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Turquoise Coast - to rent a car? to take a Gulet ride?

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Hello All,
My best friend and I (both in our late 20's) are taking a 2 week trip to Turkey the 1st 2 weeks of June.

We will spend time in Istanbul before heading down to the so called Turquoise Coast and I would love and appreciate any tips for getting around.

I have yet to decide where to base ourselves. The options of Marmais and Bodrum are not appealing to me, with the congestion and crowds...but we don't want to be anywhere too sleepy as we will likely dine and go out for drinks nightly looking to mingle with other travellers and locals.

My 2 big questions are:
1) Is car rental the best option for being able to explore towns, beaches and ruins?
2) I see mixed opinions of Gulet cruises. I LOVE the idea of taking 3 nights to explore the waters, but if they are dangerous or dirty I am not game for this. Do they ever dock in a town for the night so we can get on land for restaurants and exploration?

Thanks so much for any help given!

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