The major U.S. airlines continue to offer convenient flights to the Florida Keys. However, our islands are the only tropical getaway reachable by car from the U.S. mainland.
The 120-mile island chain can be reached by U.S. 1 south of Miami. Each Key is linked to the next by the scenic Overseas Highway, which was first built atop the remains of tycoon Henry Flagler's Overseas Railroad. In 2012, the Florida Keys will celebrate 100 years since Flagler's arrival into Key West.
The US Highway 1, or Florida Keys Overseas Highway, from north of Key Largo to Key West, has been designated an All-American Road. The Keys highway is the only All-American Road in Florida. It's the highest recognition possible under the National Scenic Byways program established by the U.S. Congress in 1991. Only 30 other roadways in the nation have earned the prestigious title.
Driving Directions to the Florida Keys ...
From Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood
From Miami International Airport, take LeJeune Road south to 836 West. Take the Florida Turnpike south toward Key West. The Turnpike ends at US 1 in Florida City. Follow U.S. 1 south about 22 miles to Key Largo and you are now in the Florida Keys.
International Airport, exit the airport and follow the signs for 595 West. Take 595 to the Florida Turnpike and follow the signs for the Florida Keys.
From the north, take the Florida Turnpike south to just below Ft. Lauderdale, where Exit 4 joins the southern portion of the Turnpike. The Turnpike ends at US 1 in Florida City. Follow U.S. 1 south into the Florida Keys.
From Florida's west coast, take 1-75 Alligator Alley east to the Miami exit, and south to the Turnpike Extension.
A Note on Mile Markers. Once you're in the Keys, U.S. 1 becomes the Overseas Highway, which is like Main Street. The best way to get around is to know the mile marker of your destination. Look for the little green mile-marker signs on the right side of the highway (in either direction). They begin just south of Florida City with number 127 and run all the way down to zero in Key West. Think of them like addresses. If you know the mile marker, getting there is easy.