Just a few hours away from the sun-drenched beaches and swaying palm trees of Miami lies the island paradise of Key West, beckoning travelers with its laid-back charm and breathtaking natural beauty.
Key West is a Bucket-List level destination that you should definitely include in your trip to Florida.
In this travel guide, we unveil the secrets of traversing from the energetic city of Miami to the enchanting island paradise of Key West, all while crafting a road trip itinerary that will have you grinning from ear to ear.
Ready? Let's hit the road!
Miami To Key West Cruises
Anyone interested in cruising down to Key West will find many reputable companies with operations in the Port of Miami.
Here are a few of the most popular cruise operators worthy of a closer look.
Carnival is one of the most budget-friendly cruise lines and offers trips from Miami to Key West as a part of its 4-day Western Caribbean tour.
In addition to stopping in Key West, guests will get to spend a bit of time on the island of Cozumel before returning to Miami.
Interior rooms for this particular cruise cost between $200 and $250 per person.
You can find out more about this company’s offerings by visiting Carnival’s online portal.
If you don’t find a Carnival schedule that jives with your needs, consider giving Royal Caribbean a try.
Currently, Royal Caribbean offers a “6-Night Western Caribbean Cruise” that starts in Miami and stops in Key West, Cozumel, and Puerto Costa Maya.
The average cost of this journey is usually around $350 per adult for interior rooms.
Of course, you could browse more cruise options by visiting Royal Caribbean’s main website.
Disney Cruise Lines
For those interested in splurging on a family-friendly getaway, Disney Cruise Lines does offer packages including a stop in Key West.
Most of these tours are between 3 to 5-night journeys, and almost all of them include a stop on Disney’s private Caribbean island: Castaway Cay.
Please keep in mind, a 3-night cruise on a Disney Cruise Line from Miami could easily cost $600 per person for an interior room.
Check out Disney Cruise Lines’ website for more specifics on pricing.
Miami To Key West Ferry Ride
Unfortunately, there’s no direct ferry ride from Miami to Key West.
The only highly reviewed Key West ferry in South Florida (aptly called the Key West Express) departs from Fort Myers and Marco Island.
Both of these locations are roughly a 2.5-hour drive from Miami.
Folks who book a trip on the Key West Ferry will enjoy a 40mph ride on a luxurious catamaran to America’s southernmost point.
A ride on the Key West Express usually takes about 3.5 hours and costs approximately $155 per adult round-trip.
You can visit Key West Express’s webpage for more comprehensive info.
Miami To Key West Buses
If you’d like to take the scenic drive to Key West but don’t want to rent a car, then bus transportation is an attractive option.
Here are two fantastic bus operators that frequently travel between Miami and Key West.
Booking a Greyhound Bus is undoubtedly one of the most economical ways to get from Miami to Key West.
The average fare for a Greyhound trip between these two cities is usually no more than $25 one-way.
Those who book online even further in advance, however, could snatch tickets for as low as $17.
One downside of using Greyhound is it takes longer to get to Key West due to frequent stopping.
Most Greyhound trips between Miami and Key West are estimated at 6 hours—which is double the length of a typical car ride.
Thankfully, Greyhound now offers free Wi-Fi on-board its buses to help kill time.
You’ll find Greyhound’s central bus station at 3801 NW 21st Street in Miami and 3535 S Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West.
For more info on tickets and departure times, please visit Greyhound’s website.
If you’re more interested in a van trip to the Keys, then look into a company known as Keys Shuttle.
Based in Marathon, this company has a fleet of 12-passenger vans that offer door-to-door shuttle and charter services from Miami to the Florida Keys.
A typical trip on the Keys Shuttle from Key West to Miami International Airport lasts about 4 hours and costs roughly $90 for a round-trip.
The Keys Shuttle also offers transportation to Fort Lauderdale Airport and stops at other Keys like Key Largo, Marathon, and Islamorada.
For more detailed information on this company’s pricing, you should visit the Keys Shuttle’s website or call (305) 289-9997.
Miami To Key West Organized Tours
Anyone looking for a little more structure in their trip to Key West might want to take a peek at the Miami to Key West tour packages available on reputable sites like Viator.
Here are just a few examples of the organized tours now offered online.
Snorkeling enthusiasts might enjoy a catamaran cruise with snorkeling stops.
This one-day trip between Miami and Key West costs about $120 per person and includes professional safety instruction and 3 hours of snorkeling.
Folks who are looking for a guided bus tour should look into this Key West Day Trip from Collins Avenue.
For $50 per person, you can take an air-conditioned bus from Miami to Key West with an expert tour guide/bus driver.
Another popular organized tour is listed as “Key West Day Trip with Optional Activities.”
Guests who choose this option enjoy a guided bus tour and can easily add-on various Key West activities (e.g., parasailing, glass-bottom boat rides, tourist trolleys) for additional fees.
The base fee for this trip is $40 per person.
Miami To Key West Flights
The quickest way to get from Miami to Key West is to book a flight out of Miami International Airport.
The flight time between these two airports is usually only about 1.5 hours.
If you’re not having luck booking a flight out of MIA, then you should look into nearby Fort Lauderdale Airport’s offerings.
Fort Lauderdale is home to a smaller airline known as Silver Airways, which offers no-frills flights to many Florida destinations.
Typically, one-way tickets on a Silver Airways from Fort Lauderdale to Key West cost between $60 – $100 per person.
For those who don’t mind spending a bit extra, there is a private charter service called Air Key West that focuses on flights to, well, Key West!
Hiring a 5-passenger jet from Miami to Key West usually costs about $900 one-way for everyone in your party.
To request a quote from this company, you can always visit Air Key West’s website.
Miami To Key West Road Trip Itinerary
The most common way people get to Key West is by car on historic US-1.
Not only is the drive relatively short (about 3.5 hours from Miami), it’s also one of the most scenic road trips in the USA.
Plus, there’s no need for a GPS…because there’s only one road to follow down the Keys!
Although Key West has all the star attractions, don’t neglect the many wonderful sites at the other Florida Keys as you pass through.
To help you make the most of your Keys road trip, we’ve put together a sample road trip itinerary with a few suggested attractions and dining options.
For even more ideas on visiting the Keys, be sure to check out our detailed post entitled “66 Things To Do In The Florida Keys.”
Only a 1.5-hour drive from Miami, Key Largo’s main claim to fame is its superb snorkeling in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
Here are a few other cool attractions to check out in the longest Florida Key:
- Dolphin meet-and-greets at Dolphins Plus Bayside
- Bird-watching at the FL Keys Wild Bird Rehab Center
- Try lovely lobster rolls at What The Fish Rolls & More
Islamorada sometimes considered the “Middle Key” because it’s a 2-hour drive from both Miami and Key West.
While this key is best known for its phenomenal sports fishing, here are a few other things to do while you’re here:
- Visit the highly interactive Florida Keys History & Discovery Center
- Savor local flavors at Chef Michael’s
- Grab a cold craft beer at Islamorada Brewing & Distillery
Long Key was once the exclusive retreat of the rich and famous.
Today, this small key just south of Islamorada is best known for its state park and excellent camping facilities.
Two highlights of visiting Long Key include:
About 2.5-hours from Miami, Grassy Key, is one of the northernmost Marathon Islands with a well-reviewed dolphin science center.
If you’re stopping here, then you should consider:
- Spending some time at the Dolphin Research Center
- Sipping a refreshing iced drink at the cute Curly’s Coffee Company shack
Marathon is a group of over ten islands that are a 2.5-hour drive from Miami.
A few of the best things to do while here include:
- Booking a tour at The Turtle Hospital
- Taking a siesta on Sombrero Beach
- Eating at the picturesque Lighthouse Grill
Big Pine Key
Only a 40-minute drive from Key West, Big Pine Key is now home to the official Key West Visitors Center.
Nature lovers will enjoy a stop on Big Pine Key as much of the land here is dedicated to wildlife preservation.
- Spot endangered species at the National Key Deer Refuge
- See the splendid Bahia Honda State Park
- Order a pizza at the historic No Name Pub
By the way, if you want more information on wildlife viewing, then you should check out our previous post about Florida Keys Animals.
Enjoy your trip to the Florida Keys!
As always, we really welcome your feedback and questions.
If you've made the journey between Miami and Key West, and have some insights to share, please leave us a comment and let us know!
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