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Key West

Old Apr 8th, 2003, 03:42 PM
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Key West

Traveling to Keys with Family - Mom-Dad 3 "kids ages 24,20 & 18. Planning 3 nights in Key West , 1 in Key Largo and 1 night (will arrive mid afternoon ) in mid keys - Good Plan? Any suggestions on places to stay and things to do in each place?
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Old Apr 8th, 2003, 03:59 PM
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In Key Largo, go to John Pennecamp state park. It great for snorkeling(we were beginners), boat rentals, etc. It has showers, food, etc. (bring sandals or beach shoes to get to the water. The coral beach is tough on the feet).We had stayed at the CocoPlum in Marathon. It was clean, had seperate bedrooms, living room, kitchen, etc. There is a beach there & a pool. We took a snorkeling day trip to Looe Key Preserve out of the Looe Key Dive Shop.It was so beautiful. They made 3 different stops on the reef. It was unbelievable ,except for those that got seasick. We saw lots of sealife.It was very pretty. Take an underwater disposible camera.It's only about 16 feet deep average. In Key West go to the Sunset Celebration . Carnival atmospere & a gorgeous view of the sunset.
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Old Apr 8th, 2003, 05:01 PM
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The Pier House in Key West is a great spot at the end of Duval next to Mallory Square. They have a pool with tiki bar, and a small beach. It's also close to the aquarium for the kids.
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Old Apr 8th, 2003, 05:49 PM
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Your "kids" are a great age for Key West! In my opinion, they'll probably find lots more stuff to do there than in the upper or middle keys. All keys have plenty of water sports available, but Key West also has nightlife, a variety of restaurants, and lots of other tourist activities. Where you might want to stay in Key West depends on how much money you want to spend. As a rule, the closer you are to the Gulf, the more it'll cost.
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Old Apr 9th, 2003, 06:07 AM
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Stay at the Ocean Key Resort. Great hotel and great location!
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Old Apr 9th, 2003, 10:23 AM
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Mid key area-Islemarada (sp?) Hampton Inn & Suites. Nice pool, hot tub, great breakfast and Tiki bar. Connected to the Outback Steakhouse too. Have fun!
Pam
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Old Apr 9th, 2003, 11:02 AM
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Islamorada. I agree, fun place.
 
Old Apr 12th, 2003, 06:06 PM
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Thanks for all the help - please keep ideas coming. We are hoping not to have to spend more that 250 a night for room - Any ideas where can get reduced rates- Used Priceline a few years ago was not happy with hotel .
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Old Apr 12th, 2003, 06:16 PM
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If you can, rent scooters. They are an efficient way to see Key West. Avoid tourist trap-like areas (Hard Rock, Planet Hollywood, etc..). Turtle Kraals is a great bar/restaurant, and the Hemingway museum is also good. Also, take a trolley tour
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Old Apr 12th, 2003, 09:57 PM
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We recently stayed Mid-Keys on Long Key at the Lime Tree Bay Resort. We loved it, very reasonable priced, pretty campground-like area right up to the water, lots of coconut and banana trees, warm pool with spa overlooking ocean, and a boat hut. The room was very clean and comfortable and the staff nice and helpful--we can't recommend it enough!

Also, we spent the day about 30 miles to the south of hotel at Bahia Honda state park, it is just gorgeous. Wonderful powdery sand beaches with crystal clear turquoise water filled with sea life (saw lots of cool crabs, fish, and even an eagle ray). Rented a kayak and paddled out to a mangrove island, tons of fun, and the best part is being pretty far out in the ocean in the kayak but being able to get out and walk around because the water's still only up to yr waist!

We also took a trip from there to Looe Key for snorkeling which was awesome, nice crew on the boat, they helped me a lot because it was my first time snorkeling. It was about $37 each which included the gear.

There's hiking, which we didn't have time to do, but we saw a cool butterfly garden. The facilities are nice and clean too.

There's something for everyone there, you'll dig it.
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 12:13 PM
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Hasn't the Planet Hollywood in Key West been closed for a couple of years?
 
Old Apr 14th, 2003, 01:07 PM
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GoTravel - yes...Planet Hollywood has been closed for quite some time.
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 03:40 PM
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For that age group (yours and theirs), I think the two most special things about the Keys would be the Key West "scene", especially evenings but also daytime, and snorkeling at Pennecamp or Looe Key. Other possible activities are boating (kayaks or motors, to fish or observe nature), the beach (Bahia Honda is nicest but several others can be OK), history/architecture/art (mostly Key West).

What are your interests? You might want to spend only two nights in Key West, with the extra night somewhere between Key Largo and Big Pine Key so that you can do more snorkeling/boating.

In Key West it will be much more fun if you stay in or near "Old Town" (west of the intersection of White and Truman). You'll really get the Key West experience and you can walk to everything. Also the kids would be able to stay out later than the old folks (or vice versa). Unfortunately it will be more expensive. Two reasonably-priced Old Town places that would sleep all of you in one unit and have kitchens are Jabour's and Artist House Villas. Note that I haven't even SEEN either of them; just uncovered them in researching our trip.

If you post something about your interests and preferences you'll probably get more focused postings in reply.
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 07:52 AM
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Unless you need a place to park your camper or RV, you'll want to avoid Jabour's. It's really just a large, gravel covered city lot, and totally lacking in tropical ambience. The location is great, and it's the only game in Old Town for RVs, but that is IMO all that can be said for it.
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 08:22 AM
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Actually Eef what Carol is talking about is the cottages that Jabour's has. They do not overlook the parking lot of the RV park.
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 06:40 PM
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I agree you'd want to think pretty hard about staying at Jabour's . . . you can't beat the rate but I imagine this is a case of "you get what you pay for". I talked to the owner or manager on the phone and I didn't get the sense that the grounds were particularly nice. So I didn't consider booking. BUT, debbiesm, it could be just right for your family, depending on your desired price/amenity point!
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 02:44 PM
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Thanks for the great advise- Our interest are - Husband has to see anything to do with Buffet,Daughter wants Dolphins. Sons want to look for love in all the wrong places. Boys loved idea of renting motorbikes - however I think I remember reading a warning about one of the companies on this board?, I am hoping for a nice sunset cruise- want to see sunset celebration. Drink a Cosmo while enjoying great view and forget about work and tution payments- Everyone interested in snorkling. Would like to keep lodging around 200 a night could go a little higher for something nice.
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 07:08 PM
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In Key Largo, try Kelly's on the Bay. Clean, affordable and they can give you accommodations for your family. They have a dive center on site (Aquanuts) that can take you snorkeling or you can go on your own in Pennekamp as others have suggested. Try Mrs. Mac's Kitchen in Largo, affordable and a varied menu for everyone from meatloaf to grilled Mahi-Mahi. Islamorada is great also. Actually the Lower Keys but Big Pine is a good stop, Underseas can take you snorkeling to Looe Key, good people. Parmer's Place on the adjacent key south, Little Torch I think is great for a stay. Once again clean and affordable. Try The No Name Pub for pizza, really killer! Someone will have to give you directions. Down at Mile Marker 25 is Monte's Seafood, seafood "shack" but really great food at a great price. In Key West, try the Spindrift Mptelon Simonton. It was purchased and remodeled a couple of years ago. Just a plain Jane motel but once again, clean and cheap with a pool. A little higher up but you might stay in your limit is the Southernmost Motel on the Atlantic end of Duval. B.O.'s Fish Wagon on Caroline, El Siboney on Catherine for Cuban and the Deli on Simonton are all good eats at a good value. Blue Heaven is very good but a little more pricey. If your husband is a Buffett fan, go to the Dennis Pharmacy on Simonton for breakfast or lunch. It is an old Buffett hang out. Good simple food at very low price. After a little bit of fame, he used to slip in the back door. June Keith's (she lives in Key West) guide book to the Keys has a section on Buffett info in Key West. She has allot of Buffett knowledge. We have a mutual friend in Retired Admiral Red Best who commanded the base in Key West for several years and took Buffett in his first fighter plane. He has also played harmonica in Buffett's band. If in your budget, take the Conch Train Tour... cheesey but tons of local information. Also the ghost tour that leaves each night from the La Concha Hotel on Duval is allot of fun. You won't run out of anything to do!!! Enjoy.
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Old Apr 18th, 2003, 01:44 AM
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I'll second that note on Mrs. Mac's Kitchen. Their fish and shrimp basket, with onion rings instead of fries, is just plain awesome. And when in Key West, catch at least one sunset from the top of La Concha. There's a nice little service bar up there, so you can have your drink, see the sunset, and get a nice view of the island.
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Old Apr 19th, 2003, 09:49 AM
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Snorkeling:
We�ve gone out with the concessions in the state parks. Pennekamp in Key Largo http://www.dep.state.fl.us/parks/dis.../johnpennekamp and Bahia Honda (to Looe Key) www.dep.state.fl.us/parks/district5/bahiahonda. They�re both fine. Snorkelers only (no scuba), one site, 90 min. water time. You can get longer trips with other companies.

Dolphins:
In the wild or in captivity? At least one company in Key West offers a snorkel/dolphin boat tour. Key West snorkeling isn�t as good as Looe Key or Pennekamp, and I don�t know the likelihood of actually seeing dolphins. Then there�s the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key (north of Marathon) www.dolphins.org.

Lodging:
Near Bahia Honda, we stayed at the Old Wooden Bridge Fishing Camp on Big Pine Key. You can get a cottage that will sleep all of you. It�s quiet and inexpensive, but lacks charm and is kind of out of the way. Advantages -- you�ll see Key Deer on the road at dusk, and you�re right by the No Name Pub (mentioned above by Flex). If you just want motel rooms, Big Pine Key Motel might do (though I haven�t seen the rooms). There are a number of inexpensive motels in Marathon. Sombrero Beach (Marathon) is nice. Not as nice as Bahia Honda, but it's free.

In Key Largo we stayed a few years ago at the Sunset Cove motel. Right on the beach (bayside) and VERY funky. I think they may have a big unit that would fit all of you. The very best feature was the manatee who came to the dock every day with her calf. Of course I don�t know whether she�s still at the Sunset Cove but I understand manatees are common around there. Almost as good as a dolphin!

Sunset celebration, sunset cruise, bar with nice view:
All easy to find around Mallory Square and the Key West Historic Seaport.

Love in wrong places:
The combination of staying near Duval and renting mopeds ought to do it, day or night.

Buffett:
Jimmy�s �estate� in Key West is being offered for only $2M, according to a real estate ad I picked up at the supermarket. Tell your husband to bring his checkbook . . . or maybe not!
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