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Key Largo, Islamorada, or Key West: Best for a "Detox Vaca?"

Key Largo, Islamorada, or Key West: Best for a "Detox Vaca?"

Jan 10th, 2009, 08:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 43
Key Largo, Islamorada, or Key West: Best for a "Detox Vaca?"

The travel bug is biting again...hard, this time! I could use some advice about a trip I'm planning to the Keys in early April for about 4 days. Flying into Miami, then renting a car from there.

It's essentially a "detox" vacation (as in, "get away from it all") so I don't need a huge bar scene or internet access. I'd love to spend time reading, walking the beach, and enjoying Florida sunsets. That's not to say I plan to be a slug - I'd also like some nice bike rides, snorkeling, a great dinner or two.

Key Largo appeals to me because of its proximity to Miami and its laid-back reputation. I've heard/read it's not as scenic as the lower Keys. True?

Islamorada seems great, but I'm having difficulty finding a mid-price hotel available at that time (Cheeca, the Moorings are a bit beyond my ideal budget.) Also, does Islamorada have a "town center," or is it more spread out?

From what I've read on Fodor's, Key West seems extremely walkable, which I like, with lots of neat things to do. It also seems very tourist-y and party-centric, which I want to avoid.

Any input would be much appreciated. Thanks!
butibeentoOklahoma is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 01:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,540
Is your trip pretty set in stone to be in the Keys or would you be open to some suggestions about other cities in Florida that might fit the bill?
ccolor is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 01:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,380
Realistically, Key West is your only choice. The other towns are spread out, lacking village centers.

In Key West, there are enough nooks and crannies to avoid the bar scene. The place is what you make it. One firm suggestion: Take the conch train tour on arrival. It pretty much covers the island, and you get a sense of what you want to see later, in-depth.

Biking's a great idea--it's a tough town to find a place to park. You could also consider flying directly into Key West--the current car-rental rates are horrendous. The down-side to that, though, is that you miss that lovely drive (there are dissenting voices here) down through the chain....

We had a convertible one year, and I had to pull my wife back down in her seat as we passed over the 7-Mile Bridge!
bookhall is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 08:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,518
I agree with going straight to Key West. The other keys are on the highway down, and aren't walking-friendly.

Key West is very much what you make of it. We go for 2 weeks in the fall and another two weeks in the spring. We read, sit on a balcony and watch boats, eat good meals and walk. That's about it. If you stay away from Duval, you won't hit that "party central" atmosphere.
SusanCS is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 11:16 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 43
Thanks for the help so far. Truthfully, flying directly into Key West hadn't even crossed my mind - but it looks like it would be a lot more cost-effective (I'd spend a bit more on airfare, but save a lot more by not needing a car rental!)

CColor - I'm certainly open to other places in Florida. The Keys appealed to me because I'm looking for that Carribbean/Bahamas feel. I've stayed in Panama City/Port St. Joe many times over the years, but I wanted to try someplace futher south.

Looks like I'll be doing some more searching on the Fodor threads for a great place to stay...
butibeentoOklahoma is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 03:01 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 69
I've been to Key West several times and can't think of a place less likely for "de-tox." We're just back from Tavernier in Key Largo--Ocean Pointe resort. Definitely budget friendly. Not a lot going on, but if you're into diving, a good place to be. And with only four days, it's only about 1.5 hour from Miami. We thought it was great--one word though...if you're looking for great beaches to walk on, the Keys are not the place for you. It's all coral reef.
HereInFranklin is offline  
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