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Florida Keys

Old 01-09-2020, 11:49 AM
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Default Florida Keys

I am thinking of surprising the wife with a trip to the keys for a week. She has never been & neither have I, and this cold weather is making me want to sell and just move south. As much as I want to go & fish, it’s not really her “thing” - thank goodness, as it’s my sanity. Anyway I was thinking about flying to Miami, driving straight to key west then back tracking up. Outside of Key West, and the other well known keys, are there any little keys that would be worth it to stay at for a night or two? Do you recommend staying in hotels, or renting a place through a site like VRBO? trying to avoid the typical tourist traps as well. TIA
Old 01-09-2020, 12:07 PM
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VRBO and AirBNB are only going to make sense if you're staying in one place for a few days as the fees for cleaning and booking will outprice a hotel I would guess. Maybe for Key West if you'll be there for a bit. If it were me I would fly into Key West and drive up to the 7 mile bridge and back. Hit No Name Key for a beer and a meal at the Square Grouper. This has been asked a ton in the Florida Georgia regional forum. Search there will yield hours of reading.

As for other off the beaten path stuff, if you like history the last time we were down we took the kids to pigeon key (under the 7 mile bridge) which gives a history lesson on Flagler and the development of the keys. We got a great tour person and it was just us. I hadn't been in 15 years and it was more interesting than I remembered.
Old 01-09-2020, 12:10 PM
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Square Grouper is on Cudjoe.
Old 01-09-2020, 12:27 PM
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The keys are my favorite place.

Driving all the way down to KW from Miami that first day seems like a waste. My suggestion would be to go from Miami to Islandmorda. Spend a night or two there and then go to KW. Marathon and Islandmorda are the two big stops besides KW. I would stay at hotels the first time.

Just my 2 cents.
Old 01-09-2020, 12:34 PM
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You could stay at Isla Bella Resort on Marathon. Every room faces the water, and they have a really nice Spa. Two Conch's sportfishing also operate out of the resort, so you can easily get out for a day of fishing if your wife wants to do the spa thing, or just hang out by any of the pools.

From there, it is a 1 hour drive to Key West, so you can easily make a day trip out of that (see Hemingway's house, southern most point in US etc. etc.). On the way back you can stop in at The No Name Pub and see the Key Deer.

Plenty of good restaurants within 10 minutes of the resort too, so you are not beholden to them. It's a nice central part of the Keys which gives you lots of options, and an easy drive from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale airport.
Old 01-09-2020, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by LongJohnSilver View Post
Square Grouper is on Cudjoe.
There is also one on Islamorada now.

If in the Islamorada area, grab a drink at Morada Bay and also the bar at the Post Card Inn.
Old 01-09-2020, 12:43 PM
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If it were me, I’d fly into MIA. Rent a car and fly out of EYW or v.v. Price shouldn’t be much different for a multi-city itinerary vs RT.

Most major car rental companies won’t charge the one-way drop-off fee but check to be sure.
Old 01-09-2020, 12:51 PM
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some chargers will let you do a spilt down there, I did it 3/4 years ago on a last min trip.
Old 01-09-2020, 01:03 PM
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Keys - Early December
Old 01-09-2020, 01:11 PM
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I really like staying here.
Close to most everything.

https://www.keywesthideaways.com/pro...hideaway#Rates

Old 01-09-2020, 01:13 PM
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OP I assume you are from Jersey, you can fly nonstop into Key West from Newark on United.
Old 01-09-2020, 01:24 PM
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"trying to avoid the tourist traps" = Impossible ..

Its the Keys man ... Its as touristy as it comes....

Only way around that is by boat...

Fly to KW if possible ,,, 2 days ,,, then rental car up to Miami ...

Try to rent boats and get out on the water as much as possible ...
Old 01-09-2020, 01:54 PM
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Thank you for the input, keep it coming THT community! I know she wants to do Key West “oh I’d just love to see Hemingway’s house” whereas I’d just like to see a cold beer and the ocean. I would like to do Islamorada for fishing & send her to the spa for a day; should be a win-win, fingers crossed. If Islamorada is a no go, I was thinking Largo - but it seems far up. Any info on the not so popular keys such as long key, Bahia, tavernier? I want to stick to two spots only as the rest are a hike up from key west.
Old 01-09-2020, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by triplenet View Post
"trying to avoid the tourist traps" = Impossible ..

Its the Keys man ... Its as touristy as it comes....

Only way around that is by boat...

Fly to KW if possible ,,, 2 days ,,, then rental car up to Miami ...

Try to rent boats and get out on the water as much as possible ...
Tx - after mulling it over, I’m definitely flying to Key West, renting a car & will fly back out of Miami, makes more sense to do it that way.
Old 01-09-2020, 02:00 PM
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I bet weather permitting, she would love a day at Bahia Honda State park. The beach there is awesome. about 35-40 miles from KW. Oh and you can't get lost, only one road in and out of the Keys.
Old 01-09-2020, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeloew View Post
I bet weather permitting, she would love a day at Bahia Honda State park. The beach there is awesome. about 35-40 miles from KW. Oh and you can't get lost, only one road in and out of the Keys.
good to know. I married the woman who still gets lost even with navigation in her car, which is why I don’t let her drive anywhere if I am going with her, as any man would do. Still boggles my mind that she gets lost with a navigation system.
Old 01-09-2020, 02:08 PM
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Lots to do in KW ........4 live theatres so take her to a show, great restaurants, etc.
Old 01-09-2020, 02:15 PM
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When you get to key west I actually think doing the touristy conch train tour is a good idea for first time visitors. They tell you the history of the island along with pointing out all the sights and things to do while seeing most of the island. Gives you a couple hour overview to then think about what else you want to do. Full disclosure, last time I did it was 1990 and end up in key west usually at least once a year.

A Looe Key snorkel trip out of big pine key area is well worth it if you can stand the water temperatures and there is a good visibility day while in town.

robbies in Islamorada to feed tarpon

bahia Honda state park

boat rentals to explore around key west

a charter fishing trip

seeing dry tortugas on sea plane trip or day ferry.
Old 01-09-2020, 04:58 PM
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If you want a great history lesson this PBS video will help-
Flagler's Train - The Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad | South Florida PBS Presents | PBS
Old 01-09-2020, 05:20 PM
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I live in Miami and have been to Key West a bunch. Last time there, I did the cheesy conch train tour and it was awesome. They guide was a conch and had tons of stories and info. There is alot to do in Key West. No name pub on big pine is cool to visit and driving around you will see tons of key deer. Robbies is cool and you can feed the tarpon. It's a very scenic drive up the overseas highway. Bahia honda has a nice beach. You should try and visit the reefs before they're gone.

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