable alternative to feed the tarpon.

Within the afternoon, undoubtedly try the Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park.

When you opted to bike the Florida Keys, you’ll be able to take a break from the pedals and discover with Freebee, a free electric-vehicle transportation service.

Within the night, head again to your resort, as a result of tomorrow there’s only a bit extra to find, included under.

Day 4: Islamorada to Marathon

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Within the morning, attempt to get out to Indian Key by kayak. It’s an exquisite ghost island, and also you’ll probably have the complete place to your self. When you’re simply not up for the journey, you’ll be able to go to Rain Barrel Village for a memento (they’ve Key West objects in all probability for cheaper than on Key West itself!) and the Hurricane monument. Then get pleasure from a picnic lunch on the Library Seashore Park.

Islamorada has some stunning reefs. I went to Hen and Chickens and felt like I used to be swimming in an aquarium. Because of this, I extremely suggest you’re taking the afternoon and discover Islamorada’s underwater world!

After your snorkeling tour, hop again within the automobile and head to Marathon for the night time. I counsel staying at Captain Pip’s Marina and Hideaway since you get 10% off a ship rental. However there are many different locations to remain in Marathon if one thing else fits your fancy. 

Day 5: Marathon to Massive Pine to Key West

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At this time is the day that it is best to do one thing a bit outrageous. When you’ve by no means rented a ship earlier than, undoubtedly do it. Exit to the native sandbar or go to the rocky shallows of Gilligan’s Island (you’ll wish to go at low tide). When you’ve all the time wished to take a aircraft tour, you’ll have stunning views of the 7-Mile Bridge and the remainder of the Florida Keys. Or, if you’re dying for extra journey, you would go to Keys Cable Park or go parasailing.

Then again, in the event you haven’t made it to a seashore but, I’d say that Marathon has a number of the most stunning ones in all of the Keys (my favourite is Coco Plum). There’s additionally fishing, snorkeling, and dolphin and whale watching. No matter your coronary heart needs, take this present day to get it executed.

For extra inspiration, learn our high 29 issues to do in Marathon right here.

Massive Pine Key

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Attempt to depart Marathon by 2pm as a result of there are some issues it is best to see and do round Massive Pine Key, like Bahia Honda State Park and the Calypso Bridge.

Then, particularly round 4pm, head to the Nationwide Key Deer Refuge. This protects the smallest species of North American deer, native solely to the Florida Keys. I say 4pm as a result of that’s when the deer come out to forage for meals. The refuge is drivable and bikeable, and whilst you search for deer, you may also head to the blue gap, which is inside the refuge. It’s the one freshwater lake within the Florida Keys and is house to 2 alligators.

For dinner, jump over one avenue to get to the well-known No Title Pub. The pizza is supposedly to die for (I used to be craving a burger, and it hit the spot).

After dinner, it truly is finest in the event you take an evening drive to Key West, about 45 minutes from Massive Pine. That method, you’ve acquired the complete subsequent day to get to know this quirky and southernmost Florida Key.

To get the true Key West expertise (you’ll discover as quickly as you arrive that there are lots of of boats anchored within the harbor), it is best to keep on a sailboat!

I get that this isn’t for everyone although. A centrally positioned and inexpensive land-based decide for this one-week itinerary could be the historic Casablanca Resort with its Irish pub. You’ll find extra resorts and areas to remain in right here.

Day 6: Key West

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By this time you’ve had an opportunity to go kayaking, fishing, and snorkeling, try some stunning seashores and state parks, and get some Florida Keys souvenirs. This implies that you could save Key West for all issues distinctive to Key West! There’s so much to do right here, and it’s simple to get overwhelmed, however there are some things it’s essential to do earlier than you allow. Right here’s what I like to recommend:

Very first thing within the morning, get a cup of Cuban espresso (you’ll want it) after which discover Key West. You are able to do a self-guided tour on foot, by bike, scooter, or golf cart. Or you’ll be able to take considered one of Key West’s guided excursions (if that is your first time right here, I like to recommend this). Whilst you’re exploring, take an image on the Southernmost Level and Mile Marker 0.

After you get the lay of the land, decide a museum of curiosity (my favourite was the Turtle Museum). There are such a lot of to select from — you could find a listing of my high Key West museums right here.

If you’re executed with the museum, seize a chew to eat after which head to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Right here you’ll be able to see the previous fort, get a spectacular aerial view of the ocean, and lounge on the seashore till your sundown cruise!

After your cruise and in the event you’re up for it, head out to Duval Road. You’ll be able to seize a drink at considered one of Key West’s many bars to get a style of the thriving nightlife. After which crawl into mattress for a very good relaxation to your final day within the Florida Keys.

Day 7: Key West after which house

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When you spent yesterday on land, I like to recommend you spend most of your final day on a water tour. My favourite was discovering the islands within the backcountry (significantly Boca Grande), recognizing dolphins, snorkeling, and stress-free. Within the afternoon, you’ll be able to try an artwork gallery, then purchase a slice of that well-known Key Lime pie.

Then it’s in all probability time to embark on the 4-hour drive again to Miami. When you’re flying out of Key West, nevertheless, you’ll be able to head straight to the airport and catch your flight house.


I hope this itinerary balances out the actions and sights on each land and sea, and helps you intend your journey. One week is simply sufficient time to expertise the most effective of what every Florida key has to supply. It’s additionally an ideal alternative to find some locations you’d like to go to once more.

What are you trying ahead to most?


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