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  1. Default Orlando-Miami-Keywest

    Hi All,

    I am travelling from Orlando(FL) to Keywest(FL) via rental car. We are planning to leave on Saturday early hours(around 4 AM) and drive all the way to Keywest directly. We will be visiting the key attractions and some beautiful beaches and come back to Miami by 10 PM (Saturday only).

    Planned to Stay in a good hotel(Marriott or hilton) Miami on Saturday night and spend Sunday in Miami viewing key attractions. By 7 PM we will start our return to Orlando and thinking of reaching by 11-11:30 PM Sunday.

    As you would have understood it is very short trip hence please advise on the above plan and route options available and their pros and cons and this will be my first long drive in US. Also please suggests on good stop points on the way.

    Also please suggest if there are any issues in renting a car on non-USA driving license. I don't have an IDP but the enterprise rentals are giving the car on other coutries driving license. Are there any issues??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Honestly, I think your plan is pretty foolish. It's simply impossible to see anything in Key West on the pace you've set up. I don't think you appreciate that you're looking at a bare minimum of 12 hours of driving to get from Orlando to Key West and back to Miami, and it is very likely that you could see significant delays as you cross the bridges along the keys. To think you'll have time to see "beautiful beaches" or any other attractions on top of that is just not realistic.

    With the time you have, I really think you need to pick either Key West or Miami, otherwise you're setting yourself up for a situation where you aren't actually going to be able to see anything - you'll just drive yourself into a state of exhaustion.

    As long as your drivers license is in english, there should be no problems. If the license is in a different language, and you do not have the International Drivers License, it is quite possible that you will have problems at the rental counter. Technically, you'd be legal to drive, but they may have a problem letting you rent a car if they can not read it.

  3. Default

    Thanks for warm welcome!!

    We are actually 2 people who will be sharing the driving. We will be thinking over the plan again...

    Please advise on below 2 points as well-
    1.) If we go by visiting Miami only, then what route options we will have to travel...

    2.) If we visit Keywest only, then what will be the best place to stay..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default What you need to consider.

    Having two drivers does not help. It will not reduce the distance, nor the traffic hold ups. Besides you both need to be alert and aware of what is going on around you.

    If you leave at 4am, it is likely that you will see the worst possible traffic on the major roads. Even on a Saturday, once you get to the area of Palm Beach, the traffic can be very busy. Remember, it is the weekend, and many people like to go down the Keys for the weekend.

    Similarly along the Keys, the bridges can be very very busy. It only takes one accident to hold up the traffic. From friends who live on the Keys I have heard of delays of many hours. This is not to say that it will happen, but you have to be prepared for it, because once you are on the overseas part of the highway, there is no way to turn around and detour or go back. Some of the bridges are very long - one is seven miles long.

    Don't get me wrong, it is a lovely area, and I have driven it many times. But you need time; having a strict time limitation will not necessarily work.


  5. Default

    Thanks for the details....

    Ok i will try to work on either of Miami or Keywest..

    Please advise on below 2 points as well that will help me to reconsider my plan. I will need these information to travel

    1.) If we go by visiting Miami only, then what is the best route to take.

    2.) If I travel to Keywest directly, then what is the best route and what will be the best place to stay..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Realistically

    Key West is simply not an obtainable destination for a round trip from Orlando with only two days. As others have pointed out, it would take all of your available daylight hours to just drive there and back, leaving all of one evening to walk around in the dark in Key West. And that's only if everything goes right. Even a modest delay on any one of the over-ocean bridges would mean that all you'd have time for would be to check into your hotel, go to sleep, wake up the next morning and do it all over in reverse. So really, do yourself a favor and forget Option 2.

    Option 1 does leave time to visit some pristine beaches and natural areas on the way down to Miami. Though few and far between, they do exist in a few places such as Sebastian Inlet State Park, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. If you take the shore route (a mix of I-95 for speed and FL-A1A for beach access), then consider a more inland route for your return drive to Orlando. Say US-41 through the Everglades (and along the northern edge of the national park) and then FL-29/US-27 up through a little seen area of central Florida. Going only as far as Miami lets you use at least some of your time for something other than sitting in the car.


  7. Default

    I just love the Florida Keys and have visited them many times. Even so, I agree that you simply don't have enough time to make the trip. Save it for when you have the time to really enjoy it.

  8. Default

    Hi AZBuck, thanks for the route information.

    While travelling from Orlando to Miami if we take Florida turnpike what will be the total toll cost.
    Secondly If I am taking I-95 will that also have toll. Also this route will take more time right?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Tolls and Time

    Your toll on the Florida Turnpike would depend upon exactly where you get on in Orlando and where you get off in the Miami area, but a straight-through drive on the Turnpike between those two cities would cost you around $18 in cash. I-95 is free, but there is a $5 toll for the Beeline Expressway between Orlando and I-95. Since it is free, I-95 carries more traffic.

    Going directly from Orlando to Miami via the Turnpike could be done in about three and a half hours (plus any stops for fuel/food/breaks) while heading to the coast and using I-95 would add between 20-45 minutes to that. Any time spent on FL-A1A should be counted as 'extra' in addition to the times already stated as this road will be very slow going. It is the local beach road everywhere with lots of tourist traffic, stop lights, cross traffic, and very low speed limits.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I-95 is toll-free except for the express lanes in Miami-Dade County. Best compromise between speed, cost, and convenience is take the Turnpike to Exit 152 near Fort Pierce, cross over to I-95, use the local lanes in Miami. This cash toll will be approximately $9.00. You cannot use cash on any of the toll roads in Miami-Dade County, they are electronic toll only, which may cost you substantially in a rental car. You will have to check with the rental agency on their toll policies. If you want to use their electronic tolling option, they will probably give you a car with a Sunpass and hit you with a daily surcharge whether you use it or not.

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