If you’re visiting Miami and want to squeeze in a short day trip to Key West while you’re in South Florida, you’ve got options! Day trips are a popular choice for families, couples, and even bachelor/bachelorette parties looking to make the most of their south Florida vacation.
If you plan on doing activities in both Miami and Key West, you can snag a pass that has a variety of activities and attractions in both places. Most of the multi activity discount passes include attractions in Key West, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, which can also be a good solution for many travelers that want to do it all on a budget.
There is a distance of about 165 miles from Miami, FL to Key West, FL. Most visitors travel by car or bus and can expect around 4 hours of travel time. But this is no ordinary drive! You and your group will take in stunning coastal views while cruising the sun-soaked roads of south Florida. (image below by: I, Matrek)
One great option is to hop on a bus for a day trip to Key West from Miami. Instead of keeping your eyes on the road, you can relax with a book, take in the beauty of the Oversees Highway, or just take a nap. This is also a great way to learn interesting facts about the Florida Keys along the way.
If you take the bus down, you’ll arrive mid morning and have about 6.5 hours to make the most out of your day trip. If you’re coming to Key West for the day on a cruise, you’ll probably have about the same amount of time. Either way, you’ve got to be smart with your time if you want to get in as many many of Key West’s historic sights, fantastic food, and amazing watersports activities as you can.
Some folks rent a car so they can stop along the way from Key Largo to Key West, but keep in mind that this will take you several hours. Although the actual distance from Miami isn’t that far, it’s mostly two lane roads and speed limits are low throughout the Florida Keys. We do not recommend speeding as the roads are heavily policed and speed limits are strictly enforced!
It could take you a decent amount of time to fight Miami traffic and get out of town, so try to leave early in the morning, or at night after rush hour. Once you are out of Miami, you can expect the trip from Homestead to Key Key West to take at least three hours, longer with stops.
If you have taken a bus tour from Miami to Key West and only have 6.5 hours, you might be wondering if you’ll have time to do any tours... the answer is YES! The best thing to do is to plan ahead. We recommend finding a mid day tour that departs between 12:00 and 2:00 and lasts 2 to 3 hours so that you have enough time to explore and catch your bus home around 5:30.
Image by Florida Memory via Flickr
If you would rather spend your day at the beach and on the water, then a Key West beach pass might be the way to go. Passes include access to a variety of activities and give you the flexibility to try things like kayaking, windsurfing and parasailing at your own pace and on your own schedule. You can also rent scooters and hydrobikes by the hour!
If you do want to get out on the water, but you don’t want to get wet, Parasailing is a great option. Most trips start and end on the boat, but if you want to get dipped in the ocean they will usually oblige you! Trips depart hourly and usually last around one hour, so there is plenty of time to go parasailing and explore the rest of Key West.
For many people, snorkeling is a must do activity, especially if it is your first trip to Key West. With quick access to the only barrier reef in the continential US, it’s not surprising that snorkeling is one of Key West’s hottest activities. You can find several mid day trips that last around three hours. Many Snorkeling tours include other activities like kayaking and some trips even offer an open bar!
You might be surprised to learn that someone who has never been diving before can try scuba in Key West... best of all they can fit it into a Florida Keys day trip! Of course, once you get the hang of it you’ll never want to stop. So why not get your certification and come back for an awe-inspiring wreck dive?
If you have a need for speed and you want to see the entire island of Key West from the water, then a Key West jet ski tour is for you! With multiple operators offerings tours every couple of hours, this excursion is easy to fit-in on your day trip to Key West.
If you’re dying to get out on the water, then taking a cruise on one of Key West’s beautiful sailboats might be right up your alley. With tours leaving mid-day and lasting about two hours, this is a great way to see Key West.
If you want the most out of your Miami vacation, a Day Trip to Key West is as clear a choice as a fresh seafood platter with a side of key lime pie! Get all the info you need on Key West, FL including activities, stories, and traveler blogs by heading to the TripShock Key West Visitor's Guide!