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First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

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Rockaway Beach, NY
posts: 216
reviews: 39
First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

Hi folks. Been to KW many times, but have always flown in. We're actually flying in to Lauderdale, staying there for 2 days, then driving to KW (one way only) and staying for a week. Leaving Lauderdale about 7 or 8 AM on Saturday, April 20th and wondering what sort of traffic to expect. I know the Conch Republic Festival is also going on, and thinking we may want to leave even earlier. I don't mind a 4 hour drive or so (the whole" you have to do it at least once" idea) but any longer than that, I may just abandon the car and jog the rest of the way

I know its impossible to say with any certainty, guess just really wondering what its like normally, and what its like when the Festival is going.Any thoughts? Thanks,

Sudbury...
posts: 574
reviews: 57
1. Re: First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

We did it in four hours, but anything can tie up this drive. On our trip there was a broken down truck that was being pulled across the other side going north. That side was backed up four miles. Then at 7 mile bridge they were fixing part of the road so the tie up was 25 minutes. It can happen since there is no other way.

Tampa, Florida
posts: 6,247
2. Re: First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

And then there is the cashless tolls thing on the Turnpike. Are you aware of this? If not, read www.sunpass.com/rentalcar

In the Country, NY
Destination Expert
for Surf City
posts: 2,796
reviews: 60
3. Re: First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

Four hours is plenty of time, you should be fine. The earlier the better in our experience, try not to be into big of a hurry, it's a beautiful ride.

Again, there's no way to predict traffic, so just sit back and enjoy!

Key West, Florida
posts: 3
reviews: 4
4. Re: First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

The Conch Repub. Fest has many venues in Key West only. Nothing to effect your trip on the way down. Stop for lunch in Marthon or Big Pine and save a few bucks

Rockaway Beach, NY
posts: 216
reviews: 39
5. Re: First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

Thanks everyone, much obliged.

@AhHah - Thanks, I've heard of it but have not read up on it yet. I'll check out the link.

@ John K - I know the festival is all in KW and its more of a locals thing, I go every year at the same time. Just wondering if it drew many from the nearby Keys also, those who may drive down. 5 hours including a bite to eat would be great. Figure there should be no rush hour either at 7 or 8 on a Saturday morning. Was looking at lunch in Marathon or Islamorada, but Big Pine a definite option, something on the water if possible. Any suggestions?

Key Colony Beach...
Destination Expert
for Florida Keys
posts: 7,013
reviews: 14
6. Re: First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

1) Directions: get on I 595W right out of the airport. at exit 10 A/B it gets confusing, at least for me. There are 2 exits. One is I 95 North to Palm Beach, one is I 95 south to Miami. STAY IN THE FAR LEFT LANE. The far left lane remains 595 W. I got me a few times. Then 2 miles later, at exit 8, you need to be in the far right lane as it is the exit to the turnpike.

2) Lunch. My favorite place to eat is Sparky's Landing. Take a left at the 3rd stoplight you come to after you leave islamorada. The 1st light is at Hawks Cay, the second is Coco Plum Drive, and the third is Sadowski Causeway. Take this one. At the end of the Charter Boats is Sparky's Landing.

3) Make time for a short stop at the Old 7 Mile Bridge. Please take a moment to sign the petition, The State has threatened to shut down the bridge to walking. The state is currently working with FO7 to keep it open, but more support is always a good thing.

Rockaway Beach, NY
posts: 216
reviews: 39
7. Re: First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

@buffetguy69 - thank's for the Sparky's tip, and I promise we will stop and sign the petition for the Old 7 Mile.

Marathon, Florida
Destination Expert
for Marathon, Islamorada
posts: 10,573
reviews: 30
8. Re: First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

If you make it to Sparky's, check out the area where the sailfish photos are and the wood sailfish - Rockaway or Breezy Point flag in the corner.

Los Angeles
posts: 3,923
reviews: 44
9. Re: First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

I would take my time coming down. Will you be able to check into your hotel at 11 AM?

Most folks can't do it until 3 pm, which gives lots of time to stop at all the cool places.

Those 45 mph stretches, which can be even slower if you're behind a motorhome, seem to take forever.

Being able to pull over and take in one of the parks is a good way to reduce the boredom.

It would really be a shame to drive past Bahia Honda if the conditions were great.

South Jersey
posts: 1,527
reviews: 64
10. Re: First time driving Lauderdale to Key West April 20th

Most hotels are accommodating with early check-ins and at a minimum will hold your luggage and tell you when to come back or call you when your room is ready. But you should consider making the drive more leisurely, I've been coming to Key West for 20 years and still enjou the drive.