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Key West Ferry and Boat Trip: A Great Alternative to Driving to Key West From Fort Myers, Near Marco Island...

Updated on June 6, 2011

Key West Ferry From Fort Myers...

The closest place in the continental United States to exotic tropical islands is the Florida Keys, at the southern tip of Florida. If you’ve never been there, it’s time to go, and a great alternative to driving down is the Key West Ferry Fort Myers… If you have driven down to Key West before, you know that the drive can be very long and sometimes backed up with traffic jams, and very hectic. You have to drive U.S.1 at least once down to Key West to experience the beauty and raw nature that you can see from your car, with the Florida Bay on one side of you and the beginnings of the Caribbean on the other, and to stop at some of the highlighted tourist attractions on the way such as Pennecamp State Park for diving and snorkeling, Theater of the Sea marine show, and the Key Deer Wildlife protection area.

But once you have made the drive at least once, then you can start looking for other options for the trip down, and one of my favorites is the Key West Ferry leaving from Fort Myers over on the west coast of Florida near Sanibel. This area is a big tourist attraction in itself, with fabulous beaches, clear water, and top notch resorts! It’s also close to Naples, which most people have probably heard of. I believe there at least two companies that deliver guests to the Key West marina from Fort Myers, but the biggest one is Key West Express.

The Key West Ferry From Fort Myers Beach...

Key West Express leaves from either Marco Island or Fort Myers Beach early in the morning, and arrives in Key West around noon or so. Then you have the option of just staying for a few hours and returning back to Fort Myers on the 6:00 pm departure, or staying in Key West for at least a day or two to see the town and have some fun. This is definitely the preferred thing to do, bring your luggage with you on the boat and stay at one of the awesome hotels in Key West. Of course, if all you have is a day to spend, then a few hours in Key West is better than nothing!

The Key West Ferry uses 4 fast catamarans to take you to Key West, which are highly preferred over regular v hull boats that can be affected by heavy chop out at sea. If you are susceptible to getting seasick, then these fast catamarans are the way to go! Always be sure to take some type of sea sickness pill or patch ahead of time though, you always want to play it safe… Because if you start feeling seasick on the boat, then it’s too late! Better to take preventative measures ahead of time to insure that you have a great trip!

Only 3 hours one way on the Key West Ferry...

The catamaran ride on the Key West Ferry is only about 3 hours or so, maybe 3 ½. They are a pretty big size, and have a snack bar onboard where you can get a quick meal, drinks, or snacks. They should also have satellite television available in the lounge area to help pass the time. Or you can just spend some quality time on deck looking out over the Gulf of Mexico enjoying the waves, sun, birds, and occasional dolphins that love to swim alongside these fast cats…

I would do this Key West Ferry trip again and again to avoid some of the awful traffic jams getting into Key West from U.S.1, because unfortunately there is only way route in or out of the Keys, and if there is a traffic accident you will end up waiting until it’s cleared. Fortunately, U.S.1 is kept moving pretty well most of the time, but it’s those occasional times where it can get backed up.

Courtney's Place, From the Key West Ferry...

Once you arrive at the Key West Marina from the Key West Ferry, you may have to hunt around for a taxi if you need one to take you to a hotel located a ways away, but sometimes they know when the boat is coming in and wait for any takers… I’m hesitant to tell anyone my little secret when I go, but there is a fantastic little hotel within a block or two of the marina that I usually stay at called Courtney’s Place, which is a little old but it has lots of room plus an very tropical and enclosed pool in the backyard that no one can see from the street. Not many people know about this place, but it’s within walking distance of all the fantastic attractions down on Duval Street and very close to the marina. So if you are without a car, this is a great selection! Now I wonder if they will give me any commissions for business I send their way… Have fun!

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    • scubadoggy profile image

      scubadoggy 7 years ago

      Sure thing Husky, it's a really awesome trip!

    • profile image

      Husky1970 7 years ago

      Great tips. I've never made the trip to Key West but, if and when I do, then the ferry from Ft. Meyers will be given serious consideration.