Road Trip: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine, Key West and Beyond

    By Kara Franker

    Put the top down and get ready to blast an island-inspired playlist — it’s time for a Florida Keys road trip.

    You don’t need to pack much more than a swimsuit, flip-flops and a taste for adventure.

    In the Florida Keys and Key West, there’s a lot to love. Rich in history, arts and culture, the area is also perfect for outdoor types, with eco-tours, snorkeling, scuba diving, sport fishing and more.

    The 120-mile island chain is home to the continental United States’ only living-coral barrier reef, so it offers up unparalleled diving experiences.

    Here are some of the best spots to visit on your Florida Keys road trip.


    Road Trip to Key West - Diving in Key Largo

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    1. Key Largo

    In Key Largo, snorkel your way through schools of brightly colored fish at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and visit the Spiegel

    Grove, a sunken U.S. Navy ship that’s home to its own thriving underwater ecosystem.

    Driving the Florida Keys - Fishing Stop in Isla Morada

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    2. Islamorada

    Don’t miss Islamorada, the village of islands where backcountry sport fishing and saltwater fly-fishing were pioneered. Cast your reel on a charter vessel, or board an eco-tour boat and explore backcountry waters full of marine life like dolphins, manatees, and crocodiles.


    Driving the Florida Keys Through Marathon Key

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    3. Marathon

    Further south, in Marathon, history fans can see the Old Seven Mile Bridge, a section of Henry Flagler’s original Overseas Railroad—it’s also a prime spot for fishing or taking photos against a gorgeous backdrop.


    driving the Florida Keys

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    4. Big Pine Key

    In Big Pine Key, Bahia Honda State Park boasts an award-winning beach that’s perfect for swimming and sunbathing; if you’re up for an adventure, book a guide and go fishing for tarpon.


    Driving the Florida Keys - Key West

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    5. Key West

    Lively Key West, Florida’s southernmost island and legendary home of Ernest Hemingway, hosts film festivals as well as regular neighborhood gallery strolls for art and entertainment lovers.


    Dry Tortugas Roas Trip Stop

    A flight over the clear, emerald-hued waters of the Dry Tortugas provides spectacular views.

    - Peter Green, Key West Seaplane Adventures


    6. Dry Tortugas

    Ok, so you can't actually get here on a road. But a plane or boat ride will land you at this 100-square-mile national park island cluster known as the Dry Tortugas. It's a great outing, for snorkelers, birders and adventurers of all stripes.

    Insider Tip: Check out to help plan your trip to the Florida Keys and Key West. 

    All photos are courtesy of

    Places to Remember