4 Tips for a Better Florida Keys Vacation

The Florida Keys are one of a few truly tropical places in the United States that you can visit. Plus, because of how the islands are positioned, you can experience some amazing sunrises and sunsets overlooking the ocean. If you’re planning a vacation to the Keys, here are some things to keep in mind to make your getaway even better.

Choose the Right Time

tips for Florida keys vacation

Image via Flickr by GR167

The Keys are busiest from December holidays through May, which are the months outside of hurricane season. This is when you’ll find the most crowds and the highest costs. Though summer and fall months are more vulnerable to hurricanes, the months of September through November are the worst. If you’re looking to avoid crowds and don’t mind higher temperatures, consider a trip to the Keys in June or July.

If you’re determined to go during peak times, choose a hotel in Islamorada through HotelPlanner at least one month in advance to find the best deals. This is a fantastic central location for the Keys, allowing you to explore from Key Largo to Key West during your trip.

Rent a Car

Though there are shuttles to help you get from Miami to your hotel, a car is pretty much necessary for you to see everything that the Keys have to offer, from Bahia Honda State Park to the Southernmost Point and all the best beaches.

Fly Into Miami

Though there’s an airport in Key West, it’s small. This makes it hard to get a direct flight. More than likely, you’ll need to connect to the Key West Airport through Miami anyway, and the added distance and lack of flights increase the costs of the trip. Plus, if you’re planning to explore the Keys, you might want to stay closer to Miami than Key West anyway. Overall, flying to Miami is your safest bet. It will be easier to find tickets, and you can use the money that you save on your rental car.

Check out this awesome video guide to Miami from TheTravelingClatt.

You should realize, though, that driving from Miami to Key West takes a while. Though Google Maps shows a time of four hours, it’s really closer to five because of traffic, especially if you head to the area during peak tourist times. This is because of the many motorhomes, trucks with trailers, and so forth that clog up US Highway 1, which just has one lane in each direction.

Check for Big Ticket Events

The Keys host special events throughout the year that draw a crowd. Before you schedule your trip, see if there are any events around that time that may make it harder to find accommodations and will make getting to the Keys or leaving a hassle. One event, for example, is Key West’s Fantasy Fest in October. Take a look at this video.


Though it’s during the offseason, this weeklong festival draws in around 75,000 festival goers, swelling the numbers found in the area. Unless the festival interests you, it’s best to avoid Key West during this time.

Whether you lie in the sun under the shade of a palm tree, swim with dolphins, or go deep sea fishing, you’ll create some fantastic memories in the Florida Keys.