Transportation Options, Key West
Key West is a small island and a bicycle is all you need to get around. Even the public busses and some of the taxis have bike carriers for when you get tired of pedaling or to impaired to ride. The City Busses only cost two dollars (multi trip passes available) and will carry your bike on a rack on the front, 305-292-8160 or 305-293-6426. The Five Sixes Cab Co. has bike racks on most of their cabs. 305-296-6666 and they now have a fleet of Hybrid SUV cabs.
There is a public bus system connecting Key West to Marathon and another bus connects Marathon to Florida City. For the hardcore budget traveler you can get from Searstown in Key West to Florida City (Wall Mart) for a grand total of three dollars and eighty-five cents. It's a good way to meet the local working folks as well. I have not personally taken the bus from Marathon to Florida City. Check the Website listed to learn more about both busses. Monroe County Transit 305-292-4422 and Lower Keys Shuttle 305-292-8160.
Taxis are very expensive in Key West. They charge per person per trip. It cost us $14 to go from the Historic Harbor to the airport ($7 each). The possible means of transportation are - from cheapest to most expensive:
1) Walking - free
2) Bicycling - we bring a folding bike on our boat, so that's free for us - otherwise you can rent bikes. Biking is easy on the island.
3) Public transport
4) Bone Island Shuttle
6) Motor scooter/Moped rental - you need one for each person and can be hazardous.
7) Car rental
8) Electric car rental.
We have used 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7.
Let your dog drive while you enjoy the views! Seriously though, you can get around by scooter, taxi, bike, feet and boats. Do look out for cool animal sightings - they act like people, and walk around like they own the island!
Yes there is a public bus system in Key West, and it is pretty comprehensive. A map of the routes is as http://www.keywestcity.com/egov/docs/1209991161_463653.pdf
They provides public transit services throughout Key West, Stock Island on 8 routes, the earliest of which begin operation at 5:30 am and run as late as 11:30 pm.
There used to be shuttles that went around to the various hotels and dropped off, but apparently those services have shut down because so many of the hotels have closed.
There are several big grocery stores. We usually go to the commissary, but if that is closed we go to Publix which is on Roosevelt Blvd in Searstown. There's also a WinnDixie.
You can fly into Ft. Lauderdale or Miami Airport and rent a car to drive the rest of the way to the keys.
There several ways to get around Key West once you get down there. You can rent mopeds, bikes, or small moter carts. There is also a trams and small buses that give tours.
Greyhound from Miami is about $35.
Most of the old town is in an area of about 1 x 2 miles. Walk or rent a bicycle, scooter or electric car. I parked my truck and didn't use it for days on my first trip here.
Key West Airlines
Cape Air 800-352-0714
Gulfstream Int'l Airlines 800-992-8532
Pan Am Air Bridge 305-295-0165
Sea Coast 800-742-6278
US Air Express 800-428-4322
Key West Airport Shuttle
Shuttle between Key West,
Marathon & Miami Airports 800-875-4555
Key West Car Rental Agencies
Alamo Rent-A-Car 305-294-6675
Avis Rent-A-Car 305-296-8744
Budget Car & Truck Rental 305-294-8868
Dollar Rent-A-Car 305-296-9921
Enterprise Rent-A-Car 305-292-0220
Hertz Rent-A-Car 305-294-1039
Tropical Rent-A-Car 305-294-8136
Value Rent-A-Car 305-296-7733
Key West Sightseeing Tours
Conch Tour Train Mallory Square 305-294-5161
Old Town Trolley Mallory Square 395-296-6688
Perfect Pedicab Duval Street 305-292-0077
My usual tip in America: public transportation is decidedly a joke in most of the USA. Few metros in city centers, a national bus system thats archaic and a national train system that is late, goes few places and frankly is an embarassment. In Florida its even worse than the 'norm'. SADLY...Dispite a public voting mandate that bullet trains ply between Jacksonville/Orlando/Tampa/Miami..we are still waiting for any progress on that event. Miami does have a metro that will get you a fair number of places..but the rest of Florida you have little choice but to rent a car.Believe it or not..there was once a trainline to Key West but a hurricane wiped it out and its never been recostructed. Bummer.
The best way to get to Key West is by car.
If you prefer to drive to Old Town and park, another option is park your car at the city's Park 'n'Ride garage on Caroline and Grinnell Streets and take the shuttle or walk downtown.
Because parking can be expensive and hard to find,
check out the island's public and private transit system that will take you from New Town to Old Town.
For only $4 you can use the Bone Island Shuttle to get from several hotels in New Town to the excitement of Old Town as ofter you like during the day.
Key West is located around 120 miles (maybe I´m wrong) from Miami and it takes time to get there. There are many tour companies that offer different options of transportation with or without additional activities in key West. I took a tour with my family from Miami to Key west and we had some hours to spend in the town and walk around and afterwards we went snorkeling. This was a good and easy way to check out Key west. I could have stayed a bit longer though. If you´re not on a tight budget, check Gray Line´s key west options. We were happy with the tour. They´re not expensive either, but a normal price to pay for an organized tour. It took some 4 hours one-way to go there.
If you've never been, and want to learn a little about the history of Key West, the trolley is a fairly cheap way to go about doing it. Aside from that, Key West is not that big of an area (at least not the touristy part) and you can easily walk around. Another neat thing to do is rent bicycles or scooters. That is how the locals get around and there are parking stations for them all over the place.
Enjoy...the Keys are great.
For our first full day, we did the Trolley Tour. You can get on and off all day at 12 different stops. The stops are all over the island so chances are that there will be one near where you are staying. Parking is hard to find and expensive in the old town/Duval Street end of the island. All of the attractions and museums are accessible from the trolley route and if you don't like your guide, you can just get off and get on a different one.
I would recommend getting on when it first starts in the morning and planning on doing it all day as we started close to noon and were unable to get to all the stops. There is also a conch train but it does not allow you to get on and off.
If you are going to the Keys and south Florida:
- parking is a fortune and you can walk most everywhere. The drive to the Keys is long and not especially interesting if you have had a long flight and driving in Key West is cumbersome.
1) Instead of flying into Miami / Ft Lauderdale and renting a car to drive to key West (a long drive) - here are a couple of better options:
2) Fly into Ft. Meyers / Naples, Fla, and take a ferry to Key West and back. (Fun!)
Key West Shuttle
This high-speed ferry service shuttles passengers between Florida's west coast and Key West in three and a half hours. Service is available to and from Naples and Fort Myers. 1-888-KEYBOAT. www.keywestshuttle.com
X-Press to Key West
This high-speed ferry service carries passengers between Florida's west coast and Key West in four hours. Service is available to and from Fort Myers Beach. 1-800-273-4496. www.keywestferry.com .
3) Fly into Key West - you do not need a car.
4) If you are insistent on driving to Key West - fly into Miami, Ft. Lauderdale or Fort Meyers/Naples - rent the car for a day, drive to Key West and then - Drop the car off - there are no drop off charges in Florida. Pick a car up again when you are ready to leave - much less hassle.
The Hop on Hop off Trolley Tours of Key West provide the visitor the opportunity to see the sights and then go back and stay a bit longer to explore those areas that are of interest.
There are a number of options to choose from. Adults cost $30.40 for a two day pass while children under 13 are free. NOTE local taxes, fuel surcharges, etc are extra.