Getting to the continental United States' southernmost island is a journey onto itself. Located about 160 miles south of Miami at the very end (or beginning) of US Highway 1, Key West Florida is an island city that, despite its small size (4 miles long by 1.5 miles wide), packs a fascinating array of historical buildings, culture, and excitement for visitors of all ages. There are three main ways that visitors make it to Key West: down the Overseas Highway (US Highway 1) in a car, via the Key West Express ferry departing daily from Ft Myers Beach Florida, and by flying into the Key West International Airport.
Driving Down the Overseas Highway
The drive down to Key West is one of the most unique and beautiful drives in the country. From Miami Florida, the drive takes an average of three and a half hours. It is basically a straight shot down US-1 which, in the Florida Keys, is called the Overseas Highway since you go over a series of bridges as you drive through the Florida Keys such as Islamorada and Big Pine Key. Seeing the ocean on either side of you as you race down the highway is an ideal way to start any Key West vacation. Part of the highway also showcases the old railroad bridge, which starts the beginning of the Key West Florida historic journey that culminates in a stay at one of the historic Key West hotels in the Downtown/Old Town area of Key West.
The Key West Express Ferry
The Key West Express ferry departs daily from Fort Myers Beach Florida. It has become one of the most popular ways for Florida locals to make it down to Key West Florida. The trip lasts about 3 and half hours and saves visitors the driving, instead replacing it with a luxurious and comfortable ride on a luxury million-dollar powered catamaran. The ferry has three decks, a bar, a galley, flat-screen TVs, and a variety of seating including benches, high tables, and standard passenger seating. Heading to Key West on the Key West Express ferry gives visitors the unforgettable opportunity of traveling through the Gulf of Mexico on a large boat.
Flying Into Key West or Nearby Cities
Most Key West visitors who are not from Florida take the flight option to get down to the island. Key West Florida has its own international airport located in the New Town area of the island where many larger and chain Key West hotels can be found. Several airlines run direct flights from cities like Atlanta, Orlando, and Charlotte. Budget airline AirTran just started running direct flights from both Atlanta and Orlando, providing potential Key West visitors with a cheaper way to fly directly into Key West. Another flight option that has become popular with travelers if flying into the Miami or Ft Lauderdale airports and renting a car to go on the gorgeous Overseas Highway drive down to Key West. Before you know it, you will be settling into one of the cozy and historic Key West hotels in downtown and starting a vacation that is truly like no other.