If you, like us, are fed up with the cold dark winter nights and are longing for the sun and open roads, then a Florida road trip is definitely for you. From the glamour and six-packs of South Beach, Miami to the laid-back atmosphere and ubiquitous Hemminway beards of Key West, the overseas highway drive is a ‘must-d0‘.
The basic explanation of a fly-drive holiday is one in which you fly to your destination, pick up a car and drive to key points of interest in that state or region. Planning your route correctly means that eventually, you’ll end up at the airport you arrived at to drop off your hire car and make your way back home. You might have encountered a fly-drive holiday in the past, although they can often be referred to as a self-drive, road trip or multi-centre holiday.
Choosing Your Fly-Drive Package
A Complete Fly-Drive Package
There are plenty of companies out there that allow you to book a complete fly-drive package that will include your flights, car hire, and accommodation along your chosen route. Most companies will make it clear what is and is not included and then quote you for the package.
A Simple Fly-Drive Package
A simple fly-drive package usually includes just the flights and the car hire. This will require more planning of your route, and you’ll usually have to book accommodation yourself meaning that it’s a great option for those who want more freedom.
An Independent Fly-Drive Package
This type of holiday requires you to book your own flights, car hire and accommodation separately, either pre-booked or as you travel. This isn’t a choice that’s recommended if you’re a complete beginner to fly-drive holidays, but it does allow you to completely tailor your own holiday to suit you.
The Perfect Florida Fly-Drive Itinerary
By starting your holiday in Miami, you’ll be in the perfect position to kick start your driving adventure. Miami is a vibrant city that really does have something for everyone, from world-class beaches to breathtaking architecture and plenty of culture and nightlife to keep you entertained while you’re there. At Ocean Drive on Miami Beach, you can discover the Art Deco district and spend time soaking up the sun on the soft sand. Miami is also home to the famous South Beach where you can visit the hub of the Cuban community at Little Havana.
The Florida Keys
Driving from Miami to Key West is one of the most quintessential must-dos on any American road trip because it means that you can stop at some of the world’s best beaches and sites along the way. So, once you’ve explored all that Miami has to offer, hop back in your car and head to the Florida Keys. The Keys are made up of 100 tiny islands linked by 42 bridges and a 128 mile Overseas Highway that perches over the Caribbean blue waters. Once you’ve arrived at the Keys, you’ll realise why these blue waters are America’s number one destination for snorkelling enthusiasts. Driving to the Florida Keys from Miami can be done via the straight and speedy Route 1 or through Card Sound Road which will provide much more scenic views with the opportunity to see Key Largo Hammock State Botanical Site and the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Make Key Largo your first stop on your Florida Keys road trip. This is the largest of the islands in the Keys making it home to two state parks and a national marine sanctuary. Key Largo is both the gateway to the Keys and the gateway to the Everglades and is the self-proclaimed dive capital of the world. Head to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef Underwater State Park and enjoy a once in a lifetime experience. If diving isn’t your thing, you can spend your time here exploring the island’s subtropical environment, kayaking or admiring the marine life aboard a glass bottom boat at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Without a doubt, Islamorada is an island paradise. Consisting of six islands, your time here can be spent exploring both land and sea with exciting activities that make use of the waterfront location of the islands. Those who enjoy fishing will want to spend a day out at sea where you’ll have the opportunity to catch bonefish, snook, tarpon, and redfish.
It’ll be difficult to exhaust the opportunities that Islamorada has to offer, but once it’s time to move on, the 10-mile long island of Marathon is a good destination. Marathon is a family-orientated island making it a great spot if you’re travelling with children. You can enjoy the traditional Keys lifestyle in waterfront villas and hotels, restaurants and bars that serve up the area’s famous lobster and crab dishes. If meeting dolphins is something that’s on your bucket list, head to Marathon’s Dolphin Research Centre where you can spend some time learning about these amazing marine animals.
Big Pine Key
Cross the architectural wonder of the Seven Mile Bridge and rest your head at Big Pine Key, a place that’s known for its diverse wildlife and white, sandy beaches including the Bahia Honda State Park. Here, sea turtles and dolphins thrive in their natural habitat, making a picture-perfect backdrop to an unforgettable Florida Fly-Drive Holiday.
Soon you’ll arrive at America’s most southern city, Key West. This is the perfect destination to end your fly-drive holiday as it’s the ideal Caribbean paradise to spend your last few days lounging on the beaches with a drink in hand. You can take a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park to visit the 19th-century fort or charter a boat to sail around the waters that surround the Key.
Although a fly-drive holiday might not be for everyone, we believe that there is truly no better way to experience Florida. While we’ve provided with this guide to explore the Keys, a beauty of a fly-drive holiday is that can completely customise your own trip to suit you, whether you’re visiting alone, as a couple, with friends or with family.