drive from fort myers to the keys

Old Jun 7th, 2002, 05:29 AM
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drive from fort myers to the keys

Any suggestions for the best route, including times of day, etc, to drive in August from fort myers (staying on Sanibel Island) to the keys...time to allow, suggested car rental company, sights that are a must see, etc. First time south florida visit or a midwest family with kids (all ages). Thanks!
Old Jun 7th, 2002, 05:46 AM
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Just to get to the tip of the Keys will take you 4 hours. Add another 2-3 to get to Key West.
Old Jun 7th, 2002, 08:47 AM
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take inerstate 75(toll) or route 41 to the ends in Florida City/Homestead...and and 1 to Key`s 2 lane to KW..and traffic can be slow...and not too much passing...I`d say 4hours to and another 4 to KW.....
Old Jun 7th, 2002, 08:54 AM
Posts: n/a out travelocty and expedia and orbitz for car prices and all the rental websites.....can sometimes get a good net rate on their own web-sites...other than a few Indians reservations and the Everglades on 41....there isn`t much too see..Key Largo has the boat from a movie(?can`t remmeber the name) and Alabama Jack`s Bar on Card Sound`s a down to keys is fantastic....
Old Jun 7th, 2002, 09:53 AM
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Thanks for all the info! I'll check the sites mentioned for car rental rates. If anyone knows one or two particular car rental companies to avoid, please respond.
Old Jun 9th, 2002, 03:13 AM
Paul Hynes
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Hi, we did the same journey last August with two kids. We left F. Myers
early morning, drove through the everglades and arrived in Key Largo for lunch time - spent a few hours there - then carried on our journey -
stayed overnight on route at Grassy Key
(not much there), the following morning drove down to Key West - only
an hour away - spent the day there -
brilliant but very hot, stayed overnight and drove back to fort myers
the next day - took about 4.5 hours.
A long journey but well worth it. If
we I can help with anything let me know.
Old Jun 9th, 2002, 03:13 PM
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I'm not sure if it is still in business but there was a boat/ferry that went from Ft. Myers and Naples to Key West. I think it is called Key West express. I would call the Ft. Myers chamber/visitors bureau and ask them . You could take it for a day or stay overnight and it's alot faster then driving. I think the boat trip is only about 2-3 hours, maybe less. Also, Cape Air flies from Ft. Myers and Naples to K.W. but is more expensive. Once you are in K.W. you really don't need a car if you are in the Old Town area. If you do decide to drive make sure you avoid the Miami area between 3-7 pm on a weekday!! Have fun.
Old Jun 9th, 2002, 04:05 PM
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my mom just took that boat from Naples to Key West-- about $100 per person and half the boat got seasick--but she said she would do it again!
Old Jun 10th, 2002, 04:01 PM
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Thanks also to Paul, III and Patty for the information - This will help us alot!!
Old Jun 10th, 2002, 04:41 PM
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You don't mention how many people in your family - on our last visit, we flew from the Midwest into Ft Myers airport, then took Cape Air small plane to Key West. It was well worth it; we stayed a couple nights, then picked up our rental car & drove back up to Sanibel Island. (We agree that it's not needed in Key West). The boat at Key Largo the previous poster referred to is the original "African Queen" of Spencer Tracy/Kate Hepburn fame; there are also swimming-with-dolphins/wildlife viewing areas, Glassbottom boat rides, etc. along the keys. Have fun!
Old Jun 11th, 2002, 06:05 PM
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We just returned from Florida. We took the Key West Ferry from Ft. Myers. It is $129.00 per person plus tax. It is 4 hours one way so it is a total of 8 hours on this ferry. It gives you 5 hours in Key West. It leaves promptly at 7:45 A.M. We had extremley calm seas, but I heard the day before was extremely rough and people were sick. If money is not an issue, the air flight is only $155.00 round trip. You can also stay overnight which is a good idea, if possible. That would break up the 8 hours on a ferry in one day.
Old Jun 12th, 2002, 02:28 PM
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Lori- Thanks for the information on the flight/ferry fees. I'm afraid it's alittle beyond our price range (4 kids), but I was curious about the price. I guess we'll probably stick with our car rental, and maybe stay a night in Key West someplace, such as the Sheraton Suites, who should allow us all in the room. Thanks so much for your assistance!
Old Sep 15th, 2002, 08:00 AM
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Old Nov 18th, 2002, 11:04 AM
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We flew into Ft. Myers and drove to Key West - but we did it last January.
Highlights along the way: THE EVERGLADES! I didn't think I'd like the Everglades - but, for me, they were more of a treat than the Keys!
We took Highway 41 - which had a lot of very slow traffic from Ft. Myers to Naples - then it wasn't bad at all the rest of the way.

Suggest you drive along Turner River Road at least a few miles. It starts at a picnic area just off the highway N - several miles E of Hwy. 29. If you take your time, you'll see lots of alligators (they look like tires on the far bank of the canal) and beautiful birds.
Another excellent choice is the Shark Valley Visitor Center of the Everglades NP. There were many, many alligators - and again many, many birds up close! You can walk the road or take the trolley here. If your kids are't too small, I'd recommend walking - even though the alligators are so close you'll probably be trembling in your boots! I would recommend the trolley if your kids are small and might be spooked by - or tend to harass - the gators. The ranger said as long as you are responsible, respectful, and stay at least 15 ft. away, you should be fine. She said they never have problems.

Through the main gate to Everglades at Homestead, there are many, many short walking trails (1/4 to 1/2 mile) that will give you a great appreciation for the great diversity of the area. The best trail is the Anhinga Trail. It has a board walk so you'll feel safe and get a great view of the gators and birds.

In Key West, I thought the Hemingway House was interesting - lots of cats about 1/2 of which have 6 toes. You'll probably want to take pictures by the Southernmost Buoy (90 miles from Cuba). If you haven't visited a Cemetary in low lying areas, you may want to take a quick stroll thru the Key West Cemetery. Burials are above ground and the architecture is interesting.

CAR: We rented Alamo because it was cheapest - and we have always had good luck with them.

Have fun!
Old Nov 18th, 2002, 12:42 PM
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I've made that drive more than once, Lea! I usually take route 41 (old Tamiami Trail). It's only two lanes for most of the way, but you get the feeling that you're really in the Everglades. The world's smallest post office is on the road too. Fun place to stop off and mail postcards. There are all kinds of Everglades tours towards the Miami end of the trail. Usually takes about 3 hours from Ft. Myers, depending on traffic to get to Miami area. Once there, take the Turnpike south. That will get you to Homestead in another 45 minutes. Homestead to Key Largo is a mostly two-lane road that will, depending on traffic again, take about 30-45 minutes to get there. The drive through the Keys is gorgeous in parts, kind of trailer trashy kitsch in others. I would suggest not trying to drive all the way to Key West and back in one day if it's your first time there. It is a long drive and can be tiring. Plus most of the overseas highway to Key West is two-lane and any accidents really mess up the works. But to go to Key Largo might not be a bad day trip, if you have kids that can handle a long car ride. From Key Largo to Key West is udually another 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive for me and I've seen all the sights on the way down, so I don't stop too often. (Except for the dolphin bay at Hawk's Cay...I stop there everytime to say hello to the dolphins there!)
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