Florida Keys - Our first trip

Old Feb 6th, 2004, 07:43 PM
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Florida Keys - Our first trip

My girlfriend & I are planning a trip to the Florida Keys the last week of April. Any advice would be great!!

We plan on flying out of Columbus, Ohio to either Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, renting a car, driving down the keys, & pitching a tent for lodging (we are on a budget). Our trip should be about 4 days/3 nights. For activities we would like to go snorkeling, boating, kayaking, biking, & hanging out on a beach.

Any suggestions for campgrounds to stay at? How about Long Key State Park or Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge?

Suggestions on car rental? Which companies have trouble-free check-in & check-out?

For activities - We pretty much want to hit Looe Key for snorkeling...suggested outfits? We thought about buying snorkel gear here so that we could jump into the water anywear. How about places to kayak for half a day?

Thanks for your advice!!
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Old Feb 6th, 2004, 07:54 PM
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For trouble free rental car pickup and return, you need to look at flying into Lauderdale, not the nightmare called Miami International Airport. It's a breeze at Lauderdale.

Sorry, don't know about camp sites, but the best snorkeling is at Largo area -- Pennekamp.

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Old Feb 7th, 2004, 02:17 AM
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We regularly fly out of Columbus to the Keys and you will probably find the flights much cheaper going to Ft. Lauderdale rather than Miami. As hard as it is for me to believe, I disagree with Patrick on which airport to fly into though since we really prefer Miami but to each his own. You might want to look at Holiday Isle on Islamorada (http://www.theisle.com/) to cover all you're looking for.
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Old Feb 7th, 2004, 02:19 AM
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Ooops sorry, I forgot about the "pitching a tent" part - Skip my hotel info!
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Old Feb 7th, 2004, 06:20 AM
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Since America West pulled out of Columbus, bargain fairs into Florida now are hard to come by. I would definitely check into flying Southwest out of Columbus into Ft. Lauderdale. Easier to get into that Miami and much better fares. Delta would be my next choice outside of Southwest, then USAir.
Car rentals we usually rent from Avis. Stay clear of Alamo in Ft. Lauderdale. The lines are long and the service stinks.

As to camping, check out Bahia Honda State Park and in Key West, Jabour's has camping available.
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Old Feb 7th, 2004, 06:21 AM
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If you can't find any decent fares out of Columbus and don't mind driving check into flying out of Dayton.
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Old Feb 8th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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Bahia Honda St Park is the ONLY real choice for camping in the keys. You're only 1/2 hour from Key West which you will want to visit for sure. Be sure to make the drive during the day because the trip is beautiful. Oh, and use Ft. Lauderdale airport.
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Old Feb 8th, 2004, 10:30 AM
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I've pitched my tent about 4 yrs. ago at Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge. This is a great place. We had a waterfront sight and it was gorgeous. There were key deer all over. There are also some apartments there. For some reason, I don't recall the shower facilities. There are also other places to camp, even one in Key West as I recall, but we were very very happy there. I also don't recall which outfit we used to go to Looe Key. But they had a double decker boat that was really great for the snorkle trip. When we went in July, I believe, it was not at all booked. We were just about the only people on board. But that might be different in April. Sorry I don't have a name for them.
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Old Feb 9th, 2004, 07:02 PM
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Thanks to everybody for the replies!! We have booked our flights & our car rental. Now to book campsites & it sounds like both Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge & Bahia S.P. are good choices. Any other advice??
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Old Feb 9th, 2004, 07:17 PM
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This list looks comprehensive:
http://www.floridakeysbest.com/famil...ys_camping.htm
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