The Florida Keys are a top destination for visitors of all ages and make a classic Florida road trip. The Florida Keys are known for long sand beaches, breathtaking sunsets, fresh seafood, and a vibrant culture. My trip to the Florida Keys was amazing. I had been to Florida before, but this trip was made incredible by our awesome hosts and travel buddies!
The Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a coral island archipelago near the southeastern tip of Florida. This 125 mile long chain of islands is connected by the Overseas Highway — a.k.a. U.S. Route 1. The drive to Key West is one of America’s most iconic road trips. The drive only takes about 3 hours, but it is one of those trips that you will want to take slow to enjoy all that the Keys has to offer. A popular road trip is the drive from Miami to Key West.
Florida Keys Quick Facts
- There are 42 bridges connecting the islands of the Florida Keys. The longest is Seven-mile Bridge, which is a famous Florida landmark and 35,716 feet long. The shortest is Harris Gap, which is only 37 feet long. When you drive the Overseas Highway, 15% of your travel time in the Keys is spent on bridges!
- Key West is the southernmost city in the continental US and is actually closer to Havana, Cuba than to Miami, Florida.
- The Florida Keys are home to a wide variety of plant and animal life. Mangroves, sea grasses, and coral reefs are abundant and more than 600 species of fish live in the reefs.
- Green mile markers along the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, descending in order from mile marker 113 at the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line to marker 0 in Key West, are often used as locators.
Day 1 – Key Lago to Islamorada
Once we landed in Fort Lauderdale, we headed straight for an awesome, authentic lunch at The Fish House in Key Lago. We got the vibe of The Keys from this place – laid back, casual, and nothing but a fun time! We finished up lunch and headed out to the gorgeous Hadley House in Islamorada where we stayed for first part of our trip. I can’t brag about this place enough – I literally did not want to leave?!
If you are looking for help planning your next trip, check out my travel resource guide.
The brand new beach-themed Hadley House is set right on the Overseas Highway, where it is only a 2 mile drive to The Theatre of the Sea and a 5 minute walk to the History of Diving Museum. There was SO MUCH TO DO around the resort! Which is all I ever really need! The hotel also has paddle boards and kayaks that you can use at anytime.
If hotels aren’t your jam, there are many great AirBNB’s in Key West that you could check out when planning your trip.
We finished out the day super low-key by going to Ciao Hound for some delicious Tuscan-Keys infused food along with some Rack Pack-era tunes.
A special thank you to Brendan Williams for joining me on this trip and taking photos.
Day 2 – Feeding Tarpon & Parasailing
Time to let the adventures begin! Our first stop of the day was at Robbie’s Marina where we had the chance to feed buckets of food to a very large, hungry tarpon. But then immediately after, we went to The Hungry Tarpon restaurant to feed our own selves with large quantities of food. The seafood in the Keys is sooooo good!
After our little tarpon bellies were full (how many times can I say “tarpon” in a single blog?!) we took to the skies and parasailed with Robbie’s Marina. I soared over the open water and saw miles of nothing short of beauty. Some sights were the Indian Key, Everglades National Park, and Alligator Lighthouse. If you saw my IG story while I was parasailing – yes, I was holding on for dear life to my phone!
Florida Keys Aquarium
So what is the opposite of flying high? Swimming low, of course! Our next stop was the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters where we went for an unforgettable snorkeling dive to the coral reef.
With a quick stop to grab some infamous Lobster Reubens from Keys Fisheries, I was really starting to feel like a local! This place has some of the freshest seafood in town because it is actually a huge fish export on the coast. They really are fresh off the boat!
All the Good Eats!
But our day is far from over – onto beer tasting! We had a wonderful tour and tasting at the Florida Keys Brewing Co. They’ve been opened since 2015 and have brought tasty local flavors into their beers ever since!
The day ended with an extravagant dinner at Chef Michael’s. With so many fresh and fancy seafood options like hogfish or lionfish, I know I’m never going to find better seafood. I had the tuna and it was so tasty. I basically ate fish and seafood all week and loved it ALL.
This whole trip has me planning more getaways in the south of the US. There are so many areas I would love to see on future trips.
Key West Trip Vlog
Check out my Key West trip vlog below or on YouTube for better quality.
Day 3 – Key West
The group stopped for a quick bite of the biggest and gooiest cinnamon roll I have ever seen from a local favorite, Bob’s Bunz, then we rolled out to Key West! Once we arrived at The Perry Hotel Key West, I had to remind myself we still had a day’s worth of things to do because those views made me have literal heart eyes!
While you are at the Perry Hotel you can rent these super cute aquamarine scooters! It is the perfect way to explore Key West.
I lived my 8 year old self’s dream by having the time of my adult life at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. These flowers of the sky lit up my world as I was able to witness them flutter around as I learned more about what these incredible people are doing to preserve the different species of butterflies.
Then came our Mallory Glow Tour where we literally rode around the water on our hydrobikes. HY-DRO-BIKES. It was equal parts the funniest but coolest thing I have ever experienced. All of us couldn’t stop laughing and had such a great time pedaling along the water.
We took a stroll down Shrimp Road (literally – that was the name!), we had a luxurious dinner prepared for us by Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen + Bar (at the Perry Hotel) where we enjoyed what they describe their menu as “American coastal comfort foods.”
Day 4 – Boat Tour & Helicopter Ride
Our breakfast to-go was provided by the lovely people of Fisherman’s Cafe Key West that gave us the tastiest breakfast they have lots of options and gluten free options as well, we’ve had on this trip!
Honest Eco Tours
The only reason why we couldn’t stop long to enjoy the ambience of the awesome little café was because we had to go to my favourite adventure of the entire trip – DOLPHIN WATCHING + SNORKELING! We joined a tour given by Honest Eco whose name comes from their eco-friendly dives and sea creature conservation. We were so excited for this Key West sustainable boat adventure with Honest Eco Tours.
On this snorkelling and diving boat tour, we had a chance to go kayaking through the uninhabited Mangrove Islands, snorkeling in the calm Key West National Wildlife Refuge, and the toured concludes with a scenic sunset from the boat. We had a blast and would love to do more kayaking in the Florida Keys next time we visit.
Air Adventure Key West
Our next adventure of the day was a doors off helicopter flight with Air Adventure Key West. The view was amazing and I highly recommend it if you get a chance.
To end a beautiful evening, we stopped to have a Mojito making lesson at the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery. Personally, I ADORE mojitos, so I was too down for this activity! Fact – we had a lot of fun here!
If you are looking for a dinner recommendation in Key West, check out Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s Bar for tasty coastal-inspired cuisine and surfer-inspired cocktails.
For those that want to experience the Key West night-life, I would suggest you head to Virgilio’s (Located behind La Trattoria) or Sloppy Joe’s, which was a regular hangout of Ernest Hemingway during the 1930s.
Day 5 – Good-bye Florida Keys
We had the BEST departure breakfast. The place is called Blue Heaven, because, well, it’s a little piece of heaven in a little blue building right by the bluest water you have ever seen! The site is actually pretty historic, too. Home of former Friday-night boxing matches that were refereed by Mr. Ernest Hemingway himself, you can feel that kind of energy the moment you step inside.
We flew out of the airport in Key West, which was a very easy way to end the trip to the Florida Keys. Overall, it was a beautiful trip that I loved SO MUCH. And I really am missing sandy and sunny beaches while I’m back home in the cold! But now I’m snuggled tight at home with Beau and honestly, there really is no place like home!
This post has been sponsored by The Florida Keys & Key West. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the destinations that support me.
Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.