Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Key Largo worth a day trip from Florida City/Miami area??

Key Largo worth a day trip from Florida City/Miami area??

Old Nov 22nd, 2017, 04:13 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,067
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Key Largo worth a day trip from Florida City/Miami area??

Is Key Largo worth a day/half day drive from Florida City? Is the drive to there at all scenic or does the 'scenic' part start further south than Key Largo? Is there any kind of town or is it just highway and motels. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park looks interesting for snorkeling/, etc. but I won't have time for that.

I have one extra day on a 9 day trip to Florida. First several days in Ft Myers visiting a friend, and we are taking the ferry to Key West (and back to Ft Myers) for one night. Then I was planning on renting a car and driving to the Everglades for one day, night in Florida City. At the end I have 2 nights/ 2 and a half days in Miami Beach. So I'm trying to decide what to do with one extra day.

What do you think?
isabel is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2017, 06:10 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,111
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi, isabel! I haven't been there for years, but did not think it worth while. YMMV, and my impressions could be seriously out-of-date.
kja is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2017, 09:55 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 5,544
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would wedge a day in Naples right after leaving Ft Myers... Vanderbilt Beach, Wiggins Pass, shopping, dining, lunch at the Ritz Carlton... much better than Key Largo. ..
garyt22 is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2017, 06:22 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 23,336
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Spent the extra day in Key West. There is nothing much in Key Largo except the park.
ekscrunchy is online now  
Old Nov 24th, 2017, 05:19 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,067
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the replies.

Hi kja - I'm afraid you are right, that's why I asked, but better to have it confirmed than to waste a day.

ekscrunchy - can't add the day to Key West as I'm going with my friend and she doesn't have the time.

We might get to Naples from Ft Myers while I'm staying there.

So now I'm thinking I'll just add a night to Miami Beach and maybe have a few extra hours in the everglades as well.

Too bad, since 'Key Largo' sounds so cool. Oh well, in general I am having much more trouble finding things I really want to do (and places to stay) in Florida. Planning my European trips I never have this problem and am always wanting to get to more places than I have time for. On this trip I'm starting to wish I have one less day (but the flights are already booked).
isabel is offline  
Old Nov 24th, 2017, 02:44 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,126
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We spent one night in Key Largo last December then headed to Key West. Love Key west Key large was not so great. I would skip it.
diann24 is offline  
Old Nov 24th, 2017, 05:37 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pennekamp State Park has re-opened after Hurricane Irma, but still has repairs being made, so maybe by your travel time it will be fully open. Pennekamp is at Mile Marker 102.5

It is true that the scenic vistas for the Keys are farther south than Key Largo. The center of Key Largo is about MM 100. Keep in mind that the Keys do not have much beach area. If you are a fan of the Bogart & Bacall movie, "Key Largo" you can stop by the Caribbean Club which is where parts of the movie were filmed.

Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill restaurant is a about a mile north of the entrance to Pennekamp SP. You may eat on the deck outside or sit indoors in the dining room an look out to Blackwater Sound through floor to ceiling windows and enjoy the boats, water and birds. The view puts me in a Keys state of mind.

>> I am having much more trouble finding things I really want to do (and places to stay) in Florida. Planning my European trips I never have this problem and am always wanting to get to more places than I have time for. On this trip I'm starting to wish I have one less day (but the flights are already booked).
DonnaFL is offline  
Old Nov 27th, 2017, 01:40 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,067
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the ideas. Maybe we'll go down to Naples during the time I'm spending with my friend in Ft Myers. Do you think Naples would be a more interesting place to spend a few hours, have dinner, watch the sun set, etc. than Ft Myers?

Actually I've been to Sanibel and Captiva Islands (my parents wintered in Venice for years so I've done a week in March in Florida many times - though not in the past several years, and never it made it further south).

I'm spending three nights in South Beach at the end of the trip. Yes it's the Art Deco style buildings that attracted me. The other places you mention, are they accessible by public transportation? (I plan to ditch the car upon arrival).


I have heard about that fruit stand, definitely going there (right near the hotel in Florida City that I booked).
isabel is offline  
Old Nov 27th, 2017, 06:13 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,578
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Florida city is about a half hour drive to Key Largo if traffic is good. Much of the drive is on a causeway with water on both sides, the rest is nothing special. I am not sure why one would want to overnight in Florida City if I understand your post correctly. In any case, Pennekamp State Park has a ranger guided glass boat tour of the reefs which we all found quite interesting - it is about 2.5 hours so will take a chunk of your day. Why not go go to Key Largo after you see the Everglade Park and overnight there instead of Fl. City. January is usually a prime time at the park where you have the best chance of seeing birds and gators. We try to visit the Anhinga trail every time we go to visit DW's relatives which has been almost every year for the past 15 or so we have been there often. I have had luck in getting some great bird photos there. Although Fl always has skeeter, January is the dry season so they should be fewer although I don't know how the hurricane affected that equation.

Donna mentioned the fruit stand called Robert is Here. DW's Cuban relatives have always called it Roberto's but it is the same place. DW's relatives make it a ritual to stop on the way to the park.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Old Nov 29th, 2017, 04:37 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Isabel,

If you are visiting a friend in Ft. Myers, it would be more convenient for you to stay in Ft. Myers. More interesting in Naples, not sure, it really depends on your interests and desire to add another place to your list of "been there,done that".

The Miami sites I listed, not sure if they can be reached on public transportation.

Florida City is a crossroads area and not scenic, there are a couple of hotels that look ok from the road, but I would usually recommend staying in another area. It really depends on your stomach for staying areas that have few tourists and some nearby areas are heavy on "character", if you get the idea.

As Basingstoke suggested, you could stay in Key Largo for a night, the difference will be the lodging room rate. Florida City will be less expensive than Key Largo and there is a reason for that, since it is more desirable to stay in Key Largo than Florida City.
DonnaFL is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2017, 10:25 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 307
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I live in Miami so I can be helpful I hope. Timing....if your talking December there is no telling what the weather will be like. Could be COLD or might be hot, so that kind of limits your possible experience.

With that in mind, I would drive, its an easy quick drive from Ft Myers to Miami. I do like Naples/Marcos, but there is nothing there that you cant get in Miami Beach, so not sure its worth the side trip if you already plan on Miami. The only real difference is that you'll feel like your still in America when in Naples/Marcos Island, where when in Miami you'll feel like you need your passport!

Is it worth going to Key Largo? Best way to answer this is IF you want to do some water sports. It really is fun being out in the water on a boat or Wave runner. Lots of places along the hwy you can rent them by the hour. Key West is a lot nicer than Key Largo but your talking another 2 hour drive. Not much to do unless you're feeling in the mood to bar hop and get wasted all day and night. Food is not bad in Key West, and worse in Key Largo area.

What I do like to do, is rent a home in the lower keys and hang out for a week, so peaceful and the stars at night are amazing, but there is nothing to do...sometimes we need that.

Sooooo much to do in Miami. Miami Beach I think is one of the most beautiful beach areas in the US. You can stay at the beach, shop along Lincoln Rd, party all night and head out to Bal Harbour for some upscale shopping or dreaming! The beach from Sunny Isles all the way down to South Beach is absolutely stunning especially at sunset.

If your looking for hotels, one of the hidden gems in Miami beach that I like to recommend is The Palms. One of the few hotels in the area where you really do feel like your on a quite resort. Be cautious where you book....the beach is PARTY CENTRAL and most places are so loud and boisterous at night you cant sleep.

Hope that helps, have fun!
Dave0099 is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2017, 01:18 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,067
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the reply.

My trip is the last week in January.

I've decided to skip Key Largo. I'm spending the first half of the week (8 full days actually) with a friend in Ft Myers and two of those days (one night) we are going to Key West (via the ferry from Ft Myers - gets into Key West around noon, departs the following day at 5).

The last three nights I've booked a hotel in South Beach.

That leaves me with 2 days (one night) to get from Ft Myers to Miami. I'd really like to just see a little of the Everglades so now I'm thinking I'd rent a car and drive to the Everglades, spend the night in Florida City and then either go back to the Everglades the next morning, or go straight to Miami and drop the car. That was the day I was thinking of Key Largo but everyone has convinced me to skip it.

So a couple questions - I'm thinking of taking Rt 41 as I've heard it can be pretty in places (Big Cypress). Would also like to avoid tolls if I can so don't have to deal with getting a sunpass. Is that a good idea?

I've heard the "best" area for a short look at the Everglades is via the Ernest Coe Visitor center near Florida City. Is that right or some place else better?

While in Miami I'd like to visit Vizcaya Museum - is that possible by public transportation?

Thanks
isabel is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2017, 07:36 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 307
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
NO, the transit system in miami is not like other cities. You'd be best to take a taxi or uber. Probably 30 each way, but most hotels offer bus service. There are a number of bus services that travel along Collins Ave and pick up people and drop you at destinations, even Key West. Its very reasonable, and I'm sure that Vizcaya is one of the stops along the route. The fare is based on where you are going.

Viscaya is an incredible place, you will enjoy that.

Now your trip to the everglades is possible, but what you need to account for that everyone always forgets is Miami TRAFFIC!!! It could take you an hour just to cross the city from the beach to get out of traffic.

The everglades is interesting, but unless you were going to do an airboat tour, I think you'll find that its just one mile after the next, and that time of the year its cool (by our standards) and the alligators and wildlife tend not to be out as a result.

Try to do a tour if you can, best way.
Dave0099 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
BRRoby
United States
5
Mar 23rd, 2015 07:59 AM
cyberbooze
United States
4
Jul 30th, 2013 11:30 AM
Cordizz
United States
9
Jul 11th, 2011 09:16 AM
sarov
United States
4
Apr 18th, 2006 09:00 AM
travel_on
United States
9
Feb 9th, 2004 07:17 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -