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Keys Vacation should I rent a boat or tow mine from Tallahassee,FL?

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Keys Vacation should I rent a boat or tow mine from Tallahassee,FL?

Old 06-21-2011, 07:43 AM
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Default Keys Vacation should I rent a boat or tow mine from Tallahassee,FL?

Want to go spend four or five days in the Keys in mid July. I'm trying to decide if it's worth towing my boat (Sea Pro 228) down there from Tallahassee, FL or just rent a boat locally. Probably only light fishing, mostly just snorkling and riding around for two days with a day to tour Key West by car and such. I have a Toyota Sequoia which gets bad gas mileage while towing so I think the boat rental and gas for the tow down may be a wash either way.
Old 06-21-2011, 07:58 AM
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Bring your boat, it makes the whole experience much better. You know your boat better than anyone, the rentals are well "rentals" therefore the boats issues become your issues. You make up the rules on your boat and not the rental company. The money you would spend on the rental over the days you would be down there vs the money it costs to tow the boat down there will probably be in the same ballpark. I made several trips to the Keys last summer with my boat 400 miles one way, the road time becomes a lot more relaxed I made myself stop at least every 100 miles and did not go much over the speed limit.
Old 06-21-2011, 08:19 AM
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you might as well stay home as to rent, especially in the Keys. The water down there is so skinny that most of the rental places have a very restricted operating area, and none of them I know of allow you to operate at night. And at $250 ( avg rate down there) a day you can burn a lot of gas towing and still come out ahead. rental boats are never fitted out the way you want them to be- most of them have very low level electronics, and barely adequate power for size.
Old 06-21-2011, 08:20 AM
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Both ways can be fun. Like he said, the rentals are bare bone boats, but mostly have four strokes so good economy. The gas you save actually can be even more than the difference in towing vs not. If you rent you can drive a 30mpg car down there. It's nice to know that after a fun week and everybody is tired that you don't have to suffer the towing experience on the way home. If you just lobster in the bay or just outside in the ocean side
a little, you can get by with a rental. Just check it out a little before you head out (VHF working etc...).
Old 06-21-2011, 08:24 AM
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You have a little bit of a learning curve if you have never been to the keys... Depending on the size of your group snorkel boats are pretty reasonable... In my opinion (25+ years vacationing in the Keys) if your only going out a couple of days then going to Key West, save the hassle and just go out on boats there but as stated bringing your own boat opens up alot of options but hassles too... Either way you will have a good time...
Old 06-21-2011, 08:27 AM
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Rent.
Old 06-21-2011, 08:53 AM
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we rent from capt pips...19' cape horns
every time i rented there the boat has been practically brand-new
towing my boat from LA is obviously not an option, but we have been very happy renting there
Old 06-21-2011, 08:58 AM
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Renting is much easier but does come with restrictions. I've done it both ways. I much prefer to trailer my boat down. But then again, I'm only coming from Tampa and we spend a ton of time on the water (snorkling, fishing, cruising, lobstering when in season, etc). Do you know which key you are going to? That might make a difference.
Old 06-21-2011, 09:02 AM
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Nothing like experiencing the Keys with your own boat. Your short stay would lead me to recommend renting a boat. You have an 11-15 hour trip ahead of you.

Anyone that has driven/trailered to the Keys will tell you the ride home is a MONSTER! After 4 or 5 days of sun, fun and partying, the last thing you will want to do is trailer a boat home for 11-15 hours!
Old 06-21-2011, 09:08 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I'm still figureing out where I'll stay and for how long since I'm a Keys novice. I thought the highlight of the trip would be taking my girls (11 and 13) snorkling on Looe Key which seems to be well spoken of. I'm sure they will want to go to the turtle hospital and we'll drive to Key West to explore. With this in mind, it seem staying around Big Pine Key might work.
Old 06-21-2011, 09:09 AM
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I'm just above you in Thomasville. We've done it both ways. There are some bad rental boats, but most pretty good for that type stuff. Never want to bust up a trip to paradise with a broken down rental, but the only thing worse is if you tow one down, break down and then have to tow the sick monster back home with you. Good luck.
Old 06-21-2011, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Florida R227 View Post
Want to go spend four or five days in the Keys in mid July. I'm trying to decide if it's worth towing my boat (Sea Pro 228) down there from Tallahassee, FL or just rent a boat locally. Probably only light fishing, mostly just snorkling and riding around for two days with a day to tour Key West by car and such. I have a Toyota Sequoia which gets bad gas mileage while towing so I think the boat rental and gas for the tow down may be a wash either way.
I've done it both ways, the most recent trip I rented a Cape Horn 28 footer....since we had a larger group than my 19' boat would handle. It worked out well. The rental company picked up and delivered the boat to our house....nice touch. The boat was bare bones, but we were mostly snorkeling. If you're just snorkeling and cruising and don't need a good fishfinder, etc......I'd rent. I used vacationboatrentals, they had a wide variety of boats to choose from.
Old 06-21-2011, 09:24 AM
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I've rented boats in the keys from several different places and for the most part it's gone pretty well. It sounds like you're not trying to do anything to crazy and really won't require a big(ish), expensive offshore rig (which are available). If the goal is to spend a day or two near shore bopping around with the kids I think I'd rent. That’s a long haul to only drop your boat in a couple times. That said... if you're place has dockage and you'll be able to conveniently use your boat everyday for a week that’s different. I'd haul it down in that case. Really a matter of how many hours you plan on spending on the water.
Old 06-21-2011, 10:43 AM
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I would bring my own, making sure my trailer was up to it. Have fun.
Old 06-21-2011, 11:32 AM
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I have made the trip from Tallahassee several times with a 24 foot boat. It is definitely a haul to get there, but worth it once you are there to have your own boat, electronics, etc. Just make sure you have good tires and repack your bearings before you go. Have a jack, spare tire, and extra set of hub and bearings. I figure I have a boat and taking it on vacations is why I have it. Why leave the poor girl at home?
Old 06-21-2011, 11:47 AM
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I'm now thinking of going ahead and staying an entire week and bringing the boat. All the house rentals I've looked at are 1 week minimum so I might as well stay. I've seen some good priced houses on Big Pine Key and the others close by. Is this a good area to stay to get a mix of what's available?
Old 06-21-2011, 11:51 AM
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Like stated above if you are only going to use it once or twice during your stay, RENT. It is not worth the hassle. If you are staying for a week or longer and plan on using it bring her with you. It is nice to stay at a place with dockage,you just walk out and go for a boat ride at any time you want.

just saw your new post: Key Colony Beach is a great place to stay with dockage. Very easy access to Florida bay or the Ocean.
Old 06-21-2011, 11:53 AM
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Yea if you're staying a week I take back the rental vote. Another thing to think about is weather. Lets say you rent a boat for 3-4 days (much cheaper that way) and the weather goes south for 2 of those days, you've wasted a lot of rental. Good location. Access to just about all you mentioned. I'm ready to go now.

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