Travel

Road trip from orlando to miami to key west

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 17th, 2017 3:06 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 7, 2009
175 posts
17 upvotes
Edmonton

Road trip from orlando to miami to key west

Is it doable to do a road trip from orlando to key west with a sightseeing stop over in miami then back for a day?

Amy advice/experience is appreciated.
6 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 25, 2009
4328 posts
1338 upvotes
Moncton
The Florida Keys were badly damaged in the last hurricane. But once things are back to normal this winter:

It is a 6.5 hour drive on the toll highway, each way, when there is no traffic. In my experience, the cheapest places for motels are Homestead and Marathon Key. Miami Beach also has a bunch of youth hostels (Homestead also has a really nice one). Figure $30 a night for parking in Miami Beach.

Motel 6 is also affordable. They have a nice location in Dania Beach near the Fort Lauderdale airport.

Greyhound does the trip as well if you want to cut down on driving time. There is also a passenger ferry from Tampa to Key a West. You can also get there by cruise ship.

The southern parts of the keys drive is quite spectacular. The north-east part less so. They have deer sanctuaries though so stopping around there for a break is probably a good idea. I always feel a bit sheepish stopping at the Burger King shaped like a boat.

I love Key West. It is a wonderful, walkable town and the water is usually warmer than in Miami. Do not drink and drive as it is enforced. Plan accordingly as Key West isn’t quite as fun sober. Spring for a stupidly expensive hotel room. If you wanted to be spending the week you’d go to Varadero.

Last century Key West was known for the coral. My best snorkelling was a short boat tour away from Key West. It was even better than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. I don’t know how badly it has deteriorated since then.

People would tell me cocaine built Key West, but I never saw any evidence of the smuggling. I did see drug enforcement though. Not the place to buy, sell or even consume marijuana. Only having one road out also leads me to believe the stories about cocaine are probably more legend than anything.

https://keysnews.com
Toronto is a very small part of Canada
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
6533 posts
2809 upvotes
Ottawa
IMO, Orlando -> Miami or Miami -> KeyWest are a do-able day trip but even that is a lot of driving in a day (more than a lot of people would want to drive).

I don't think Orlando->Key West is a do-able road trip; basically you'll spend the most of the day driving. Even if you left at 5AM, you might get there by 1pm (if you are lucky, I would not be surprised if you don't reach by 2-2:30pm) (don't forget that you'll have to stop for gas and food even if you eat on the road so plan at least an hour extra for those stops). Spend 6 hours in Key West and then drive back arriving at 1 or 2AM. That's a very long day for not much sightseeing ... You might get lucky and get very little traffic but even then, you'll still spend way more time on the road (mostly interstate so it's not exactly sightseeing) than you are spending at your destination.
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2015
2615 posts
1806 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
Orlando to Key West would be over a 7 hour drive adding in traffic. Round trip in a day would be 14 hours.

Personally I would drive from Orlando > spend 1 night in Miami > Key West (at least 1 night) > drive back to Oranldo if you have to. Rushed and lots of driving but doable. I would recommend just flying back from Miami if you have airfare booked.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 7, 2009
175 posts
17 upvotes
Edmonton
Ah I see, thanks for the input guys, maybe we will save Key West for another day. Wife wants to go to the seacrest wolf sanctuary up near Lynn Haven which is another 5-6 hour drive one way.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36250 posts
10436 upvotes
Ottawa
pirus wrote: Is it doable to do a road trip from orlando to key west with a sightseeing stop over in miami then back for a day?

Amy advice/experience is appreciated.
No it is not. The Miami to Key West portion will take upwards to 4 hours alone depending on the day of the week and traffic on the single lane highway. We have driven that route several times.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
18406 posts
15931 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Pete_Coach wrote: No it is not. The Miami to Key West portion will take upwards to 4 hours alone depending on the day of the week and traffic on the single lane highway. We have driven that route several times.
This.

NO ... Especially these days since the Middle Keys were laid waste by Hurricane Irma. Traffic has always been slow moving Mainland to Key West cause of the nature of the road (2 lanes, one up one down... 40+ Bridges, Residential Islands, and Tourists who soak in the scenery combined with local traffic). And god-forbid there should be a MAJOR accident! Then one could spend the whole day stopped on the Overseas Hwy. Add in the current Recovery / Construction Traffic... Dump trucks, road repairs, utility service vehicles, one lane detours etc now... And the drive is even slower than normal. (Google Maps estimate for The Keys has always been off cause it just takes the post MPH to Distance Ratio). In a normal year we figure the drive takes 4 Hours or more (lol, often longer cause people who love The Keys stop along the way at Fave spots, take photos, stretch, smell the ocean etc). In our case we leave Ft Lauderdale in the AM, and aim for Key West an hour before sunset, so as to check into the hotel and drop our bags & RUN to get a cocktail & a spot at Mallory Sq.

The Keys need to be savoured... The slower the better. This is a wee bit of the Caribbean connected to the USA Mainland... Everyone south of Miami lives a very different life. Slow down man, you be on Island Time !!!

My best advice, plan on the unexpected, AND falling in love. Very common for people to come for a day, and end up staying several... Lol, or a lifetime. The place is truly that incredible.

Top