We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Orlano to Key West Via Miami

Liverpool, United...
Level Contributor
203 posts
29 reviews
Save Topic
Orlano to Key West Via Miami

We are driving down to Key West for three days next month during our Orlando holiday. All of our hotels are booked etc, but we would like to have a look at the South beach area of Miami on the way down. We plan on leaving Orlando early for the drive down maybe 6 / 6.30am(we will be travelling on a Sunday) and are looking to get into Key west mid / late afternoon. I know we would not get to see much in Miami but just a quick stop of maybe an hour or so, to see if we would like to return on a future visit. Looking at maps / route plans it does not appear to add on too much time or mileage. Couple of questions - what would be our best routes in / out to see a bit from the car. Where would be the best place to stop for a look around. What would be the best route out to link up with US1. Thanks.

Level Contributor
1,017 posts
164 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Orlano to Key West Via Miami

Truly if you plan to go to South Beach and drive around you will most likely be adding quite a bit to your time. This will be Spring Break time and although traffic is always horrid in Miami it would really be horrible during this time. I would wait until a future visit if ou are planning on staying in Miami. It is a LONG drive from Orlando to Key West and although MapQuest advises it is about 7 hours I would not plan on this. Once you get to Florida City and head in to the Keys it is a 2 lane road that goes through many small towns. The traffic can be very slow and at times it has taken me a very long time if I am stuck behind someone hauling a boat, etc. It would make m ore sense this trip to take a scenic route through the Everglades and experience some of that culture or hit the Interstate and head to Key West.

Amelia Island...
Level Contributor
936 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Orlano to Key West Via Miami

I drive from Orlando to Key West about twice a year and the drive (FLA turnpike) takes me 7 hours. That is with one "pit stop" only. That puts you in Key West around 1:30 PM. Since you said you only have 3 days, I wouldn't waste any time with a detour into SoBe. You will spend most of Day 3 on the return drive giving you precious little time in the Conch Republic. As many on this forum will tell you, once you start back north, you will be kicking yourself for wasting ANY time driving around SoBe. Go to Google Maps and "walk around" SoBe if you must see it.

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
13,856 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Orlano to Key West Via Miami

Hi Smithford,

The drive from Orlando to Key West is indeed a long one. The day we drove into the Keys, we did something similar... we were in Titusville got up early and drove as far as Fort Lauderdale for lunch. We were in Ft L for lunch by 12:30, after leaving there at around 1:30 we headed off with all intentions of going to South Beach... but the traffic around Miami was ridiculous (and this was 1:30 PM on the Monday of Christmas Week)... we decided that South Beach could wait. So we headed off straight to the Keys. As the others have said the drive down is sloooow, Hwy 1 is just 45 MPH and with one-on-one traffic. As it was we got to Islamorada around 4:00 PM. And only moved onto Key West the next morning (arriving around lunchhour).

When we left The Keys we thought again about heading into Miami to see South Beach, but decided against it... The Keys and their relaxing atmosphere was just so perfect we couldn't imagine getting back into traffic, hussle & bussle and all the pretense... so we turned west and drove thru the Everglades and on with our Great Florida Adventure.

Do I miss the fact that we didn't get to South Beach? NO. And even though we extended our 2 Nights in Key West into 4... I wish that we had spent even more time there.

So, I vote for skipping out on South Beach as well. And spend all the time you can in Key West... and do take the Trolley Tour and make a point of getting off of Duval and into the neighbourhoods to see the "real" Key West and the opportunity to meet the locals who live there. It truly is Paradise!



Level Contributor
1,835 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Orlano to Key West Via Miami

With only 3 days in KW, I would also skip SoBe

Southampton, United...
Level Contributor
48 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Orlano to Key West Via Miami

We drove from Key West to Fort Lauderdale last time and decided it would be nice to detour through south beach....what a mistake! The traffic was a nightmare and added about 3-4 hours to our journey time and that was without getting out the car at south beach.

My advice would be to give it a miss and make the most of the time you have in Key West by getting there early.


Key Largo, Florida
Destination Expert
for Key Largo
Level Contributor
1,981 posts
201 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Orlano to Key West Via Miami

The problem is the traffic on the roadways over TO SoBe and BACK. If you take the 836 off the Turnpike (past MIA) straight over to SoBe, it will probably take you 45 minutes just to get there. The 836 is usually stop-and-go. If there is an accident, it is shut down & you sit. If you decide to get on US1 South in downtown Miami, it will take you 45 minutes to an hour LONGER to get just to Florida City (STILL on the mainland). US1 thru Miami is 4 lane but with HEAVY traffic and traffic lights every few blocks.

There is no "best route."

Level Contributor
48 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Orlano to Key West Via Miami

We are going back to Florida in the Autumn. This time we are flying into Miami and immediately driving down to Key West for 3 days. We will then have a night in South Beach before spending the rest of the break in central Florida. We are flying out of Orlando.

I love SoBe and the past 4 trips we have usually spent 2 nights there as my consolation for having to tolerate the theme parks (OK 'tolerate' is a bit harsh - but don't tell the family ....!). You need to get into SoBe mindset to make the most of it - I think that this eventually happened on the 4th trip, so visiting for a couple of hours will make it difficult to assess. I appreciate the advice already given about Spring Break traffic etc and if you decide to stop off in SoBe, you may need to factor this in. Leave early from Orlando, go down the turnpike, bear off onto the I95, then head into SoBe on the 195. Head for the 11th Street Diner. There is usually available street parking for a couple of hours (meters - about 2 dollars as I remember). It gets variable reviews, but its always been OK for us. Have something to eat here and then wander over to Ocean Drive and usually there is always something to look at at Lummus Park. Take a few photos of the art deco hotels and then just imagine spending 2 or 3 nights here the next time you stay.

Head back out on the 41 / Dolphin Expressway and get back onto the turnpike. Allow 2 hours for all this. If you are lucky and the traffic isn't hideous, you will have a flavour of SoBe to then plan your next trip. Good luck!

8. Re: Orlano to Key West Via Miami

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 18 October 2009, 10:17