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Gulf Coast Florida Keys Road Trip!

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Easter Vacation Trip Advice for a family of five from the UK with three children aged 18 to 10.

After a stay of three nights in NYC our family are flying down to Orlando for three days where our plans are pretty much fixed; to do the things (theme parks) we missed off from our last visit. Thereafter, our plan is for a bit of a lazy road trip down the gulf coast, across the everglades and down the keys. The emphasis for this part of the trip is hopefully to explore, sit on beaches and relax. It is this latter part of the trip that I am looking for a bit of input and advice.

Starting off from a night in Tampa (Busch Gardens the day before) we have three nights in Fort Myers (Best Western Airport Inn). I have identified Bradendon Beach / Anna Maria Island, Siesta Key and Sanibel Island as possible visit’s, hopefully these have some public access beach areas? Some ideas of budget places to eat other than the usual fast food places would be good. We enjoyed Denny’s and Ponderosa especially during our last visit to Orlando so anything similar would be good.

After we check out, we have a long 247 mile drive to the Holiday Inn Express in Marathon through the Everglades on highway 41. Miccosakee Indian Reserve looks like a nice stopping off point for a bit of culture.

We have four nights in Marathon to explore the Keys, locally Sombrero Beach looks good. I am hoping for half a day SCUBA diving while the family sit on a beach somewhere. Possible visits listed include John Pennekamp Coral Reef, Islamorada, Bahia Honda state park and of course Key West (Mallory Square etc). Again, looking for nice public access beaches, and inexpensive dining locations.

For completeness Miami South Beach on the way back to Miami Airport for the flight home to the UK.

I appreciate this is quite a list and very non-specific, I will be grateful for advice and any tips to make this a truly memorable trip.

Thanks.

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