Miami to Key Largo: Locals Tips on Making This Scenic Drive

Whether you live in Florida or are planning a trip to the state, the drive from Miami to Key Largo should be experienced at least once. With a wealth of fun adventures to be had and sights to see, this road trip is one you don’t want to miss.

As a Floridian who loves to travel, trust me when I say that it’s worth it! If you are a first-time traveler, though, having access to useful insider information can help you maximize your time and enjoy the journey to the fullest.

Welcome to Key Largo

I have created this guide to ensure that you have access to this information. From discussing the most suitable time to go to Key Largo to listing the best experiences to add to your itinerary, you will find all you need to make your next adventure memorable in this comprehensive guide!  Also, make sure to read the best times to visit the Florida Keys, so you can avoid bad weather and times of heavy travel.

Why Visit Key Largo?

Key Largo

Key Largo is the largest island in the Florida Keys, a group of more than 800 tropical islands off the coast of the southern part of the state. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and is an absolute must-see because it provides an alluring fusion of breathtaking scenery, outdoor activities, and friendly and laid-back vibes.

One of the reasons why I (and many others!) love to visit this island is because it boasts some of the most magnificent undersea experiences in the US. The island is home to the first underwater park in the United States, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, where tourists can dive or swim among spectacular reef systems abounding with diverse aquatic life.

Beyond its underwater attractions, Key Largo is every outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. There’s no shortage of things to do in the gorgeous tropical surroundings, from exploring picturesque trails in the adjacent Everglades National Park to going on a relaxing sunset cruise.

Key Largo is also a fantastic place to go if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and relax on the beach while listening to the sound of the waves.

Planning Your Trip

While spontaneous road trips definitely have their place, planning ahead can help you make the most of your journey and experience everything that Florida offers. In this section, I will provide a comprehensive guide on how and when to make the journey from Miami to Key Largo.

How to Get There

Before you decide which activities you want to do while traveling to Key Largo, you will first need to decide on a mode of transportation. The truth is that there are a number of options to choose from.


If you have a vehicle of your own or are prepared to rent a car, then driving is undoubtedly the best way to get to Key Largo. The journey takes about an hour and offers the freedom to make as many stops as you want.

Book a Bus Ticket

While traveling by car is the fastest way to reach Key Largo, cheap bus tickets are available if you would prefer to leave the driving to someone else and allow yourself the freedom to take in the scenery. You can get a direct bus ride from Miami International Airport, making it a convenient way to travel.

The trip will take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, promising a lot of fun, and a Greyhound bus ticket will cost you anywhere from $6 to $40. However, an air-conditioned bus ride will undoubtedly limit your freedom, which may not be the best option if you’re hoping to explore the area on the way to Key Largo.

Take a Taxi

Do you want the freedom to customize your trip as you see fit without having to drive yourself? Why not hail a taxi? Although it will likely take longer to get to your destination and cost more, you get the best of the first two options.

Use the Keys Shuttle

Another option is to use the Keys shuttle, which runs from the Fort Lauderdale and Miami International Airports to Key Largo every day. However, keep in mind that the trip will cost you $99, and this mode of transport has not received good reviews from travelers, so I definitely recommend checking out other options first.

Travel by Boat

Travel by Boat

If time is not an issue and you want to experience the Atlantic Ocean, why not go from Miami to Key Largo by boat?

The distance via boat is roughly 50 to 60 miles, depending on your exact route and starting point. You can expect to spend anywhere from one and a half to three hours on the sea.

Start your trip from a number of marinas and boat ramps in Miami, making sure that the place you select for your departure is both easily accessible to you and has the amenities you need to launch your boat.

How Far Will You Need to Travel?

The distance from Downtown Miami to Key Largo is approximately 60 miles, which means that it will take you just over an hour to get there by car. However, make sure that you factor in traffic delays, as this could affect how long it takes you to get to Key Largo.

Avoid traveling during peak hours to avoid traffic congestion. The worst times to be on the road are in the mornings, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and in the evenings, from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Additionally, the remainder of the journey is along what is known as “The Stretch.” It is the midway point between Miami and Florida City, a portion of Highway US1 that extends for approximately 18 miles.

This area is prone to congestion because it is primarily a one-lane road with a couple of passing zones. It’s usually pretty congested on late Friday afternoons, so I wouldn’t recommend traveling during this time.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Key Largo?

Although Florida is great all year round, keep in mind that each season brings its own benefits and drawbacks. Look at the guide below to decide which one would best meet your goals and preferences for your trip.


The mid-year months of the year (June to August) are incredibly hot in Florida. If you decide to go from Miami to Key Largo during this season, make sure that you are adequately prepared for the heat.

However, one of the benefits of exploring the Florida Keys during these months is that prices are generally lower, allowing you to experience all that the journey offers without having to spend too much.

Keep in mind, though, that summer is also when the island experiences hurricanes, so make sure that you are checking weather reports when planning your itinerary.


This is a fantastic time to leave Miami Beach and head to Key Largo, as hurricane season has just come to an end. The crowds tend to come in winter, so fall is a great opportunity to enjoy lower temperatures without the frustration of having to weave through large groups of people.


November to February sees the greatest influx of people to Key Largo. That’s because, unlike other parts of the country, Florida experiences mild winters.

The holiday season is another reason why many leave their homes to visit the Florida Keys, so if you want to experience warm beach weather at this time of year, this is a fantastic time to travel. However, expect to see crowds and pay more for accommodation and activities.


This is by far my favorite time of the year to travel from Miami to Key Largo. Temperatures are starting to increase, and most of the crowds have dispersed, making it the ideal season for an overnight or day trip. However, keep in mind that you might see Spring break holidaymakers during this season.

As I said before, there is no perfect time to visit Key Largo. Take your personal preferences into consideration when making your decision.

Your Guide to Key Largo

Once your trip has been booked and you know how and when you’re getting to your destination, you’ll need to decide which activities you want to do and places you want to visit. You’ll also need to finalize your accommodation.

In the section below, I’ll provide advice on how you can make the most of your journey.

Finding Accommodation in Key Largo

Before I get to the fun stuff, I want to help you ensure that the essentials are taken care of. If you plan to stay on the island, here are a few great places to consider:

Kona Kai Resort

Kona Kai Resort

Are you hoping to experience luxury at an affordable price while touring Key Largo? You can unwind at the Kona Kai Resort, located near the bayside. With stunning views, a gorgeous pool, and more, what more could you ask for?

Plus, it’s designed to cater to a smaller group of people, so with just 13 bungalows, it’s the perfect place to stay if you want to escape the crowds.

The Bungalows

If you’d prefer a larger resort, then you should consider The Bungalows. It has two pools and a myriad of perks, such as access to two beaches, yoga classes, two pools, snorkeling gear, and more. You’re sure to have a good time when you book your stay at this luxury spot!

Coconut Palm Inn

Looking for a hidden gem with all the perks? In that case, the Coconut Palm Inn is the ideal place to go. You can access private boat docks, book a snorkel tour, or enjoy kayaking nearby.

Things to Do in Key Largo

The good news is that Key Largo offers a lot of entertainment. Here are some of the activities I love doing when exploring the island:

Visit the Island’s Underwater Park

John Pennekamp State Park

John Pennekamp State Park is one of the most popular attractions that you have to experience at least once in your lifetime. Here, you can dive or snorkel to view breathtaking coral reefs firsthand. View marine life in their natural habitats and learn more about the ocean at this incredible underwater park.

The Christ of the Abyss Statue is one of John Pennekamp State Park’s most visited locations. This monument is in around 30 feet of water, making it an excellent place for a scuba dive or snorkel. Carry your water-friendly camera to snap unforgettable shots of this underwater wonder.

Don’t like the idea of having to travel down to the depths of the ocean? There are clear-bottom boat rides available for you!

Kayak Through the Mangrove Trails

Observe the ecosystem in the mangrove trails on kayak for a truly memorable experience. This is a fantastic activity to do if you’re hoping to relax and unwind while becoming one with nature.

Mangroves are vital features in tropical and subtropical regions. The thick web of roots and branches that define Key Largo’s mangrove forests serve as homes for a variety of crustaceans, marine life, and birds.

You can go on a self-guided excursion through the mangrove trails in Key Largo by renting a paddleboard or kayak. Alternatively, take a guided tour with knowledgeable nature enthusiasts who can offer insight into the ecology and help you identify noteworthy animals as you go.

Get Up Close and Personal with Dolphins

Personal with Dolphins

If you enjoy underwater adventures, then Key Largo has many opportunities for you to enjoy memorable experiences. There are a number of spots that allow you to swim with the dolphins. One organization that I highly recommend supporting is Dolphin Plus, as it is committed to serving the local community while protecting aquatic life at the same time.

Experience Local Cuisine

One of my favorite parts of traveling to different places is sampling the local cuisine. Key Largo certainly does not disappoint in this area! You can indulge in the island’s culinary scene, which comprises a wide range of seafood delicacies.

You’ll be spoiled for choice with the many eateries scattered along the coast. Taste locally caught fish, shellfish, and more.

Take a Sunset Cruise

Are you traveling with a partner? A romantic sunset cruise is the perfect way to take a load off and enjoy some quiet time. You can sit back, relax, and allow the soothing sounds of the ocean to wash away your stress and worry.

Try Fishing

Fishing is another popular activity on the island of Key Largo. Since it is accessible by car, you can pack your fishing gear and spend hours on the beach, taking in the sights and sounds while you fish. This is a great activity for those traveling in a group and can be just as engaging for those who are solo.

Relax on the Beach

Relax on the Beach

Key Largo is home to many beaches. When you want a break from the undersea adventures, grab a towel and some sunblock and head to one of the many luxurious spots! You can take a leisurely stroll along the sandy beaches, collect shells, or simply get some much-needed rest.

And just about 22 minutes south, if you want the best food in the keys, make sure to book a reservation at Ziggie & Mad Dogs!

Dive with the Sharks

Are dolphins too timid for your liking? Why not go shark diving instead? There are a number of places you can go to try this activity. I recommend the following:

  • Graceful Fishing Charters
  • Diversion Diving
  • Ocean First Key Largo
  • Blue Iguana Charters

Go Island Hopping

The truth is that Key Largo isn’t the only island that offers adventure. Once you have seen all there is to see, why not travel to other islands nearby? Each one has something unique to offer. Key West, for example, is known for its party vibe, so if you want to experience different cultures and settings, island hopping is a fantastic option.

Other Florida Keys Articles:

Final Thoughts

Key Largo is a wonderful island to visit. With spectacular natural wonders to explore, delectable dishes to try, and a friendly and laid-back culture to experience, you won’t regret making the trip from Miami. Knowledge is power, and armed with the information I have provided in this article, you are sure to have a memorable time touring the island.

Looking for travel tips to other parts of Florida? Browse this website for reliable, firsthand advice!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many days do I need in Key Largo?

While this will depend on your personal preferences and the places you want to visit, a three-day trip should be enough to enjoy the island. However, if there are specific experiences you want to have, then extending your stay can allow you to explore the place to the fullest.

2. Is bus travel from Miami to Key Largo good?

Absolutely! I have taken the bus before, and it’s honestly a great way to take in your surroundings as you travel. However, if you’re looking for the fastest way to get there, then you might want to rent a car instead.

3. Will a trip to Key Largo be worth it?

Yes! Key Largo is often described as one of the best islands in the Florida Keys. The laid-back vibe, multitude of activities, and delicious cuisine make it a must-see when touring Florida! If you’re worried about spending too much money, I recommend visiting the island in summer, where prices are lower. However, be prepared to handle the heat!

4. How long does a trip from Miami to Key Largo take?

This will depend on the mode of transportation that you choose. If you drive, you can expect to spend just over an hour on the road. However, when you travel by bus, it will take longer. The travel time for a road trip by bus is roughly one and a half hours.

5. Which is better – Key Largo or Key West?

Both islands have their pros and cons. When deciding which one to visit, keep in mind that each offers its own unique vibe and culture. If you’re looking for a party scene, then Key West might be the best option for you. However, if you want the signature Florida Keys experience, then Key Largo is the island to visit!

It’s also renowned for its natural attractions, which lure in scuba divers and fishermen from far and wide. Plus, you can experience the beauty of an underwater park off the coast of the island.

6. Can I travel to Key Largo by boat?

Absolutely! It may take a little longer, but this mode of transport offers a unique experience.

Rate this post


Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

Leave a Comment