Key West

Old Oct 18th, 2016, 06:05 PM
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Key West

Hi. My wife and I (late 50's and early 60's) are planning a trip to Key West late winter (end of February/early March). We usually go to Aruba but thought we would try something different. I always wanted to go to Key West and could use your advice. We like to stay at nice resorts within walking distance to a nearby town with plenty of choices of restaurants. We enjoy relaxing in the sun with ocean views. I realize that the resort costs will be high but since this may be are only time there not overly concerned with cost. Yet, not unrealistic. Not willing to pay over $500 per night. We plan on flying in and out of Ft. Lauderdale. Based on my research, Key West looks like where we would want to stay. I hear that Duvall Street is nice as well. Looking forward to the drive from Ft. L to Key West. What should we expect for the time it will take to drive there?
We have 7 nights. My thought was to drive straight to Key West after arriving; stay 5-6 nights and then stay in or near Ft. Lauderdale on the return for 1-2 nights. I looked at several resorts like The Reach and The Southernmost Hotel. Both look like the places we would like to stay. Again, looking for a resort or hotel or something similar right on the ocean with beautiful views. Your advice would be greatly appreciated including where to stay, places to stay, etc. Thanks, W
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Old Oct 18th, 2016, 06:42 PM
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Three or four nights in Key West is enough... add a night in Islamorada on the way down... and South Beach for 2 nights at the end and you have a perfect trip...
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Old Oct 19th, 2016, 03:26 AM
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I completely agree with garyt22 on the trip down and back.

I can't recommend a resort since we have stayed in inns/B&B's, but I would not want to be right on Duvall Street because of crowds and noise.

Somebody -- Marriott, maybe -- has a resort on an island just across a channel from downtown, connected by their private boat. I have only seen pictures, but it seemed to combine the best of both worlds if you like resorts.
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Old Oct 19th, 2016, 06:27 AM
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We liked the Hyatt in Key West.
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Old Oct 19th, 2016, 06:29 AM
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Hi Warren,

I second Ackislander's suggestion regarding Duval Street.

Duval Street, certainly the more northern part at least, has lots of souvenir shops and nightlife spots. I'd recommend being preferably a block or more away to either side of Duval Street for a hotel/ B&B if you're north of Hemingway House on Duval Street as it can be tourist mob central.

This said, I enjoyed Key West (reminded me a bit of New Orleans, but on the ocean) and hope you do too!

Best wishes, Daniel
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Old Oct 19th, 2016, 11:42 AM
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I suggest The Gardens Hotel. Not a resort, just a great small inn with a wonderful pool. Just a block from Duval but a world away. Lots of great dining options within walking distance.
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Old Oct 19th, 2016, 07:19 PM
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Being "right on" Duval depends a LOT on the day of the week (much noisier on weekends) AND whether or not any cruise ships are in which makes for a much more crowded situation during the day.

You can check the cruise ship schedule here:

http://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov/department/calendar.php

I live in Fort Lauderdale but unlike the people on this thread I am NOT a big fan of that drive to and from KW. However, if you are determined to do so please remember this: the fastest route from here would probably involve using the Florida Trunpike so-called "Homestead Extension." The problem with that is the fact that tolls on that portion are collected electronically ONLY. Unless you have a SunPass transponder or have made some sort of toll collection arrangement with your rental car agency you need to do the following:

use I-95 South from FLL and STAY ON IT. Eventually you will reach US Rte 1 South and if you use that exclusively you don't have to worry about toll collections.

The last time we were in KW we stayed at the Pier House which is at the "bottom" of Duval and yes it was noisy, and very much so. The Hyatt mentioned above might be somewhat less noisy (we ate there and frankly, I though the place was dreary but that is wholly subjective, obviously.

Duval, over the years, has not IMO improved but it IS Key West or at least one aspect of it; there are others which I think you'd do well to explore either on foot or by bicycle.

I agree that three-four nights is PLENTY but remember, I live down here.
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Old Oct 19th, 2016, 07:24 PM
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BTW, re I-95 South: DON'T use the Express Lanes which extend from near FLL to beyond Ives Dairy Road to the south and into Miami because tolls on those are also collected electronically only. And yes they WILL take a picture of your car's license plate and yes you WILL get a nasty charge from your rental agency...eventually.
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Old Oct 20th, 2016, 05:23 PM
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Thank you all for the great advice. I'm thinking we may be better off staying near Ft.Lauderdale for the first night upon arrival. That way we could take our time driving to Key West. Any suggestions on where to stay near Ft. Lauderdale? Also, on our way back home we are flying out of Ft. Luaderdale as well. We would probably want to stay somewhat within reasonable driving distance to the airport. Should we consider staying in Miami? Somewhere else? Thanks again, W
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Old Oct 20th, 2016, 07:20 PM
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Consider driving to South Beach after arrival for a night or two... that puts you closer to the Keys and will help in the traffic rush... then the Keys... then return the car on the last day and shuttle to a nearby airport hotel...

Traffic can be real bad from FTL through Miami ...
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Old Oct 21st, 2016, 01:23 AM
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IMO where you stay the night before departure depends on several things including the day of the week and the time of your flight out.

I-95 is not the only way to get to the airport here from either Miami or Miami Beach (should you decide to stay there). You could also use Rte 1 but that will come with traffic and traffic lights.

We actually have "rush hour" down here, especially on 95 during the week which is one reason the express lanes I mentioned above were implemented.

Also, the FLL airport is busier on cruise ship days (Saturday and Sunday) when the two largest cruise ships afloat are docked in Port Everglades.

Have you consulted a map of the area? If not, do so in order to get a feel of that 30 miles more or less between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

In terms of staying IN Fort Lauderdale, there is a whole range of accommodations including those which are oceanfront from which to choose. Any of those would be close enough to the airport.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2016, 03:11 PM
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Thanks again! Can't wait!
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Old Oct 23rd, 2016, 11:27 AM
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I understand you wanting to stay in a resort, but part of the Key West experience (in my mind, & I've stayed in both resorts and Inns there) is staying in a luxury Inn. It is a unique Key West experience.
There is plenty to do there besides the crazy Duval Street.
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