Best for: Colourful Key West characters
Twinning Miami with Key West gives you a taste of two very different cities. An amazing key-hopping drive takes you down from Miami to the very tip of Florida.
The journey: 166 miles
Miami to Islamorada and Key West
Experience Miami’s nightlife before you head down to the Florida Keys. Miami’s clubs are expensive, glamorous, and attract the likes of Beyoncé. However, if their strict dress codes leave you cold, seek out a dive bar instead and order a Miami Vice (half strawberry daiquiri, half pina colada). Once you’ve recovered, head down to the Keys for a different kind of nightlife. The Florida Keys are a quirky string of islands joined by the Overseas Highway, culminating in Key West. On your journey down, swap driving time for diving time – the scuba here is renowned. Then, at night, be prepared to party.
In Key West there’s a permanent holiday atmosphere. Hemingway loved it here, and his house is now the residence of a colony of five-toed cats. The house tour is more of a who’s who of the feline world, but afterwards you can celebrate the great writer with Daiquiris. The street parties, including Fantasy Fest, are raucous affairs, and involve the whole town from tanned grannies to spring breakers.
Where to stay
Stay at Circa 39 in Miami: its colourful rooms and boutique charms will set the tone for your totally tropical journey south. Stop half way down the Keys at Islamorada to break up your journey and treat yourself to a smart suite in classy Casa Morada. In Key West, colourful Ocean Key Resort has big, breezy rooms filled with charming Floridian décor.