The Budget Savvy Travelers

Miami to Key West | Best Things to Do Mile-by-Mile Along the Way

The road trip from Miami to Key West begins the moment you’ve left Miami’s metropolitan area. Approaching mile marker 127, the hustle and bustle of Miami should begin to feel distant as you look into your rearview mirror. This route will take you along Route 1, also known as the S. Dixie Hwy. In short, this route will begin at the intersection of Route 1 & Card Sound Road at mile marker 127 and end at mile marker 0 in Key West. The best things to do from Miami to Key West will be pinpointed mile-by-mile along the way.

Miami to Key West | Miles 127 to 107

Mile marker 107 officially represents the start of the Florida Keys. However, before reaching mile marker 107 you’ll pass by the Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area for about 15 miles. The area is full of marshes and prairies and is great for anyone interested in hiking, hunting, biking, or horseback riding.

From Miami to Key West the mile markers will decrease, eventually ending at 0 in Key West. From Key West to Miami the mile markers will increase, eventually reaching 127 near the intersection of Highway 1 & Card Sound Rd.

Following the Southern Glades, you’ll begin seeing little glimpses of water, you may even spot some boats. As a result, your senses will become a bit more alert as your body begins to feel the calming properties of the Florida Keys. From miles 112 to 109 you’ll pass by Manatee Bay on your left, Long Sound on your right before continuing on past Little Blackwater Sound, Blackwater Sound, and Barnes Sound.

Miami to Key West | Best Things to Do Mile-by-Mile Along the Way

At mile marker 109 the highway becomes elevated and provides wonderful views of the area. In just two miles, as you pass over Lake Surprise at mile marker 107. At this point, you will have officially reached Key Largo. Welcome to the Florida Keys!

Don’t forget to fill up your gas tank before heading down to the Keys. Generally, the closer you get to Key West the higher the prices.

Key Largo | Miles 106 to 95

Key Largo is considered the beginning of the Florida Keys and has some fantastic things to do on your journey down from Miami to Key West. For example, Key Largo is home to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the acclaimed Christ of the Abyss underwater statue. Furthermore, the surrounding waters feature the world’s second-largest artificial reef and the 510 foot USS Spiegel Grove shipwreck.

106. Florida Keys Visitor Center

The Florida Keys Visitor Center helps with discounts on accommodations, activities, and things to do. There’s also a souvenir shop with t-shirts and free maps.

104. Caribbean Club

The sign for the Caribbean Club | Miami to Key West

In 1947, Warner Brothers used the Caribbean Club as their inspiration for writing the screenplay Key Largo, which featured Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Also, the exterior was used as a filming location. Recently, it’s been the filming location for the Netflix original series Bloodline.

103. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary

A lovely state park that features both land and subaquatic adventures. The Key Largo Undersea Park contains diverse fish and marine life and is a great spot for snorkeling and diving. One of the highlights includes Christ of the Abyss or Christ of the Deep, a 4,000-pound bronze statue of Christ that’s installed in the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary. St. Justin’s Martyr Catholic Church at mile marker 105.5 has a replica of the statue in their main sanctuary.

102. Dolphins Plus Bayside

Visitors may observe and swim with dolphins in a unique and thrilling environment. Tours include a hands-on Structured and Shallow Water Dolphin Swim or Guided Natural Dolphin Swim. Both excursions will allow you to check this activity off your bucket list.

100. African Queen Canal Cruise

The vessel the African Queen was made famous in the 1951 movie African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. Tourists may take a 1.5-hour canal cruise aboard the boat. It departs from the Marina Del Mar marina, next to the Holiday Inn Complex

99. Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder and Island Dolphin Care

These two nonprofit organizations focus on conservation, research, extensive education, and outreach programs for dolphins.

95. Key Lime Products

Key Lime Products is famous for its wide variety of key lime products. Additionally, owners travel the world looking for unique gift items for home and lawn decor.

The Florida Scenic Highway sign next to the mile marker 0 in Key West.

Tavernier | Miles 94 to 91

Tavernier is one of the smaller Florida Key Islands. There are a few accommodations and houseboats. Most of the things to do in and around Tavernier involve viewing wildlife, swimming, boating, and fishing.

94. Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

The Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center and Laura Quinn Wild Bild Sanctuary are open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. It’s home to about 100 non-releasable, permanent bird residents as well as hawks, owls, and herons.

Cruising down Highway 1 from Miami to Key West is probably the best road trip experience in North America.

93. Harry Harris Beach and Park

Pet-friendly park with a well-maintained beach, a boat ramp, picnic tables and shelters, and a playground. Admission is free on weekdays.

Islamorada | Miles 90 to 72

Islamorada is known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World. It’s a sought-after vacation destination because of its friendly atmosphere, ocean views, scenic bays, charming shops, and outdoor activities.

89. Old Road Gallery

An Art Gallery featuring resident artists Dwayne & Cindy King as well as other local Keys artists. When visiting, make sure to wander outside and view the pottery studio, copper workshop, and shady Sculpture Garden.

87. Rain Barrel Artisan’s Village

Betsy the Lobster!

A must-stop for a picture with Betsy the Lobster! The tropical gardens are a great place to stretch your legs browse the handmade crafts, contemporary artwork, home goods, beachwear, and souvenirs.

85. Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

Fossilized coral reefs and nature trails are the highlights of this park.

84. Theater of the Sea

Visitors may watch dolphin shows, sea lion shows, parrot shows, and more. Options to swim with the animals, including sea turtles and sharks.

83. History of Diving Museum

The History of Diving Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, displaying, and interpreting artifacts, antiques, books, documents, photographs, and oral history relative to the History of Diving.

82. Islamorada Beer Company

Local craft brewery and distiller of island rum, vodka, and gin.

82. Lobster Trap Art Gift Shop and Gallery

Tropical artwork made from repurposed lobster trap frames.

82. Florida Keys History & Discovery Center

An informative museum featuring interactive exhibits related to the history of the Florida Keys, a 35-seat movie theater, aquariums examining the Florida reef, corals, and the invasive Lionfish, and a research library.

82. Michelle Nicole Lowe Art Gallery

Michelle’s art has a tropical theme as she hopes to share her love of the Caribbean through her paintings. Photo courtesy of michellenicolelowe.com

Michelle’s pieces are vibrant and colorful. Although most of her subjects are related to Key West, her style is different from other Key West artists, making her gallery a unique stop along US 1.

81. Florida Keys Brewing Company

A cool and small microbrewery with an artsy island vibe that brews about 30 different styles.

79. Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park

Lignum vitae is known as the tree of life or the wood of life. It’s one of the heaviest and densest woods in the world—it’s so heavy that it sinks. The Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park is the best place in the world to see this tree.

79. Indian Key State Historic Site

Miami to Key West | Photo courtesy of trailoffloridasindianheritage.org

Indian Key State Historic Site sits on a deserted 11-acre island. There are the ruins of a small town that existed during the early 1800s. At that time, inhabitants made their living salvaging boats that ran into reefs. Most visitors will rent a kayak to reach the island.

80. Wild Dolphin Tours

Snorkel and swim with wild dolphins with Wild Dolphin Tours. Also, snorkel off many of the nearby reefs including Cheeca Rocks, Alligator Reef Lighthouse, and Hens and Chickens Reef.

80. Bud n’ Mary’s Sportfishing Marina

Established in 1944, Bud n’ Mary’s Fishing Marina is considered a historic fishing marina. They offer inshore, offshore, and party boat fishing packages. Furthermore, they have boat rentals, diving and snorkeling excursions, and an onsite deli.

74. Anne’s Beach

Anne’s Beach isn’t much of a beach but it’s still a great place to enjoy the great outdoors! | Miami to Key West

A very small beach with a boardwalk and picnic area. A nice spot to enjoy a natural shoreline.

The Middle Keys and Marathon | Miles 71 to 41

The Middle Keys are situated right in the middle of the Florida Keys—consider it the halfway point on your journey down from Miami to Key West. The highlights of the area include Seven Mile Bridge and the town of Marathon, which is considered one of the most Key Westy localities.

71. Channel #5 Bridge

Fisherman love Bridge #5! | Miami to Key West

Channel #5 Bridge is where locals go for the best bridge fishing in the Keys.

68. Pier 68

Pier 68 offers some of the best rental prices for fishing boats, pontoon boats, and kayaks.

67. Long Key State Park

Long Key State Park is a great place for swimming, birdwatching, kayaking, picnicking, and relaxing. Also, 60 full-service campsites are overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

The drastic change in color on Ohio Key, located at mile marker 39 is quite spectacular.

65. Long Key Bridge

The Long Key Bridge, officially known as the Dante B. Fascell Bridge, connects Long Key and Conch Key. At two and a half miles long, it is the second-longest bridge on the Overseas Highway, just behind the Seven Mile Bridge. The current bridge replaced the parallel Long Key Viaduct, which carried the Overseas Railroad in the early 1900s.

59. Dolphin Research Center

Dolphin Research Center is a nonprofit education and research facility. It’s home to a family of dolphins and sea lions. They offer narrated behavior sessions and educational presentations every half an hour.

56. Curry Hammock State Park

Curry Hammock State Park is a beautiful little park with a soft white sand beach. | Miami to Key West

The 1,000-acre state park is the largest uninhabited piece of land between Key Largo and Big Pine Key. The park is a great destination for kayaking, paddleboarding, and camping.

54. Sunset Park Beach

Situated in Key Colony Beach, this small park has limited parking spaces and a small beach with only a few benches and tables. No camping, bathrooms, or picnic facilities.

53. San Pablo Catholic Church

Lovely church with warm and welcoming parishioners. An ideal location to attend Sunday mass.

53. Islands of Marathon Visitor Center

The Islands of Marathon Visitor Center offers free information about the best attractions and activities, along with where to stay, and where to dine.

52. EAA Air Museum

Small aviation museum at the Marathon Airport. It’s tucked away inside of a hangar and free tours are provided. Donations are accepted though.

52. Oceanfront Park

Oceanfront Park is dog-friendly and has an open area to exercise and fly kites. The field borders the Atlantic Ocean and provides visitors with a great place to view wildlife, picnic, fish, or participate in waterbased activities.

50. Sombrero Beach

Sombrero Beach offers visitors with an easy beach to walk on and provides views of the Keys’ largest lighthouse, the Sombrero Lighthouse.

This is a spur-and-groove coral reef that sits along the outer banks of Vaca Key. It’s characterized by large fingers of coral that are separated by narrow sandbeds, it’s a great place to go snorkeling.

50. Marathon Garden Club

This small and private botanical garden is maintained by a group of volunteers. The hours are limited but the plants are spectacular.

48. Shady Palm Art Gallery & Photography

Features over 50 local artists with original paintings in watercolor, acrylic, ink, oil, and other types of mixed medium. Also, they have fabric art, fused glass, pottery, jewelry, carved rock, digital works of art, silk flower arrangements, carved wood, shell art, lobster trap frames, photography, driftwood and coconut art, and more.

48. The Turtle Hospital

The Turtle Hospital is a nonprofit organization that houses and cares for sea turtles. They offer guided educational experiences to the public seven days a week.

47. Pigeon Key Foundation

The historic island of Pigeon Key was once the home of the over 400 workers who built the Overseas Railway. There are daily tours that take place at 10 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm. The Pigeon Key Ferry departs from 2010 Overseas Highway in Marathon, which is the location of the Pigeon Key visitors center.

47. Old Seven Mile Bridge

The old Seven Mile Bridge was built by Henry Flagler for the Oversea Railway in the early 1900s. It has been replaced by the new and modern Seven Mile Bridge running parallel to it. The bridge is temporarily closed and is scheduled to reopen in 2021.

47. Seven Mile Bridge

At 6.8 miles long, Seven Mile Bridge is the longest in the Keys.

The seven-mile bridge is on the left side while the old bridge, built during the early 1900s is on the right. | Miami to Key West

Lower Keys and Key West | Miles 40 to 0

The Lower Keys are home to a national marine sanctuary, a state park, two national wildlife refuges, and are filled with an abundance of terrestrial and marine wildlife. The final destination is mile marker 3.9, where the Welcome to Key West sign sits. From there, it’s a short drive to mile marker 0—and then the epic road trip from Miami to Key West is officially accomplished!

37. Bahia Honda State Park

Built in the early 1900s, the Old Bahia Honda Bridge (foreground) is an old railroad bridge that had an automobile bridge added above the spans. | Miami to Key West

Known for its stunning Florida scenery, clear waters, palm-lined beaches, breathtaking sunsets—visitors enjoy the warm breezes all year-round. Wildlife lovers, snorkelers, and kayakers especially treasure this state park.

31. Key West Visitors Center

The center provides some general knowledge of the area along with available tours. However, it’s specifically known for its souvenir shop and coupons.

The Sunshine Key RV Resort near mile marker 39. | Miami to Key West

30. National Key Deer Refuge

Fourteen square miles of natural habitat full of Key deer, a subspecies of the white-tailed deer. Big Pine Key is the only place in the world to find the endangered Key deer.

30. Blue Hole

 

White-tailed Key deer, fish, and alligators gather at this watering hole, converted from an old limestone quarry. The hole is layered with both freshwater and saltwater.

28. Boondocks Grille and Drafthouse & Miniature Golf

Everything you’d expect from the largest tiki bar in the Keys including a kitchen that serves up food in a “Southern Kitchen Keys Style,” live entertainment, and an 18 hole miniature golf course.

23. Angelic Moon Holistic Day Spa & Apothecary

This holistic day spa & apothecary provides natural and organic treatments for the body, mind, and spirit.

18. Skydive Key West

Guaranteed to experience the best views of the Keys. Plan on seeing tropical birds, dolphins, and Seven Mile Bridge as you float back down back to earth.

8. Naval Air Station Key West

You’ll probably hear the jets before you see them. | Miami to Key West

Don’t be surprised if you see fighter jet’s cruising around Key West. The Naval Air Station is positioned just a few miles outside of town. This group isn’t messing around either, they’re doing some serious training.

 5. Hogfish Bar and Grill

Considered by many to be one of the best open-air restaurants in the area. It’s tucked away in Safe Harbor on Stock Island and provides guests with lovely panoramic views of the marina. This place is all about serving fresh seafood that’s purchased directly from local fishermen.

4. Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden

The Key West Botanical Garden Society is a nonprofit charitable corporation that manages and operates the historic property. The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden is the only frost-free botanical garden in the continental United States.

9 Best Things to Do at Mile Marker 0

When you reach mile marker 4, the epic road trip from Miami to Key West is just about over. Key West is the southernmost location in the continental United States.

Fans of Hemingway will appreciate visiting his home where he wrote about 70% of his life’s work. | Miami to Key West

The city provides visitors with a tropical blend of azure waters, colorful foliage, outdoor restaurants, and interesting history. Below are the nine best things to do in Key West.

Key West Welcome Sign | Welcome to Key West!

At mile marker 3.9, directly in front of the stoplight where the road comes to a T. Head left to go towards the Key West Airport, Smathers Beach, and Higgs Beach. Turn right to head towards the Old Town.

US 1—Mile Marker 0

The “End of the Rainbow” sign sits right next to mile marker 0 in downtown Key West. | Miami to Key West

Pretty much everyone enjoys taking a photo in front of the mile marker 0 sign, it proves that you made it to the end of the road!

See the Short Video of Our Time in Key West Below!

Mallory Square

You simply must be here for at least one sunset. Get here about one hour before sunset to feel the city come alive. The waterfront location features a bunch of restaurants and shops and is a great place to visit before heading out for dinner.

Duval Street

Considered Key West’s “Main Street,” this popular and busy street is where pretty much everything happens. Take a stroll down it to see what catches your eye.

Harry S. Truman Little White House

This is Florida’s only presidential museum. The Little White House was the winter residence for the 33rd POTUS. Guided tours are available.

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Ernest Hemingway wrote about 70 percent of his life’s work in this house for over ten years. Guided tours take place every 15 minutes.

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

The historic site of an impressive Civil War-era fort. Views from the top are spectacular and the small entrance fee grants you access to one of the best beaches in the area. Bring a picnic lunch to make the perfect day. The best grocery store is Winn Dixie Supermarket, 2778 N Roosevelt Blvd.

Southernmost Point

Take a picture next to the colorful landmark/buoy and witness magnificent Key West sunsets.

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

Walk among hundreds if not thousands of butterflies, colorful birds, and exotic flora.

Want to see where we stayed on the journey down from Miami to Key West? This place, in particular, is one of the best places to stay in Key West.

We sure hope your drive down from Miami to Key West was a bit more enjoyable due to this mile marker guide. feel free to let us know of any suggestion to add by leaving a comment below.


Best Places to Stay in Key West and Things to Do | Best Location!

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