8 day trip to Florida

Apr 1st, 2016, 11:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 10
8 day trip to Florida


I am planning a 8 day trip to Florida for this May. We are a family with 4 adults and 3 kids ( 12 months, 6 and 9 year olds). I was thinking of the below plan; looking for advice on any changes we should make or should we be covering / leaving out stuff from below.

Fly to Orlando from SFO
4 days in Orlando ( Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Sea World and 1 day for Kennedy Space Centre and local attractions )
Drive to Miami , visiting gatorland enroute.
2 days in Miami - Need ideas on things which are must do's.
1 day visit to Key West
Drive back to Miami and take flight.

Thanks for helping with this,
RuchAgrawal is offline  
Apr 1st, 2016, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,036
Just so you know the drive from Miami to Key west is 3.5-4 hours each way depending on traffic. If you plan a day trip you could very realistically spend 8 hours of it driving.
gmoney is offline  
Apr 1st, 2016, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 35,110
That day in Key West needs to be a full one IMO. As I (sounding like a broken record I realize) keep telling people who are renting cars for the drive to Miami, be careful about your routing. The fastest is using Florida's Turnpike but there are are exits which do not allow you to use cash. Your better route would be to head east to 95m and then take 95 south. Do NOT get into ANY express lanes and do not plan on taking the Turnpike "extension" west of Miami which has electronic toll collection.
Dukey1 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2016, 12:06 PM
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OK, a little more on that drive down through the Keys. Yes, EVERYBODY raves about it: the views, those places where they filmed TV shows, the Seven-Mile Bridge, the whole deal. BUT, Gmoney is trying to help you out here. That drive (which you then get to repeat (do that before daybreak if possible) can be a real bear at times so be prepared for that.

And then there's Key West itself. The lower part of Duval in Old Town is one of the places everybody remembers but you could be there with a lot of other everybodies if there is/are one or more cruise ships in. Yes, it is funky and fun and yes I think it is worth at least one visit.

Reading back through your original post: do you really need two days in Miami? I ask that because you are asking for recs about things to do. If there are a lot of things in Miami that are of interest I would consider dropping Key West entirely.

I know these are difficult decisions and I live down here and we want your money but also want you to have a memorable and pleasant experience, too.
Dukey1 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2016, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 9,171
It is May and it was 90 here today. Make sure your hotel has a nice pool. I always say stay on Disney property, longer hours for the parks and free transportation without having to pay.
Kennedy space center if you must but the port and the beach would be better. Cape Canaveral beaches are better than Cocoa Beach imo. Less crowded.
Cherie Down Park, 8330 Ridgewood Ave, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 free parking, showers and bathroom.

I love Key West much more than Miami. When you get into Key Largo and the red lights have you backed up, take the side streets.
flpab is offline  
Apr 1st, 2016, 08:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 8,169
DH and I are doing the drive to Key West in three weeks time, with our DD and her fiancee. We have been educated by other Fodorites on Facebook, to make it at least a two day trip rather than one day. We have booked a night at Islamorada, so we can take our time.
nelsonian is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2016, 06:51 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,021
We did a day trip to Key West from Islamorada a couple of years ago and it was too much driving. Cannot imagine doing a one-day RT from Miami. For one thing, once you get there after all that driving, it might be too hot to walk around. Not a good idea!

Go south as far as Marathon (stop to feed the tarpon at Robbie's near the south end of Islamorada) and turn around, if you feel you must "do" The Keys in one day.


If you want to try Key Lime pie, stop at Ma's Fish Camp on the main road on Islamorada (closed Wednesdays).
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 5th, 2016, 08:34 PM
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 2
We did 1 day trip to Key West last summer, left our resort at 6:30am returned at 4:30am next day. we were tried and lost most of the next day. We loved views and sight of Key West and we mainly did Duval Street and few other places on Key West but, could not think of doing trip with 3 children. We do have lot of great memorable moments. Lots of walking.
klbrascal is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 19,737
I like Key West, but IMHO the combination of the long drive and the fact that Key West isn't what I'd call a family destination would make me want to skip it if I were in your shoes.

If I were you, with the kids, I'd plan a day or two at a beach near the Kennedy Center while staying at a place that has a pool. You're already at the coast, so why not have some beach time?
vincenzo32951 is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 8,169
We are back form our trip to Key West, and it was a great drive. We basically didn't stop though until we got there at 2pm. We spent three hours or so there, and then drove back to Islamadora for the night. Our DD, fiancee was driving. If we had done the drive ourselves, we would have stopped a lot more on the way, stayed the night in Key West, and then driven back. We started at Boca Raton.

We did stop at Miami Beach on our way back. I would not do this trip with young children unless you were taking your time and had plenty of stops.
nelsonian is offline  
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