Florida Road Trip: Best Day Trips from Key West

It’s always a nice time of year to take a road trip in the Florida Keys. To help our readers stay active and adventurous, we have a wide variety of recommendations for where to stop, and how to enjoy this gorgeous, southernmost section of the Sunshine State. Some of the best ways to enjoy the Keys include day trips from your home base here in Key West. Here are our favorites: 

Explore The Southern Keys

Those trying to take a shorter day trip from Key West have a lot to explore in the southern islands of the Florida Keys chain. Attracting fewer travelers than Key West and Key Largo, these stop-offs will give you and your fellow travelers a greater sense of being on your own and in touch with nature, a perfect escape for ideal for sun bathers, snorkelers, and hikers. 

Just above us, you can follow Highway One up to Big Pine Key for calm, white-sand beaches and hiking trails. The crystal-blue water surrounding Big Pine and these islands also makes for excellent snorkeling, and scuba diving. Also in this region, Marathon, Florida is a city set over thirteen islands with world-famous beaches and a brilliant barrier reef. 

Visit Marquesas Keys

The Marquesas Keys are a set of uninhabited, preserved islands approximately 20 miles west of Key West. Covered by mangrove forests, these islands are absolutely gorgeous and unforgettable. Taking a day trip here from Key West will not only be a true adventure, but it will also leave you with great memories of fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, or swimming around an otherworldly environment. 

Local adventure companies, including Dream Catcher Charters, run day trips to Marquesas through the Gulf waters. On the trips, you get to see local wildlife like waterfowl, dolphins, and various species of sea turtles. There are also shipwrecks, which travelers can view from the boat, or from the water with a snorkel and a mask. Different trips also offer beach stops, fishing, and lobstering experiences. 

Go Deep Sea Fishing

One of the more popular day trips travelers take from Key West is a deep-sea fishing charter. Surrounded by seemingly endless waves of Atlantic Ocean on all sides, Key West is within arm’s reach of a wide variety of beautiful, and regionally specific sealife. One of our favorite organizers of such outings is a company called Boo Ya Fishing Charters Key West, which you can call to organize a getaway. 

November through March, Boo Ya takes out groups and uses live bait to fish for Atlantic sailfish. Some of the catches you can enjoy on this trip include tuna, wahoo, cobia, and a variety of other species. The trips also run lines on the bottom of the ocean to catch Florida favorites like grouper, snapper, yellow tail, and barracuda. This is true, world-class fishing, and worth a go for any and all enthusiasts. 

Dive & Snorkel Northern Keys

Moving further up the keys from the southern stop-offs we mentioned before, there’s plenty of opportunity to do more diving and snorkeling around the northern keys. These destinations are stocked with vibrant coral reefs, botanical state parks, tropical forests, and some of the best key lime-pie distributors in the world. You can visit some of these islands on a single day trip from Key West, or on your way back up north to Miami. 

Among the northern Keys, Islamorada is one that you don’t want to miss. Surrounded by a bevy of beautiful coral reefs, it’s an excellent destination for certified scuba divers. You can also visit a diving museum, botanical state park, and a number of delicious seafood restaurants there. At the top, Key Largo is the most famous of the northern keys. It’s home to the famous John Pennekamp Coral Reef, classic restaurants like Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen, and some great bars, too. 

Live It Up in Miami

At the top of your road trip north from Key West, Miami—also known as the Capital of Latin America—awaits. There’s so much to explore in this beautiful city. Cuban and Caribbean restaurants are plentiful. Families can explore a wide variety of museums and public parks. There’s a world-famous nightlife scene for folks who are into that. Professional sports teams play throughout the year. South Beach beckons travelers with its iconic name and status. 

Miami is just under a four-hour drive from Key West, so it can work as single day trip, or as a final stop on your road trip up the Florida Keys after your stay with Parrot Key. 

Discover More of Key West

Planning a getaway to the Florida Keys? Explore our local recommendations on the Parrot Key blog.

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