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Directions to the Florida Keys

You can get to the Florida Keys by land, sea or air. Each mode of transport has its rewards and its pitfalls but every traveller is different so investigate the different arrival pathways and find the best one for you.

You can get to the Florida Keys by land, sea or air. Each mode of transport has its rewards and its pitfalls but every traveller is different so investigate the different arrival pathways and find the best one for you.

By Airplaine

There are two airports in the Florida Keys: one in Marathon and one in Key West. Marathon is Mile Market 50, which is halfway out the string of islands, halfway to Key West. The Marathon airport is used mainly by private light planes and Delta has only recently begun commercial flights here. If you have your own small aircraft, this is a good place to land. Key West International Airport has flights coming and going from major airlines all day long, every day of the week. Many of the domestic flights are small, short flights from major destination cities in Florida such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa. The airport is tiny but lots of flights come and go. You will pay a premium for flying right into Key West rather than flying into Miami, for example, but for some it's worth it.

Flying into Miami or Fort Lauderdale and then renting a car is a very common way of reaching the Florida Keys. It's cheaper to fly into these cities, and the drive across the Overseas Highway is a classic, beautiful drive. Some people consider this drive through the Keys to be part of the vacation itself. The drive from Miami is 150 miles but can take anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on traffic. If your destination is Key West, you can rent the car for just one day and then get around by bicycle or taxi, since this island is only 4 miles long and very congested with cars, and parking is tough.

florida keys directions
Key West Express


Driving

If you're driving, take Florida's Turnpike all the way south to where it ends, in Florida City. The turnpike ends and puts you on US 1, which you can then follow into the Keys and all the way to Key West. Once you're in the Keys, about 27 miles after the turnpike ends, US 1 is called the Overseas Highway. Get used to navigating your progress through the Florida Keys using Mile Markers. Key West is Mile Marker 0, and Key Largo begins around Mile Marker 110. Mile Markers are marked by little green square signs on the side of the road. Guide books and anyone giving directions will use Mile Markers.

getting to the florida keys
Florida Keys


By Sea

Key West Express runs a ferry from Ft Myers Beach to Key West once a day, leaving Ft Myers Beach in the morning and leaving Key West in the late afternoon. They also now run a ferry from Miami, leaving Miami in the morning and returning from Key West in late afternoon. You can visit Key West for a day trip, or stay as long as you like. You don't have to buy a round trip ticket, and if you do, it doesn't have to be for return on the same day. The ferries are large, pleasant, and fun. The trip back to Miami is great because you get the sunset as you get closer to Miami. Trip to Miami is about 4 hours and the trip to Ft Myers Beach is about three and a half hours. The Ft Myers Beach route also stops in Marco Island, which is just off the coast from Ft Myers Beach. This is a great service, and great way to get to Key West.

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Answers to past Visitor Questions

Snorkeling Key West

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