Florida Car Rental Locations, Best Travel Routes To Reach The Keys!
Hurricane Irma Update
The Florida Keys was strongly impacted when Hurricane Irma passed through, however the Florida Keys infrastructure is quickly being repaired and is mostly functional with many businesses operational.
The Florida Keys are expected to be fully open for business by October 1st and the Key West Fantasy Fest is set to go ahead as planned!
Don't let your fear of this hurricane's damage deter your Florida Keys vacation plans. Things are getting back to normal and there are lots of great activities happening every day you don't want to miss out on!
The Conch Republic's Spirit Stays Strong!
Making arrangements for your Florida car rental before you arrive helps get your Florida Keys vacation off to a smooth start.
To help plan your vacation to the Florida Keys, you'll also need a good Florida Keys map.
A detailed Florida map is also a good idea, especially if you're flying in to Miami, Tampa or Orlando before you hire your car and drive south.
Having a map in advance makes it possible for you to 'see' the area and plan your vacation to the Florida Keys in advance as you'll know where the different Florida Keys attractions are.
This is especially helpful because plans for your Florida Keys trip will likely be fluid due to changes in weather, unexpected local events, and personal preferences.
To help with your Florida travel plans, I've included information on where Florida car rental companies can be found at the different airports you're likely to land at.
Florida Car Rental Travels South From Tampa
on Interstate 75 to Naples and Alligator Alley
You can get your car for rent when you land, but you're better off to make your car hire arrangements in advance. This helps avoid any nasty surprises so your Florida Keys travel plans go as smooth as possible. You also may be able to take advantage of any car rental discounts or promotions.
Often, by reserving online you'll have more flexibility as to type of vehicle you want to reserve and you'll also be able to save money on the transaction.
One car rental company that offers competitive and even discounted rates is Fox Rent A Car, and they have multiple locations for your convenience.
Orlando Car Rentals
The important thing about your Florida car rental is remembering to make the arrangements as soon as possible. If you arrive in Orlando, Orlando International Airport has the largest car rental market in the world due to the heavy influx of tourists on a yearly basis.
For a travelers convenience, most of the major Orlando car rental companies are located at the Orlando airport. Car rental pick up is also easily accessible with no need for a shuttle to take you to the car rental.
All Orlando airport car rental companies are located at Ground Level and can be found in Terminal A and Terminal B.
The Off-Site Orlando Car Rental Companies provide free shuttle bus service to their different car hire locations. Since the Orlando Airport has the heaviest amount of car rental traffic, long lineups at car rental counters with long waiting times can occur.
Renting offsite, from companies located near the Orlando airport can save you time. It also can save you money as many of these rent a car companies have lower car rental rates since they also have lower overhead.
Another option whether in Orlando, at home, or any place else you travel is to join Zipcar. They make renting cars easy and can be a very sensible alternative for people who rent a lot of vehicles, who are students, or have students in their household or simply just don't want the hassle of owning an additional car.
Tampa Car Rentals
If you arrive at Tampa International Airport you'll want to get your Florida car rental right away so you can get on the road and travel south the Florida Keys.
Many of the Tampa car rental companies have rental counters at the Tampa airport. They're conveniently located in the Red Baggage claim area and also across the walkway from the Blue Baggage claim area.
Florida Car Rentals Can Be
Picked up at Tampa International Airport
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory
There are also Tampa car rental companies are off-site but you can still get to them easily. Courtesy vehicle service to these car rental companies are available at the Baggage Claim level. Just look for the Commercial Ground Transportation Quadrants located in the 4 corners of the Baggage Claim level.
If you want to make sure you have a car available when you arrive, and that's it's the type of car you want to drive then you should check out the selection available through Car Rental 8.
You'll find you'll have peace of mind and will likely save money as opposed to waiting til you arrive tired at the airport and then have to go through the care selection and paperwork process.
Best Florida Car Rental Route
If Traveling South From
Florida's East Central Coast
When traveling in your Florida car rental, if you're in central or south Florida, it won't take long for you to get to the Florida Keys.
If you're in the Orlando FL area you can grab a cheap car rental at the Orlando, FL, International Airport
and then take the Florida Turnpike which is a toll road. Your Florida car rental is a 2 axle which means the toll fee will be well under $20.00.
The big advantage to traveling on the Florida Turnpike is that it will save you from cutting straight east then paralleling the congested Atlantic Coast the way Interstate 95 does.
South Bound Florida Turnpike at Homestead
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Cory McDonald Collection
Interstate 95 is the major highway that runs north and south along the Atlantic Ocean. It travels through all of the smaller and larger coastal cities.
If you're expecting to catch a glimpse of the ocean driving this route with your Florida car rental, you're mistaken. You won't be able to see much, if any of the ocean. If this was your reason for choosing I-95, save yourself some time.
Interstate 95 will let you see more of urban Florida, but you'll also get to experience greater congestion, and slower Florida travel times.
The Florida Turnpike helps you avoid the Interstate 95 traffic, and will get you to your Florida Keys vacation destination faster.
Miami Car Rentals
Of course if you were originally vacationing in the Miami area you would have flown into MIA. For a car rental Miami International Airport is easy for pick up because you can go to the Miami Rental Car Center.
Signs For Miami International Airport
The Miami Rental Car Center is in one large, convenient place not far from MIA. You'll also find it even more convenient if you've reserved in advance the type of Florida car rental you actually want,
as opposed to just what's currently available.
Reserve in advance, get what you want and save money AND time because when you land you will likely be tired and just want to get going on your Florida Keys vacation.
After you leave the Miami International Airport
and have picked up your Miami car rental at the Miami Rental Car Center, you can then follow signs to the Florida Turnpike as Interstate 95 ends at the northern section of Miami.
The Turnpike travels south and will take you directly to US Highway 1 where it ends at the Homestead / Florida City area. From here you'll begin your leisurely journey south on US Highway 1 to the Florida Keys!
Best Florida Car Rental Route
If Traveling From
Florida's Central West or Southwest Coast
Tampa is a major city that's typically the furthest north point tourists visit, when planning a Florida Keys vacation. It sits somewhat central in the peninsula on Florida's west coast.
This is a longer drive so for the sake of speed and convenience sake, you'll want to have a car rental so you can make the trip comfortably.
You can get some pretty good car rental deals through Fox Rent A Car, and they even offer hourly discounts on various makes and models you may be interested in. They also offer a variety of conveniences and services and so are often a preferred choice for anyone needing a car rental.
I would suggest when traveling south from Tampa in your Florida car rental, that you do not take the Hwy 80 exit off I-75 at Fort Myers.
This road takes you east and around the bottom of Lake Okeechobee. There's not much sightseeing in this area since it's primarily wide open agricultural land that is sparsely populated. You also won't be able to see much of Lake Okeechobee either due to the large berms.
Flat Agricultural Land Is West and South Of Lake Okeechobee
You're fastest route will be to stay on I-75 traveling straight south to Naples. At Naples the road turn east and you'll continue on the toll portion of Interstate 75 called Alligator Alley Parkway.
This is now a toll road for both east and west bound traffic. When you reach the toll section, you'll need to get into the appropriate lane to pay, since you won't likely have the Florida SunPass on your car's front windshield.
Alligator Alley When It Was A Two Lane Highway Littered With Alligators
National Archives and Records Administration, College Park
Florida Car Rental Route
Traveling East To Miami
Via Naples and Alligator Alley
In the past, Alligator Alley was one of the best places to see Florida alligator. They absolutely littered the highway shoulders and ditches.
The first time my husband and I drove Alligator Alley I felt like a little kid. My husband's sense of concentration wore a bit thin when I couldn't contain my excitement. I kept pointing out all the alligators littering the road, yelling, "Look at that one! Oh, there's another two. Did you see that one?"
After a while his patience wore thin, and he told me that he didn't need my help in spotting them. Even though he was driving, it was impossible for him not to see them as they were absolutely everywhere you looked.
Unfortunately Alligator Alley is not what it was back then. It's Interstate 75, and as such it's an important 4 lane highway leading to Miami from the west coast. The number of Florida alligators along this stretch had become so dense, that no doubt they were a hazard to traffic.
Now this whole section of I-75 has fences running on the far side of the ditches for both the east bound and west bound roads. The fences seem to have contained the alligator, and when you drive this fast moving road you're not likely to see any of the alligator Florida is famous for. It's unfortunate because it was such an amazing stretch of highway, but safety must come first - for the alligators and for us.
Florida Alligator Near Highway
Florida Car Rental Route
Miami Traveling South To Florida Keys
In your Florida car rental you'll travel on I-75 until your reach the outer regions of Miami. Make sure you stay on I-75 and that you don't pick up I-595 by mistake. Then as I-75 turns south, keep a watch out for your intersection with the Florida Turnpike.
By merging onto the Turnpike at this point, you'll avoid the greater congestion of merging with I-95. It's also faster, and less frustrating then driving on a number of back roads which can quickly get you lost if you take a wrong turn.
Once you're on this major road there will be traffic, but for the most part everything should travel smoothly. In less than 40 miles you'll be at Florida City and on US Highway 1 which becomes the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys.
Florida Keys And Florida Map
Travel Videos And DVDs
You now can see that you have numerous Florida travel options when it comes to traveling in your car rental to reach your Florida Keys vacation destinations.
You'll find that having a Florida map
and a map of the Florida Keys
while planning your Florida vacation, and while driving will make everything easier.
Once you're on the road, maps will give you a better idea of where you are, they put the whole region into perspective, and you'll have backup for when the GPS isn't reliable or working.
Unfortunately GPS systems can be more than a bit misleading, and a good Florida map is a cheap investment that will save you time, frustration, and keep you from getting lost.
Below, I've included links to these helpful maps as well as to a variety of informative travel videos and DVD's, all conveniently available for you through Amazon.com
Get Your Florida And Florida Keys
DVD's And Travel Maps From Amazon.com
BUY NOW and BE PREPARED!
This is the beginning of your incredible Florida Keys vacation. The road you take will lead you through Key Largo,
and down to
Key West FL.
Along the way you'll see unbelievable sights and do absolutely amazing things.
Enjoy your Florida Keys vacation, travel safe, and welcome to paradise!