The Florida Keys are attractive to a wide variety of vacationers for many reasons. Whether you want to spend your days relaxing on some gorgeous beaches, visiting multiple lovely state and national parks, or playing the tourist at some top-notch attractions, a Miami to Florida Keys road trip gives you the opportunity to experience all of these things. You can experience everything from wetlands to tropical reefs on this journey from a culturally diverse, unique American city to the southernmost tip of the United States. Swimming with stingrays, hiking through wetlands, and lazing around on some excellent beaches are all activities you can do on this road trip. So, fire up your RV and make your way to Highway 1, which will take you all the way to its zero-mile in Key West.
If you want to visit some national parks on your way from Miami to Key West, then you’ll have several attractive options. Each of these parks has something fun and exciting to offer its visitors.
Everglades National Park
Before you set off on your road trip of sandy beaches and brilliant seaside sunsets, you may want to consider visiting Everglades National Park. The entrance to the Everglades is less than an hour from downtown Miami, so it makes an excellent start to your road trip from Miami to Key West. This third-largest national park in the U.S. gives visitors 1.5 million acres of marshes, Flatwoods, mangroves, and other environments to tour. Manatees, crocodiles, alligators, panthers, and numerous other animals all call this amazing national park home.
Biscayne National Park
If you were to conjure up a mental picture of what a coastal Florida national park should look like, then Biscayne National Park would likely live up to many of those images. The bulk of the park is, essentially, Biscayne Bay, so the majority of the park’s attractions are on—and, of course, under—the water. Travelers flock to Biscayne for snorkeling and scuba diving, but fishing and boating are also popular pastimes here. While most of this park is aquatic, you’ll still be able to take advantage of a dozen miles of trails. The park is a little less than an hour outside of Miami, so it won’t take long to reach near the beginning of the trip.
Dry Tortugas National Park
If you’re up for an adventure, then you should definitely check out Dry Tortugas National Park, which is actually 70 miles west of Key West. Seven islands are home to a 19th-century fortress, gorgeous reefs, a lighthouse, and the hefty population of sea turtles that give the park its name. You can only access this park by boat or seaplane, so it’s not as popular as the other parks on this list. However, if you decide to end your road trip with a visit to a national park, then Dry Tortugas National Park is a unique destination that will take you even farther west than Key West.
There are plenty of state parks between Miami and Key West that can give you great value when compared to the national parks. Smaller does not necessarily mean less enjoyable as is obvious by these several quality state parks that you’ll be able to visit on your Miami to Key West road trip.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
This may not be a national park, but the diving and snorkeling here are well-known in their own right. Since this state park is just outside of Key Largo, it’s a fairly early destination on your road trip itinerary from Miami to Key West. Glass-bottom boat tours and kayaking are other popular activities to do at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
Long Key State Park
Fishing, canoeing, and hiking are some of the favorite things that visitors to Long Key State Park can do. As its name implies, this state park is located on lovely Long Key. Fiesta Key RV Resort & Marina and Jolly Roger RV Resort are nearby, so you can park your camper at those places.
Curry Hammock State Park
If you want to visit a state park that features both wetlands and beachfront areas, then Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon should appeal to you. Camping, fishing, kayaking, and hiking are all possible at this state park. Long Park Key, Crawl Key, Grassy Key, and Fat Deer Key are all close by as are Grassy Key RV Park & Resort and Jolly Roger RV Resort.
Bahia Honda State Park
Located on the Bahia Honda Key, Bahia Honda State Park is an immensely popular destination for a variety of travelers. Snorkeling, beachcombing, swimming, hiking, and more are all possible here. Sandspur Beach is right up the road, and Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina is close by as well.
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach
Once you reach Key West itself, you’ll be able to stop by Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach. It’s at the westernmost tip of Key West, so you’ll naturally want to pay a visit to the end of the line. In addition to being able to tour Fort Zachary Taylor, you’ll also have access to some great beaches at the edge of Key West.
There are, of course, numerous points of interest in Miami itself, but there are some interesting locations outside of the city as well. These are some of the destinations you’ll encounter on your road trip.
Theater of the Sea
If you want to swim with dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, and other aquatic animals, then Theater of the Sea is the place to go. These animals are also capable of performing in shows and meeting visitors in more personal venues. This venue is located in Islamorada close to Windley Key.
Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters
Another option for experiencing marine wildlife up close and personal is Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters. It’s located in Marathon right up the road from Florida Keys/Marathon International Airport. Feeding sharks, immersing yourself in a stingray tank, and diving in a coral reef tank are some of the activities you can do here.
Not too far down Highway 1 is Sombrero Beach. All of the classic beach activities are available here, so you’ll be able to spend some quality time soaking up the sun. You may even get to see some loggerhead turtles nesting if the time is right.
Seven Mile Bridge
If you’ve embarked on a Miami to Key West RV road trip, then you literally can’t help but cross over Seven Mile Bridge. This long, winding bridge connects Knights Key to Little Duck Key. The views are spectacular, and runners converge on the bridge every year to participate in a race across it.
Miami is, of course, the biggest city you’ll encounter on your road trip. There are still multiple cities along your route that are large and/or noteworthy.
Homestead is an excellent place to stay if you want to camp somewhere between the Everglades and Biscayne Bay. It’s near Miami, so it’s close to multiple dump stations and campgrounds. It’s 35 miles southwest of Miami and 25 miles northwest of Key Largo, so it’s conveniently located all around.
Key Largo is in the upper part of the Florida Keys. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park calls Key Largo home as does the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Roughly 10,000 people live on Key Largo.
Marathon is important because, among other reasons, it’s home to Florida Keys/Marathon International Airport. It sprawls over seven different keys and boasts a population of a little over 8,000. Sportfishing, spearfishing, diving, snorkeling, and lobster-tickling are all popular activities here.
Big Pine Key
Big Pine Key is not a particularly large city in the scheme of things, but it is close to Key West. Bahia Honda State Park and Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve are both nearby. An abandoned rock quarry called the Blue Hole has the only freshwater lake in the Florida Keys.
Traveling with an RV gives you and your companions complete control over where you stop, sleep, eat, and hang out. If you don’t want to take on the commitment and expense of owning an RV, then you might want to consider renting one through RVshare. Whether you want to rent an RV in Miami or in Key West, you’ll have plenty of trailers of all sizes from which to choose.