Driving Roads in Florida Keys

Roads lined with palm trees, the blazing sun, a unique blend of cultures, and the ocean never far from reach. Driving around Florida Keys and Miami is a pleasure. The Sunshine State is one of the country’s most popular road trip journeys, and with immense natural beauty, tropical climate, beach towns dotted with pastel coloured houses, and the famous cypress forests, it’s not hard to see why. There are so many beautiful roads that are a joy to drive through, but we’ve narrowed it down to five of the best driving roads in the region.

We’ve given estimated driving times here, but given all the local attractions and natural beauty of the area, you’re probably going to want to stay longer.

Buckle up, windows down, off we go…

Tamiami Trail Scenic Highway

Distance: 270 miles Driving time: 6 hours

The 270-mile voyage takes you back in time to the Florida before hotel chains and theme parks. Starting from Downton Miami, drivers make their way through Little Havana - the perfect place to pick up cuban pastries and snacks before hitting the open road. Continue on for around 18 miles and you’ll enter a tropical landscape unlike anything else in North America. The highway brings you to the Big Cypress National Preserve, where you can see the wild side of Florida. Spot exotic flowers, like the cigar orchid, and keep your eyes peeled for endangered Floridian panthers. As you venture into the mysterious National Park, you can cycle, kayak, and canoe through natural landscapes and environments like no other.

A short detour will lead you further south into the Everglades, where the deeper you go the more primitive it becomes. If you want to spot crocodiles and alligators in their natural habitat, this is the route to take. Head to the Loop Road for an adventure, with its precarious conditions and abundance of wildlife. Be prepared for gravel roads - cars are encouraged to go at a slow and steady pace. Along this swamp road, you’ll feel transported to a different world. Just remember to stay in the car!

Florida Scenic Highway A1A

Distance: 338 miles Driving time: 7 hours 30 minutes

For many, the A1A is any other highway. A means of getting from A to B. Locals have probably jumped on the highway to get to where they need to go, without stopping to realise how scenic the drive is. The road hugs the coastline of Florida the whole way down, so drivers get to enjoy the sunshine dancing on the glistening Atlantic ocean for 338 miles. A section of A1A is actually a notable National Scenic Byway - a road that’s considered particularly historical, cultural, natural, and scenic.

The route starts from the Georgia border and travels all the way down to Key West, travelling past tiny, quaint beach towns. Stop off at rustic, undeveloped beaches, such as Melbourne Beach, or opt for a more luxurious option and rent a bed at Jupiter Beach. Delray Beach is particularly lovely, though, for its weekly Saturday farmers markets, selling everything from fresh juice to seashell necklaces. Then, you can relax on the wide open sand, swim in the untouched sea, before renting a bike to explore the area’s trails. With so many beachside towns, there are plenty of places to rest for the night. As you continue on the AIA, you’ll eventually travel through the unique coral islands of the Florida Keys, renowned worldwide for its incredible scuba diving.

Old Cutler Road, South Miami

Distance: 15 miles Driving time: 30 minutes

Miami has gorgeous, wide roads, but the traffic can distract you. Hop in your car, speed away from the noise, and head to the historical Old Cutler Road to appreciate Miami’s beauty in a way you wouldn’t expect. Where you’d imagine the roads to be lined with palm trees, you’ll find low hanging banyan trees. It’s much shorter than most of the other drives on this list, but this could be the perfect little respite that you need from a day in the city.

Florida Keys Overseas Highway

Distance: 113 miles Driving time: 3 hours 30 minutes

One of the most notably beautiful drives in the United States, or even the world, is the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. The drive from Key Largo to Key West crosses 42 bridges, including the iconic Seven Mile Bridge.

There is so much to do on this drive that taking an overnight pitstop is highly recommended to really make the most of it. And after a couple of drinks at the famous Caribbean Club in Key Largo, you might have to! Of course, when in Florida Keys it’s obligatory to tuck into some Key Lime Pie. You’ll notice several restaurants claiming to have ‘the best Key Lime Pie’, so you’ll probably have to sample a few to reach a fair verdict.

Take time to explore the South Florida quirky shops, boutiques, eateries, bars, natural areas, and beaches. It’s an ethereal experience to zip down a highway while driving over tropical, turquoise waters and coral. Once you reach Key West, take time to enjoy the subtropical paradise and the Spanish Colonial Architecture that lines the roads.

Ocean Drive

Distance: 1.5 miles Driving time: 5 minutes

Most of these scenic drives feature beautiful, natural scenery, and quaint beachside towns. Sometimes, jaw-dropping scenery is a gorgeous cityscape. At just 1.5 miles, this place is certainly special to be considered one of Florida Keys’ and Miami’s best drives. And although it technically takes 5 minutes, we’re sure that you’ll want to spend a lot longer to admire Ocean Drive’s stunning architecture and sites.

Cruising through city roads and people watching is one of life’s greatest pleasures, even better when you’re right next to the ocean. By day, you’ll crawl down Ocean Drive, admiring the road’s world famous Art Deco architecture and pastel coloured hotels and bars. The pops of colour and curved buildings will have you feeling like you’re driving through a Wes Anderson set, the ideal backdrop for internal music video scenarios. By night, the neon lights come alive and it becomes a different place. The hustle and bustle will make it a challenge to drive down, so why not hop around the bars of Miami’s legendary strip yourself?

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