Getting to the Southernmost point of the United States was one of the goals we had when we set out on our honeymoon in February. The best part of this journey was that we were going from Miami to Key West on a motorcycle. The overseas highway isn’t like anything either of us has experienced. It’s a long ride, an incredible experience and to be honest, one I’m not sure either of us would do again. I’m not meaning to burst your bubble if you are planning on going from Miami to Key West on a motorcycle. I think everyone should do it once. There’s nothing like the wind in your face, the sun beating down, the ocean on both sides of you and the roar of the motorcycle in your ears! I decided to create this guide for motorcyclists going to Key West the first time so they are prepared as much as possible.
Things to See Traveling from Miami to Key West on a Motorcycle
There are a lot of keys that make up the Florida Keys and to get to Key West you go through a lot of them. As we always say, it’s not always about the destination. The journey is as much a part of getting there. You could easily spend a couple weeks getting to Key West if you stopped at all the keys between Miami and Key West. Below is some helpful information for some noteworthy spots you can try to fit in on the way.
Things to Do on the Way to Key West
Key Largo is the first Key you come to on your journey to Key West. And because of this it’s crowded! There’s a lot to do there so if you don’t have time to go all the way from Miami to Key West on a Motorcycle, this is a great place to stop. Key Largo is known for its great diving spots and the Everglades with its fabulous trails and alligators.
Tavernier is a great place to stop for some waterskiing or paddle boarding. Or if you’d rather stay on land, the Wild Bird Rehab Center offers a chance to see some breathtaking avian species.
Plantation Key is just 20 miles south of Key Largo. It’s so small you’ll be able to ditch the motorcycle and walk from one activity to the next. Check out McKee castle to see a variety of treasures found in the sunken vessels off the coast. Tropical gardens and relaxing spas are among the other attractions on Plantation Key.
Part of Islamorada, Windley Key offers an amazing fossil reef. There are also shipwrecks to explore and relaxing hammocks in the mangroves. Enjoy the sea life by feeding the tarpon at Robbie’s or watching dolphins at Theater of the Sea.
Upper Matecumbe Key
Take a break from the sun and the wind at the Stacie Krupa Studio of Art. There are modern art and paintings to enjoy. If you rather skip the art gallery, try the History of Diving Museum where you can learn about snorkel’s and scuba’s roots in air conditioned comfort.
Tea Table Key
This tiny key is manmade, unlike the other Florida Keys. This is a great spot for deep water swimming, snorkeling and novice diving. There are great spots for picnicking with a spectacular view of the Gulf. Consider stopping here for lunch.
Lower Matecumbe Key
Visit Anne’s Beach Park and stretch your legs meandering the boardwalk. This half-mile takes you through a natural wetland with strategically placed picnic tables along the way. This is also the only public beach until your reach Marathon, so it tends to be crowded on weekends.
The middle keys start here.
Long Key tends to be less crowded since it’s not a tourist hot spot. If you’re looking to stretch your legs, the Layton Nature Trail is about .25 mile that takes you through a tropical hardwood forest and a rocky shoreline overlooking shallow grassy flats. The walk takes about 20 minutes.
Primarily a tiny fishing village with residents who’ve been fishing for generations.
Little Conch Key
Also known as Walker’s Island.
Remember the movie Flipper? The film’s creator opened the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key. Greet the dolphins, take in some educational programs and paint a t-shirt with a dolphin at this amazing place that’s home to both dolphins and sea lions.
Stop here to enter Curry Hammond State Park.
Key Colony Beach
Just 50 miles north of Key West, there are numerous carefully planned walking areas as well as a 9-hole golf course. Plan to be there at 4 pm to catch the fish feeding at Captain Hooks.
The Sunset Grill is a hidden gem of a place. If you didn’t find it on Yelp or have someone tell you about it, you’d miss it. Put this on your To-Do List and put it in your GPS RIGHT NOW!
From the Sunset Grill, you have a gorgeous view of the Seven Mile Bridge and can even walk on to it. Use caution on the bridge though since there are no sidewalks and it’s pretty windy. Once you cross over the seven-mile bridge you are entering into the Lower Keys.
This Key’s claim to fame is the filming of the 1989 James Bond flick “License to Kill” and “True Lies” in 1992. Arnold may not be back, but you can enjoy some sun here.
Little Duck Key
As the name implies, this Key is small. It’s home to a small picnic area and boat ramps.
This is a great place to camp, especially if you’re meeting friends with an RV.
Bahia Honda Key
Bahia Honda has everything the Keys have to offer all in one place: beaches, breathtaking sunsets, snorkeling, diving and nature trails. There’s not ever enough time to explore the 500 gorgeous acres.
Big Pine Key
Get in touch with nature! Take a tour through National Key Deer Refuge. The deer truly are everywhere here, so you’ll want to take care, especially if you’re coming through here at night. Make sure to get a good look at the Florida Overseas Railroad!
Little Torch Key
Treat yourself to a massage after some hard miles at SpaTerre. Your back and neck will thank you!
Diving and fishing charters are big here.
If you’ve had enough of water sports and nature trails, check out Boondocks Miniature Golf. It’s a great opportunity to get off the bike without getting too touristy. AND if you are looking for a place with awesome breakfast, friendly servers and killer mimosas, stop in to Galley Grill! Yum!
Rent a non-motorized bike here to explore paths and trails not accessible otherwise. Or, charter a boat and go deep sea fishing.
Kayak or canoe for some water fun. Then stick around to catch the sunset over American Shoal Lighthouse. It’s a great photo opp!
Boca Chica Key
In addition to the ever-present diving and fishing, Boca Chica Key is home to a disco golf course and a happening night life, including a disco and casino! Spend a night or two here before finishing your journey to Key West if you’re looking to party.
Key West. Where do I even start to tell you what there is to do in Key West? We loved it! And lost track of time as we wandered around town. You can read our complete blog post just about Key West for further information. It’s a crazy time!
Things to Consider When Going From Miami to Key West on a Motorcycle
While it doesn’t rain often in Key West, when it does, it’s insane! We raced a storm the entire way there and luckily dodged it until the next morning! Make sure you bring rain gear and keep your clothes in a waterproof compartment. Don’t trust those saddle bags. We woke up to rain and puddles in our rented motorcycle. There are very few places to stop and none while you are crossing the bridges. Consider this as you set out.
Wind most of the time isn’t a big deal in a car but on a motorcycle, it’s a completely different story! And it gusts a lot going across the bridges. Be sure you are ready for it and your passenger is too. It’s going to take a lot of experience to keep your bike straight.
Arrival and departure
Who on 2 wheels likes stop and go traffic? Key West has a pretty big population and they have a rush hour… and so does the Overseas Highway. Especially if something unexpected happens. Which brings me to my next point:
Miami to Key West on a motorcycle is a straight shot on the Overseas Highway. No worries of getting lost BUT if something backs up traffic like an accident, you could be sitting forever. On our way there we saw traffic backed up ahead of us due to an accident. TIP: keep that GPS on! I noticed, running parallel to the main road the “Old Overseas Highway” and we were able to shoot over and bypass all the traffic. It’s not an option everywhere but it’s still good to be aware of.
There you have it. Our two cents worth about going from Miami to Key West on a motorcycle. It’s definitely worth the experience and we wish you the best time! Let us know what you thought of it! We’d love to see your pictures and hear your tales! Keep those memories alive!