Situated right on the western tip of the Florida keys, Key West is literally situated at the end of the road, as far as driving within the United States is concerned. This might make it a natural consideration for being the start or end of some phenomenal road trip, but in reality, the chances are that if you do want to do a driving tour around Florida, you will pick up a rental car in either Miami or Orlando.
So any visitor who is actually flying into Key West itself, or the “Republic of Key West” as some locals prefer it to be known, will no doubt find that there is simply no need at all to have your own rental car for driving around the town, since land here is in such finite supply that everything tends to be pretty close to everything else!
So what about the rest of the Florida Keys, and the amazing driving roads that this part of the world offers, including so many causeways and bridges? Well there is no question that this is all amazing driving territory, but a lot of this can also be visited using scheduled or tour bus services. A rental car might still make a lot of sense for visiting the Florida keys, but why start your journey in Key West, when there is a much wider choice of inbound flights and also a far greater range of rental car options at Miami International airport?
If you only intend to see the Florida keys in one direction, then be prepared to pay more for one way car rental fees, although with this being tourist oriented Florida, this isn’t always the case.
- Makes sense as a one way rental back to mainland Florida.
- Start a mammoth road trip here – but be prepared for hefty fees!
- It’s always more flexible to appreciate the Florida Keys at your pace, and to be able to make stops, especially at Seven Mile Bridge.
- No need for a car in Key West itself – it’s compact and walkable.
- Limited range of flights to Key West.
- Generally it makes more sense to fly in to Miami and rent a car there – see our Miami car hire advice.
- Usually much cheaper to visit Florida Keys in a tour bus, whether one way or return.
Should you rent a car in Key West? Verdict – no