Key Largo Or Islamorada


Mar 31st, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Key Largo Or Islamorada

Don't know which isle to spend three nights in. looking for something nice and under $140 a night. Also any recommendation as to stay in either Isla Morada or Key Largo would be appreciated.
horsegoer is offline  
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Mar 31st, 2004, 12:26 PM
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Three nights is too long in Key Largo. We spent one day in the Everglades(Angina Trail)22miles from Key Largo, and one day at Pennecamp State Park. Both are great, but after that there is nothing to do in Key Largo!!
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Mar 31st, 2004, 12:43 PM
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I guess there isn't much to do in Key Largo - unless you like snorkeling, gambling boats, glass-bottom boats, African Queen boat ride, kayaking, shopping, nightlife.........yeah, I'd be pretty bored, too...........
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Mar 31st, 2004, 12:47 PM
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Skip Key Largo, it's a 4 lane highway with strip malls, KMart, McDonald's and not much else. Islamorada will give you a taste of the real Florida Keys. Check out for suggestions of places to stay and eat. Lots of good restaurants in Islamorada.
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Mar 31st, 2004, 12:52 PM
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When we were there a few weeks ago, the African Queen was no longer giving rides. Snorkeling and glass bottom boats were both only at the Pennecamp State Park and snorkeling depends on if the seas are rough or not. It is a beautiful park and we enjoyed it a lot but don't think I would want more than one day there. Where is there shopping?
cd is offline  
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Mar 31st, 2004, 12:54 PM
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Hold those horses!
We spent 6 nights in Tavernier
(in between Islamorada & Key Largo)
and found lots to do!as ccolor sez
We loved, adored, "best experience",
"visit of a lifetime" yada,yada,yada
at the
Island Bay Resort
I would be there now if it wasn't for this pesky thing called work!
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Mar 31st, 2004, 01:35 PM
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I'm with you cd. Two days was enough for me and dh in Key Largo also. Did same 2 things you did. The African Queen boat scared me when I went to see it last May. It was "cute" to see but didn't want to ride in it. Not much night life or even decent bars to have a couple of drinks except in hotels.

I agree water sports abound. If you scuba its heaven. It you have a boat and a place to dock it, it could be heaven too. But short of that, I ran out of things to do there too.

Loved Key West though.
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Mar 31st, 2004, 02:52 PM
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We found great shopping at Largo Cargo, the Shell Man, Key Lime Products and another shell place near Key Lime (but I can't think of the name at the moment). We found those while checking out restaurants around that part of Key Largo (Mandalay Bay, Tugboats and Mrs. Mac's Kitchen in case anybody's interested). I guess "to each his own".
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Mar 31st, 2004, 02:54 PM
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Ooops, I forgot to add - the snorkeling, glass bottom boat rides and charter fishing we know of are located at MM100 (around the Ramada and Best Western hotels) which also has Coconuts in the same general area for food and entertainment.
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Mar 31st, 2004, 03:07 PM
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We stayed a couple of nights in Isla Morada and loved it. We stayed at The Holiday Isle. I don't remember how much it was per night, I do recall it was inexpensive and the room was great, huge balcany over looking the ocean, great beach, tiki bar ect.. and there is a resturant (if it is still there) within walking distance (right over the bridge) that had great food. And if you get tired of it there Key West is only a couple of hour drive away!
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Apr 1st, 2004, 06:53 AM
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Since the all the Keys (other than Key West) are all about watersports, there is no difference between Key Largo and Islamorada. True, Key Largo does have a more "tacky" look as you drive though it, but since most people tend to spend a Keys vacation either on the water or on the grounds of their resort/hotel, I can assure you that from the waterfront you won't be able to see those unsightly stripmalls. Perhaps some of the Key Largo detractors like to spend a Keys vacation driving up and down US1 judging ambience, but most of us spend the day on the water, or sitting next to it enjoying a cold drink.
As far as things to do, Key Largo has maybe a slight edge, especially since a day trip to the everglades is a little more resonable, but both locations offer all watersports, a reasonable selection of restaurants, shopping, etc. Nightlife is fairly dull in both places (unless you like biker bars) with the exception that Islamorada boasts Holiday Isle's "Tiki Bar", which is one of the best bars in all of the Keys (including Key West) to party in. If nightlife is important to you, go with Islamorada; if not, go where you get the best rate.
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Apr 1st, 2004, 05:30 PM
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I vote also for "farther down" in the keys than Key Largo! But if you're there, go to the Wild Bird Center in Tavernier (a bit south of Key Largo on right hand side of the highway - hard to see sign). They nurse birds back to health and if you go at feeding time (maybe 4 - 5, but I forget) you'll see TONS of egrets, herons, pelicans, etc. very close up.
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Apr 1st, 2004, 10:04 PM
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As excerpted from my trip report to the Keys March 2003:

The drive down to the Keys is wonderful, especially the swampy parts at the start, and only gets better the farther out you get. Some people have referred to the town of Key Largo as having a kind of 50's charm, but we just thought it was rundown and dumpy. Really. Glad we didn't stay there.

Stayed at the Lime Tree Bay Resort on Long Key (about halfway down the Keys, an ideal central location) in a standard room. The desk clerks were very nice and helpful, and the room was clean, cool and comfortable.

Enjoyed the hotel grounds...kind of a campground feel, lots of coconut & banana trees, picnic tables, bbqs, thatched huts. There's a little pier and the pool & spa are on a deck overlooking the ocean. The whole place juts right up to the water's edge...rustic and relaxed.

Not much in the way of food nearby. Little Italy restaurant adjoining the hotel...had breakfast & dinner there, both good & reasonably priced.

Spent the next day at Bahia Honda state park. Got sandwiches from Duck Key Emporium; they were big & very good. We can't stop talking about how beautiful the park is...powdery white sand & 80 degree clear water with striations of dark blue where seaweed gathers. Rented a sit atop kayak & paddled out to a mangrove island with turtles, crabs & birds. Kayaking is easy & fun, and one of the parts we enjoyed most was being in the middle of the ocean & being able to get out of the kayak & wade around in warm waist high water!

Took the 3 hour snorkeling tour to Looe Key, 12 miles out. When I think of snorkeling, I think of swimming a few hundred yards out & there's the reef. We were shocked when the boat stopped in the middle of the ocean, they pointed about half a mile out and said, "there's the reef, go to it". The water was a little choppy from the wind that day, and I had some trouble getting used to swimming with my face down & breathing through the snorkel, but once I learned to relax, I got the hang of it & it was incredible.

Drove that night to Key West, kind of late, only to discover most restaurants had closed for food service--only alcohol. Got sent to PT's which is open late and was pretty good. The neighborhoods are pretty, fun to explore, with that old plantation feel. Duval St. was a madhouse of partying, the frat boy/wet t-shirt contest type of partying with people drinking on the streets. We love to party but even that was too much for us, kind of an insane date
rape-y vibe.


The location in Long Key was great because it's so central to everything. We could have spent a few days hanging out at Bahia Honda park, it was so freakin beautiful. I don't think three nights is too could spend one whole day in Key West including dinner, you could spend a whole day at Bahia Honda, you could go up to Pennekamp, you could go to the Dry Tortugas. The Keys are truly special and just driving over the Overseas Highway is a treat you'll never forget!


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