Getting to The Florida Keys, United States

Julia Opl Picture
Jeremias Padilla Picture
by Julia Opl, Jeremias Padilla
updated 25 days ago

Extending across several small islands connected by the Overseas Highway (route 1), the Florida Keys offer a unique mixture of natural beauty and culture. Getting to this travel destination is probably the tricky part where they keys are accessible mainly by Route 1 which then turns to Overseas Highway making it a long car ride. Once there, a range of free buses or public buses with tickets starting at $2 and passes from $4.

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The Florida Keys Key Information

A paradise chosen by artists and poets. Some of the best beaches in the U.S. are found across the multiple isles, together with the Sunset Festivals that capture the bohemian spirit that define the Keys.

The coral archipelago stretches down the south of the State of Florida into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The entrance to the Keys is located 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Miami, and are accessed via the Jewfish Creek Bridge.

Key Largo is the first of the islets, where Route 1 turns into the Overseas Highway.

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The tricky part

National Route US1 changes its name to the Overseas Highway. This long road connects all the Keys. The highway itself is a great attraction on its own as it runs above the sea. This road will be the one you'll be transiting the most as you move from Key to Key. There are no "addresses" or "street numbers" in the Overseas Highway. A different system is used instead, the "Mile Marker". They represent the address on the Highway. Key West is located at "US1 Mile Marker 0".

Cash is needed to pay for public transport, change is necessary.

All residents speak English, but there is a great Latino community, making it easy to find Spanish speakers in the case your group is familiar with the language.

There are three main safety concerns when travelling to the Keys.

  • First and foremost, the Overseas Highway can be affected by heavy traffic and the police carefully watches the road. Respecting the speed limits and safe driving regulations is essential if you have rented a car.
  • Secondly, Hurricane Season. This extends from June 1st until the end of the November. But most hurricanes tend to happen mid-August until October. When the authorities declare an official hurricane threat, means an immediate and mandatory evacuation of everyone. These warnings are given with enough time to relocate.
  • Third, the Wildlife. All down the roads you will find signs and warnings concerning the wildlife. This usually includes the prohibition to feed them, as approaching to the wildlife may result in dangerous interactions for both, humans and the local species.

While swimming it is not recommended to choose lonely and detached areas, as crocodiles are a constant threat. When swimming in the sea, try to avoid the Man-O-War which has a dangerous sting.

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Getting to The Florida Keys

Extending across several small islands connected by the Overseas Highway (route 1), the Florida Keys offer a unique mixture of natural beauty and culture, a paradise chosen by artists and poets. Some of the best beaches in the U.S. are found across the multiple isles, together with the Sunset Festivals that capture the bohemian spirit that define the Keys.

The coral archipelago stretches down the south of the State of Florida into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The entrance to the Keys is located 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Miami, and are accessed via the Jewfish Creek Bridge.

Key Largo is the first of the islets, where Route 1 turns into the Overseas Highway.

Most passengers travel to this destination from Miami and the Miami Airport (MIA).. Buses and car rentals as well as private transportation are available from Miami Airport to the Keys via the National Route US1 south of the city.

Others prefer to arrive directly to the Key West airport (EYW). Many companies offer domestic flights via US Airways, Southwest, Delta, to name a few. They connect through Florida, Miami and Atlanta cities.

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The Frugal Option

The best fare to reach Kay West from Miami is by bus. Prices start at $18 per ticket one way, and they may vary up to $25 depending on the day of the week or national holidays. The bus tickets can be purchased online.

Buses depart from the Miami Airport Intermodal Station and arrive directly at Key West's Bus Station while others leave from the Perimeter Rd & Nw 20th St in Miami's International Airport. Both are really close, but the Intermodal Station is just outside Miami Airport, while the second one is inside.

If you would like to visit any of the other Keys, such as Key Largo or Islamorada, the bus fare is also $18 even if the distance is shorter. Please note this trip takes about 5 hours or more depending on the traffic to reach Key West.

For travellers who would like to experience the full road trip down to the Florida Keys, car rentals are available. Cars range between $58 to $150 per day depending on the type of vehicle of your choice. SUVs are usually $140 or more.

At rush hours it will take around 1 hour to exit the city of Miami, and this can result challenging task given how heavy the traffic might be.

Renting a car allows passengers in groups of 3-4 to use one vehicle to travel down the road, this can be a really good fare for everyone onboard.

This option will also allow passengers to make their own experience down the different Keys. Either stops for lunch at local seaside restaurants or multiple activities including aquariums, fishing and diving.

The whole drive from Miami Airport to Key West takes about 3 hours 30 minutes. To Key Largo, 1 hour 30 minutes.

Flights are also available from Miami Airport to Key West. The trip takes about 53 minutes, and tickets start at $92 approximately.

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Private Transfer Options

Prices from Miami Airport to Key Largo, one way:

  • Lyft: $138-169 - Economy Car (3 passengers)

  • Uber: $149-182 - Economy Car (3 passengers)

  • Mozio: $186 - Private Sedan with a Professional Driver. (3 passengers)

  • Bus for 55 Passengers with Mozio $840, this is $16 per passenger.

Prices from Miami Airport to Islamorada one way:

  • Lyft: $170-207 - Economy Car (3 passengers)

  • Uber: $183-223 - Economy Car (3 passengers)

  • Mozio: $186 - Private Sedan with a Professional Driver. (3 passengers)

  • Bus for 55 Passengers with Mozio $984, this is $18 per passenger.

Prices from Miami Airport to Key West:

  • Lyft: $322 - $393 - Economy Car (3 passengers)

  • Uber: $347 - $424 - Economy Car (3 passengers)

  • Mozio: $427- Private Sedan with a Professional Driver. (3 passengers)

  • Bus for 55 Passengers with Mozio $1,624, this is $30 per passenger.

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The Mozio Recommendation

We believe that for smaller groups 3-4 passengers, who would like to do the whole trip down to the Keys, the best is to rent a car and drive. If your group is a large number, a bus with Mozio is really convenient.

Moving AROUND The Florida Keys

Once you arrive to the destination, if you have rented your car, it will be very easy for you to move around the cities. The informal convenience of Taxis, Uber and Lyft is also available to reach from your hotel to places like the Aquarium and piers. For passengers who prefer a higher standard, private drivers are available.

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The Frugal Option

You will be able to find five lines of buses in Key West and the Lower Keys. Buses are paid onboard, and the exact amount with change must be paid. Cards are not accepted to pay for this public transportation.

Key West:

  • One Way: $2 Full Price // $ 0.5 for seniors.
  • One day pass: $4.00
  • Seven day pass: $8.00 // $ 3.75 for seniors.
  • 31 day pass: $25.00 // $15.00 for seniors.

There is also a free bus that goes around Duval Street called the Duval Loop (Main Street of Key West)

For the Lower Keys:

  • One Way: $4.00 (full), $2.00 (reduced), $1.00 (senior)
  • One day pass: $8.00
  • Seven day pass: $25.00 // $15 for seniors.
  • 31-day pass: $75.00 and $45.00 for seniors.

There is also the option for a "Super Pass" which is unlimited to all the Lower Keys and Key West for one day. Price $12 .

Bikes are allowed down by the Florida State Parks and the Overseas Highway, unfortunately the bike road was damaged due to the hurricanes and it has not been repaired yet. Some segments are missing and are not accessible yet.

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Are Rideshare & TaxiApps Readily Available In The Florida Keys?

Available On-Demand Providers

  1. uber

    $10.46 per Mile

  2. lyft

    $10.34 per Mile

Not Available Options

  1. cabify

  2. grab

  3. freenow

  4. gojek

  5. didi

  6. bolt

Car Rental Options

Renting a car is a convenient transportation service option for small groups of up to 3 passengers. The fare for renting a car in Key Largo starts at $39 for a small car per day. If you'd like to rent a car in Islamorada, cars can be as cheap as $39 for a small car per day. Renting a car in Key West is around $68

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Day Trips Around The Florida Keys

Long Key State Park

Located only 1:45 hours away from Key West, you'll find Long Key State Park. There you can find the lush landscape with tranquil waters ideal for kayaking and the exploration of the natural park. The prices via Uber and Lyft are $130 to $159 for a small car and $218 to $266 for an Uber X each way.

Islamorada Distillery

The Islamorada Distillery is a travel destination loved by tourists. This is a great place for fishing, you can also visit the Islamorada Fishing Company nearby. It is 1 hour 38 minutes from Key West. The fare is $158 to $193 for an economy Lyft or $264 to $323 for Uber XL each way.

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John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

A great place to visit is the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, where you can scuba dive into the natural living reefs and visit the submerged statue of Christ of the Abyss. Key Largo is the furthest Key from Key West and the closest one to Miami. It is recommended to visit it on your way into Key West or during your return. The distance from Key West is 2 hours 7 minutes approximately. The prices of Lyft and Uber from Key West are $194 to $237 and $328 to $401 for an Uber X one way.

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Dry Tortugas National Park

The Dry Tortugas National Park is located down Key West into the sea. Once a state prison and a fortress, now a National Park, it is a beautiful destination for its historic and natural value, together with white sand beaches and the opportunity to snorkel in the coral reefs. You can get to the island by using the public Ferry that departs at 8AM, requires passengers to check in at 7:00am and returns at 5:15pm. This is a one ferry per day organized by the official Dry Tortugas Park. A daytrip including meals, activities and ferry is $180 per adult.

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