How do I get to Key West?

Thinking of finally getting down to Mile Marker 0 in Key West? Fantastic! Join the club. Really, it's a great club to be in. With countless visitors trying to find the best way to get to Key West each year, making the most of the journey is part of the fun.

how do i get to key west

..and who wouldn't want to go? Visiting the Florida Keys & Key West provides numerous beaches, ocean views, unique shops, bars, and restaurants to visit. The Florida Keys are nicknamed the "American Caribbean" for a good reason. No passport required for a great tropical experience.

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Flying into Key West 

Flying into Key West is the fastest and likely easiest way to get to the island. However, it is the most expensive option as well. But hey, you only live once, right? Travel to Key West by plane and you would arrive at Key West International Airport, serviced by many small and big airlines like Delta & American. You can easily book this trip on any online reservation company or your local travel agent.

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TIP: If you are not leaving Key West, consider not renting a car. The island is small and easy to get around. Parking can be at a premium and often difficult to find during peak seasons.

Taking the Key West Express Boat Ride

Stuck on the Gulf Coast of Florida and don't want to spend 6-10 hours driving down to Key West? No problem, take the Key West Express. The Key West Express leaves from Fort Myers Beach or Marco Island and heads directly to Key West in about 3-3.5 hours. 

The perk? You do not have to drive. The crew of the Key West Express really has made it a point to help you enjoy the experience. This is not about sitting down and waiting to arrive. You can get the party started onboard. They have a bar, restaurant, and several places to relax and stretch out. Stay inside with the air conditioning or stay outside and enjoy the sun deck.

The Key West Express is a great option to get to Key West if you want to start the party on the way there, safely.

Key West ExpressKey West Express

Driving to Key West

Thinking of driving to Key West? You are not alone as most visitors travel down Route 1 to get to the Key West over a direct flight or boat. If you are flying into Florida, land in Miami or Fort Lauderdale International Airport and grab a rental car. Yes, we suggest a convertible for a one of a kind top down 3-4 hour drive through the Keys.

Want to experience all of the Florida Keys? This is by far your best option and for this writer, it's his favorite way. Most of your destinations in the Florida Keys are found by mile markers on the road side. Toss aside that GPS on your phone, be a bit adventurous, and watch the mile markers (MM) fly by. Now, you can enjoy the scenery.

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Here are just a few popular spots to stop by on your way to Key West.

  • Bahia Honda State Park. One of the most popular state parks in Florida, Bahia Honda has dozens of activities available including a beach, visitor center, scuba diving, boating, fishing, and a popular camp ground.
    (MM 37) Learn more at
    bahia honda state park

  • Dolphin Research Center. Love dolphins? Who doesn't! The dolphin research center is home to many rescue dolphins that cannot be returned to the wild. A visit can provide education not only about the beautiful creatures, but how the Dolphin Research Center rescues and rehabilitates them. 
    (MM 59) Learn more at

  • Sparkys Landing. Located seaside at the Key Colony Beach Marina, it is a close walk to Key Colony Beach. Known for not being like "every other" tropical bar, their variety of fish and cocktails make it a popular stopping point  for locals and travelers. Founded back in 2006, this fairly new hot spot is a great half way location between Key Largo and Key West
    (MM 53.5) Learn more at

  • Baby's Coffee. Need a pick me up after spending some time in Key West? I have stopped at Baby's many times after a visit to Key West for my caffeine fix. Their ices latte's are some of the best I have ever had and home baked goods are a real treat for the drive back up to the mainland.
    (MM 15) Learn more at
    babys coffee key west

  • Chiki Tiki Bar and Grille at Burdines Waterfront. For an original Key Beach Bar experience on the water, visit Burdines Waterfront. More than just a beach bar and grill, Burdines will even clean your fresh catch, cook it, and serve it to you for dinner. Popular with the locals, this icon cooks up tasty common food at a great price.
    (MM 48) Learn more at



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Comments 4
  • Judy

    Great article, very informative, appreciate it.

  • Liz

    I agree, Card Sound is definitely the gateway to the keys. Alabama Jacks is the vibe. Short diversion from the constant concrete of the Overseas.

  • Steve

    The one and only time I went we flew into Ft. Lauderdale for about a third of the price of landing in Miami and drove. The drive is longer than you would think based on the distance but really beautiful. And there are plenty of diversions between the mainland and KW.

  • Chris Durkee
    Chris Durkee

    Part of our tradition driving down to Key West is to take Cardsound Road north of Key Largo and have lunch at Alabama Jack’s. They have the best conch fritters of any that I’ve tried in the Keys, and have live music on the weekends, too.

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