The open road beckons — it's time for a scenic and unforgettable drive through the Florida Keys!
With the wind in your hair and the sun on your shoulders, cruising down the Overseas Highway in a sleek convertible or rugged Jeep is a great way to experience this island paradise.
Each mile from Key Largo down to Key West opens up new tropical vistas, glistening waters, and possibilities for adventure.
Whether you crave leisurely drives along coastal routes or off-road excitement over land and sea, the Keys offer the perfect playground for an epic road trip.
In this guide, you'll discover how to rent the best vehicle to match your style, the best times to travel, top companies to book with, and expert road trip tips.
So buckle up and get ready to ride as we reveal everything you need to know for an unforgettable drive through the Florida Keys!
Choosing the Right Vehicle for Your Trip
When planning a trip to the Florida Keys, choosing the right vehicle is crucial to ensure you have the best experience possible.
This section covers some of the best vehicles to rent for your trip, including Jeep models with top-down roofs, convertibles, and motorcycles.
1. Jeep Wrangler
Its rugged design and off-road capabilities make it ideal for both on-road and off-road adventures. With its removable top and doors, you can fully embrace the beautiful weather and enjoy the open-air driving experience.
The Wrangler offers ample cargo space for your beach gear or luggage and features a comfortable interior for a smooth ride. Opt for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited if you need extra room for buddies and bags!
- Engine Options: V6 engine with 285 horsepower
- Four-wheel drive
- 10.8-inch ground clearance for tackling uneven roads or off-road trails
- Removable top and doors for open-air driving
- Spacious cargo area for your belongings
- Advanced technology features, such as touchscreen displays and smartphone integration
2. Ford Mustang Convertible
The Ford Mustang Convertible is a legendary American muscle car that combines style, power, and open-air freedom.
With its sleek design and powerful engine, the Mustang is perfect for cruising along the coastal roads of the Florida Keys.
The convertible top lets you quickly enjoy the warm sunshine and cool sea breeze, enhancing your driving experience.
- Engine Options: 2.3L EcoBoost engine with 310 horsepower, or a 5.0L V8 engine with 460 horsepower
- Rear-wheel drive
- Convertible top for open-air driving
- Spacious seating and comfortable interior
- Advanced safety features and modern technology, including infotainment system and driver-assistance features
3. Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
Similar to the Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is a renowned American muscle car that delivers thrilling performance and head-turning style.
With its powerful engine options and sleek design, the Camaro offers an unforgettable driving experience through the Florida Keys.
The convertible top allows you to soak up the sun and enjoy the coastal views.
- Engine Options: 2.0L turbocharged engine with 275 horsepower, or a 6.2L V8 engine with 455 horsepower
- Rear-wheel drive
- Convertible top for an open-air driving experience
- Sporty and comfortable interior
- Advanced technology features, including infotainment system and driver-assistance features
4. Mini Cooper Convertible
With its nimble handling and compact size, it's perfect for navigating the narrow coastal roads.
The convertible top adds extra fun and allows you to enjoy the sunshine and ocean breeze.
- Engine Options: 1.5L 3-cylinder engine with 134 horsepower or a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 189 horsepower
- Front-wheel drive
- Convertible top for open-air driving
- Compact size for easy parking and maneuvering
- Stylish and well-designed interior
- Innovative technology features, including infotainment system and driver-assistance features
5. Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
The Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is a classic and iconic choice, known for its timeless design and enjoyable driving experience.
Its compact size and smooth handling make it ideal for exploring the Florida Keys' scenic routes.
The convertible top allows you to soak in the sun and enjoy the coastal views.
- Engine Options: 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 174 horsepower
- Rear-engine design
- Front-wheel drive for responsive handling
- Convertible top for open-air driving
- Comfortable and retro-inspired interior
- User-friendly technology features, including infotainment system and safety features
Harley-Davidson motorcycles are synonymous with freedom and the open road.
One popular model suitable for this area is the Harley-Davidson Street Glide.
It features a powerful Milwaukee-Eight engine, a comfortable seat, and excellent handling.
The Street Glide's touring capabilities make it perfect for long rides along the scenic coastal roads of the Florida Keys.
Its large saddlebags provide ample storage space for any essentials you may need.
- Engine: Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin engine
- Displacement: 1,753cc
- Horsepower: Varies depending on the model year, but typically around 90-100 horsepower
- Torque: Varies depending on the model year, but typically around 110-120 lb-ft
- Transmission: 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission
- Fuel Capacity: Varies depending on the model year, but typically around 6 gallons
- Seat Height: Varies depending on the model year, but typically around 26-27 inches
- Weight: Varies depending on the model year, but typically about 800-850 pounds
- Storage: Large saddlebags for ample storage space
For beach lovers, check out 5 Beaches In Florida That Are Accessible To All Visitors.
7. Indian Scout
Moving on to the Indian Scout. This motorcycle combines classic design with modern technology, making it an excellent choice for cruising around the Florida Keys.
The Indian Scout boasts a lightweight chassis and a powerful engine, delivering a smooth and enjoyable ride.
Consider the Indian Scout Bobber for a more aggressive and stripped-down look.
- Engine: Liquid-cooled V-twin engine
- Displacement: 1,133cc
- Horsepower: Around 100 horsepower
- Torque: Around 72 lb-ft
- Transmission: 6-speed transmission
- Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
- Seat Height: Varies depending on the model, but typically around 25-26 inches
- Weight: Varies depending on the model, but typically around 550-600 pounds
8. BMW R NineT
Next up is the BMW R NineT. This motorcycle offers a unique blend of retro styling and modern performance.
The R NineT is designed to be versatile, allowing you to customize it to suit your preferences. Its powerful boxer engine and responsive handling make it a joy to ride along the coastal roads of Florida.
The R NineT's comfortable seating position and advanced suspension ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Additionally, BMW offers a range of optional accessories and customization options, allowing you to make it your own truly.
- Engine: Air/oil-cooled Boxer Twin engine
- Displacement: 1,170cc
- Horsepower: Around 110 horsepower
- Torque: Around 86 lb-ft
- Transmission: 6-speed transmission
- Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons
- Seat Height: Varies depending on the model, but typically around 30-31 inches
- Weight: Varies depending on the model, but typically around 485-515 pounds
9. Triumph Bonneville
Lastly, we have the Triumph Bonneville. This classic British motorcycle combines timeless design with modern technology.
The Bonneville offers a comfortable riding position, making it ideal for long rides through the Florida Keys.
Its smooth power delivery and excellent handling allow for an enjoyable ride.
- Engine: Liquid-cooled Parallel Twin engine
- Displacement: Varies depending on the model, typically around 900cc or 1,200cc
- Horsepower: Varies depending on the model, typically around 60-80 horsepower
- Torque: Varies depending on the model, typically around 59-78 lb-ft
- Transmission: 5 or 6-speed transmission, depending on the model
- Fuel Capacity: Varies depending on the model, typically around 3.2-4.2 gallons
- Seat Height: Varies depending on the model, but typically around 29-30 inches
- Weight: Varies depending on the model, but typically about 450-500 pounds
Top 3 Vehicle Rental Companies in the Florida Keys
1. Enterprise Rent-A-Car
This company has a location at the Marathon Airport and offers clean, sanitized vehicles and a low-touch rental process.
You can choose from different car classes, such as economy, compact, intermediate, standard, full-size, premium, luxury, minivan, SUV, and convertible.
Enterprise also waives or reduces the renter’s responsibility for loss of or damage to the rental vehicle if you purchase the Damage Waiver option. Enterprise also has a loyalty program called Enterprise Plus, which lets you earn points for free rentals and other benefits.
You can also enjoy discounts and rewards from Enterprise’s partners, such as airlines, hotels, and credit cards. Enterprise has various initiatives, such as hiring veterans, donating to charities, and promoting sustainability.
Budget is a car rental company that offers cheap and reliable vehicles for various purposes.
You can rent a car, truck, van, or trailer from Budget and enjoy unlimited mileage, roadside assistance, and protection plans.
Budget has locations at the Marathon Airport and other places in the Florida Keys, as well as across the US and the world.
You can make a reservation online or by phone and choose different car classes, such as economy, compact, intermediate, standard, full-size, premium, luxury, SUV, and specialty vehicles.
Budget also has a loyalty program called Fastbreak, which lets you skip the line, get exclusive deals, and earn rewards.
Budget is part of the Avis Budget Group, which also owns Avis and Zipcar.
KAYAK is a metasearch engine that allows you to compare prices and options from hundreds of travel sites at once.
You can use KAYAK to find the best deals on flights, hotels, rental cars, and more.
KAYAK also offers travel tools such as Price Alerts, Explore, and Trips to help you plan and manage your travel. When renting vehicles in the Florida Keys, you can use KAYAK to search for rental cars from various suppliers and locations.
You can filter your search by car type, price, pick-up and drop-off dates, and other features. You can also see customer ratings and reviews for each car rental company.
KAYAK shows you the total price of your rental car, including taxes and fees, so that you can avoid any hidden charges. To start your search for rental cars in the Florida Keys, you can visit KAYAK’s website or download their app on your mobile device.
4 Benefits of Renting a Vehicle When Exploring the Florida Keys
Cruising around the Florida Keys is a popular way to experience the state's unique beauty and culture. However, many cruise passengers choose to take taxis or shuttles to get around, which can be expensive and inconvenient.
Renting a vehicle is a much better option, as it offers a number of benefits. Read on to learn about them!
Renting a car or motorcycle allows you to explore the Florida Keys at your own pace.
You can stop wherever you want, for however long you want, without worrying about the schedule of public transportation or the availability of taxis.
Renting a vehicle lets you travel comfortably, especially if you're planning a long road trip. You can choose a car or motorcycle that suits your preferences, needs, and number of companions.
Renting a vehicle can be cost-effective, especially if traveling in a group. Splitting the cost of a rental car or motorcycle can be cheaper than buying individual tickets for public transportation or hiring a taxi for every trip.
Renting a vehicle can also be safer than relying on public transportation or taxis.
To ensure a safe and comfortable ride, you can choose a car or motorcycle with advanced safety features, such as blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Journey
When embarking on a road trip in the Florida Keys, safety should always be a top priority. Here are some tips to help ensure a safe and enjoyable journey:
1. Check Your Vehicle Before Departure
Before you hit the road, check your vehicle's oil, brakes, tires, and other essential parts.
Packaging an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, first aid supplies, and a spare tire is also a good idea.
By doing so, you can avoid any unexpected breakdowns or accidents.
2. Follow Traffic Rules and Regulations
The Florida Keys have specific traffic rules and regulations you must follow.
Also, make sure to wear your seatbelt at all times and never drink and drive.
3. Stay Hydrated and Well-Rested
Driving in the Florida heat can be exhausting, so stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Additionally, take breaks every few hours to stretch your legs and rest your eyes. This will help you stay alert and focused while driving.
For solo travelers seeking more Florida adventures, read our guide 20 Best Florida Destinations for Solo Travel.
4. Plan Your Route and Stops
Planning your route and stops in advance will help avoid getting lost or missing out on must-see attractions.
Use a GPS or map to plan your route and research the best places to stop for food, gas, and restrooms.
For inspiration, you can also check out some popular motorcycle routes in the Florida Keys.
Best Time to Visit Florida Keys
The Keys have a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round, but certain times of the year are more optimal for visiting.
The most comfortable season to visit the Florida Keys is from December to April, when the weather is dry, and temperatures aren't scorching.
But this is also the busiest time of year, so expect crowds and higher prices on accommodations and activities.
If you're looking for a more affordable and quieter time to visit, consider traveling during the off-season from June to November.
While temperatures can be hot and humid, this is a great time to take advantage of lower prices and fewer crowds.
Meanwhile, September and October are the slowest months in the Florida Keys, but as with the off-season, these months also coincide with hurricane season.
While the chances of a hurricane hitting the Keys are relatively low, you should monitor the weather forecast and prepare for potential disruptions to your travel plans.
Start Your Engines and Hit the Open Road to Adventure!
The Florida Keys are a beautiful and unique place, and there's no better way to explore them than by renting a car or motorcycle.
With the top down, you can take in the stunning views of the turquoise waters and lush vegetation.
And when you want to stop and explore, you'll be free to go wherever you want!
Here are a few final tips for renting a car or motorcycle for your trip to the Florida Keys:
- Book your rental in advance, especially if you're traveling during peak season.
- Make sure to compare prices from different rental companies.
- Consider the type of vehicle you want to rent based on your needs and budget.
- Be sure to read the rental agreement carefully before signing it.
- Purchase insurance to protect yourself in case of an accident.
- Have fun, and enjoy your Florida Keys adventure!
Have a wonderful time in the Florida Keys!
Seeking an adults-only retreat? Find out more here: Grownup Getaway: 18 Best Resorts in the Florida Keys for Travel Without Kids