Travel Advice

The Complete Guide To Fly-Drive Florida : What To Do And See

Fly Drive Florida

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

Loading the Car - Fly Drive Florida

Loading the car in Miami

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

Biscayne Bay Miami

Looking at the big houses on Biscayne Bay in Miami

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.

Key Largo
Key Largo Florida

A Key Largo pelican taking it easy

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.

Marathon Florida Keys

Marathon in the Florida Keys

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.

Key West
Key West

Relaxing in the Key West sun

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.

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  • Agness of a Tuk Tuk
    January 13, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Wow! A fly-drive package seems so practical and useful, Marcus and Mellissa. As soon as I decide to explore Florida, I will definitely use your post as the ultimate guide. 😉

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 14, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Thanks, it’s a great place and not just all theme parks and retired people.

  • Anu
    January 14, 2018 at 3:49 am

    The first place that I ever saw in the USA was Florida, I wish I knew about these Fly and Drive Options. The connected islands and 42 bridges sound interesting. Marine sanctuary looks like where I would end up spending time.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 14, 2018 at 9:59 am

      We loved the drive down to the keys, really beautiful but as it is a single lane road, avoid the public holidays.

  • Medha Verma
    January 14, 2018 at 8:05 am

    I’ve never heard of a fly-drive package but it sounds like an interesting idea, though if I am self-driving, I’d also prefer to book my own accommodation along the way 🙂 Florida Keys is amazing, we were there 3 years ago and drive from Miami and the drive was absolutely breathtaking!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 14, 2018 at 10:02 am

      There a few options and the best one sometimes depends on the time of year. Accommodation in Key West and some the Keys can be harder to find in the peak season so it is better to book in advance.

  • Bella WW
    January 14, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Miami and Key West are two of my all-time favorite destinations and I wouldn’t mind at all living there, besides visiting. I like your idea of an itinerary and I would definitely try it someday.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 15, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      Agree, we could easily live in Key West.

  • Nisha
    January 15, 2018 at 4:57 am

    What a nice term… fly-drive! It is so apt and explains what we have done many times before , the independent type.
    We have yet to explore Florida and I can see a wealth of info here . Bookmarking it 🙂 Thanks.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 15, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      Yes, there’s more to Florida than theme parks and alligators. We are lucky to be going back very soon.

  • Rosie
    January 15, 2018 at 9:59 am

    This fly-drive down through the keys is something I have been trying to convince my husband to do for a few years now. I think I’ll show him your post as it really highlights just how much there is to do. I’d love to stop at the dolphin research centre and take in some snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea around Key West!!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 15, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      We loved the atmosphere of the Keys, it feels very relaxed and quite different from other parts of Florida.

  • Sabine
    January 15, 2018 at 11:59 am

    A fly and drive would be a perfect way to visit Florida. Many years ago I visited Florida and only made it to Key Largo, missing out on all the other Key island. Now I read that there is a marine sanctuary, unfortunately I did not know that when I visited. I’d love to go back and go there. And then include driving all the way to the last island, Key West to enjoy that Carribean feeling.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 15, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      We loved the drive along the Keys, there were some great spots but we did love Key West. Just avoid the main holiday season on that single lane road.

  • Explore With Ed
    January 15, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    Ooo saving this – I holiday in Florida but haven’t really ventured far out of Orlando area – I’d like to visit Miami and the Keys someday though.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 16, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      We loved the Keys, you must try and get there someday. We are going north next time, Orlando up to Georgia.

  • Ghia Lorenzo
    January 16, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    What a beautiful place to stay at! I would really add this on my bucket list. I really love the photos. Marathon looks so relaxing and a very nice place to stay with the family. Thanks for sharing this post!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 16, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      The keys are very relaxing, very laid back and a different feel to Miami and the rest of Florida

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    January 17, 2018 at 12:53 am

    Love the concept of Fly Drive trips. We love road trips because they are so immersive in nature and provide an opportunity to get close to the places that you are passing through without the restrictions of time. Driving through Florida is surely a magical experience. I really loved the Key West region and the gorgeous beaches that they have.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 18, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Yes, the Florida Keys are our favourite too. We are hoping to go back later this year.

  • Meg Jerrard
    January 17, 2018 at 1:43 am

    I lived in Florida with my Florida native husband for a couple years and can say it is extremely easy to do a self drive tour. Driving to the Keys is a must and take the ferry to Dry Tortugas if you have time. A state with so much to see that having your own car is a must.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 18, 2018 at 1:52 pm

      Yes, we found there is so much to see and do and you definitely need a car. we are going back later this year, this time we are heading north to St Augustine.

  • Indrani
    January 17, 2018 at 6:15 am

    Fly and drive sounds like a perfect way to visit Florida. Florida I have heard is one of the most beautiful destinations of US of A. I would definitely want to visit it one day and then I would like to do the independent fly and drive package.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      January 18, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      It is beautiful and there is so much to see. Although, it can be very humid and stormy in the summer months. We are looking forward to going back.