Please help - 1st time visit to Florida

Oct 9th, 2003, 11:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5
Please help - 1st time visit to Florida

My sisters and I would like to spend 2 weeks in Florida (From Dec. 19 thru Jan.3). We've decide to do a road trip of sort, and will be driving from Atlanta.
We need your recommendations/expertise on where to visit, hotels to stay at and must-see or do atractions and activities. We're in our 20's and have browsed through different sites and brochures on the state, and can't seem to narrow down the cities to visit. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
sharon1 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 477
2 weeks is a long time.First, do you have enough money to enjoy a two week stay. Be aware that it may be too cool to go in the ocean or Gulf of mexico. Heated pools will be fine. I live in Boca Raton. I can tell you what I know based upon an assumption that you have not been to any of these places:

Daytona Beach is a good party town for college age. You may consider a 2-3days there. Orlando is always fun. We like Universal's two parks better than anything else, but there are plenty of fans of Disney and Sea World. If you could afford it try and visit 3-4 parks over 3-4 days.
Swing down to Fort Lauderdale for 2 days. Plenty of fairly reasonable hotels on the beach near Las Olas area It is better suited and cheaper than south beach. You can always drive down to south beach and Lincoln Road area for more bars. Then head down to Key West for 3-4 days. Great bars and nightlife. People are fun and quirky.
You may never leave.
Start with Orlando
mrt is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 01:34 PM
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I would spend more time in SOuth Beach in Miami Beach than in Key
West. In Miami Beach you can go to the beach all year unless it is a rainy day.
South Beach is more than bars and Miami is more than South Beach. Now we have a boom in the Design District with some nice places like Grass and others, several art galleries and on week ends there are many exciting things like Gallery Tours, and champagne and wine in most galleries. Also Farmers and Antique Markets ...South Beach is fun walking along Lincoln and Ocean Drive and as I said the beach is very nice.
I love too the West Coast of Florida .
Graziella5b is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 01:41 PM
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South Beach and Key West would be the best places for 20 somethings.
Oct 9th, 2003, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 49
Hi Sharon1
I agree with mrt, start your adventure in Orlando(where I live)an easy drive down I75, usually takes seven hours. Both Universal(City Walk)and Disney (Pleasure Isl) have great nightlife. The theme parks will be in full xmas color. They are usually crowded the week before and after xmas.Rooms are plentiful at this time and very reasonable but could be tight during your holiday time. If you like the Beach it may be a little cool but Ft Lauderdale and especially South Beach in Miami would be fun regardless. I was recently in Key West for Fantasy week, now that a little party town. If you'll give us a little more feed back we can be more specific. This site can be very helpful,it was for me in planning my recent trip tp San Francisco.
DIVER is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 04:40 PM
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Thank you all for the great suggestions.

We have decided to do orlando, Ft Lauderdale, South Beach and Key West.

Now the fun part -

-Since the first stop will be orlando, will this be the best place to spend xmas or south beach?
how about New Year's?
-Will you please suggest moderately priced hotels for each city. we are willing to pay up to 200/night
- Do you suggest we spend the night anywhere between miami and key west or just drive straight to Key West.
sharon1 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Have change for the toll roads
halbo49 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 05:08 PM
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Hi In South Beach, you can try several small hotels The Cardozzo is one, the Winter Haven another and several Orlando, to do the Parks I like the Hampton Inn in Lake Buena Vista and nearby suites Homewood suites ? belonging to same group of hotels, both are fairly new and are not expensive. There tons of hotels in Orlando....good luck.
Graziella5b is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 880
In Miami and Orlando, you can get great deals on nice hotels through

Go to first to see which hotels are awarded in each area and the amount that was bid.

I wouldn't recommend using priceline for Key West though. It is very important to stay in Old Town in Key West. There are many nice B&B's and guesthouses in Key West. Stay close to Duval Street and walk everywhere.

Have a great time!
Laurie is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 11:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 556
Hi Sharon

I have just got back from a very similar two week trip to Florida from the UK. I am in the middle of doing a brief trip report but haven't had chance to finish this yet. However I thought it may be usefulf I reply now.

I split 14 nights as follows:
- Orlando 5
- Fort Lauderdale 2
- Key Largo 1
- Key West 3
- Miami 3

If I were doing it again, I'd chop Orlando altogether (to me, the other places I went to had much more appeal) although I am glad I included it this time (off season so there were no crowds helped).

If you want details of places we stayed or anything we did (we being a group of five 20-somethings) then please let me know. All our hotels were within your budget of $150 but rates at your time of year will be quite a bit higher than September.

You don't mention your interests which may affect peoples recommendations.
Dave_ is offline  
Oct 10th, 2003, 06:39 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 647
I can help you with Ft. Lauderdale places to stay. You can try Priceline Resorts in Ft. Lauderdale Beach and will get a very nice hotel, most likely Marriott Harbor Beach Resort.

If Priceline isn't your way of booking a room, I'll look into the rates of some of the nice places on the beach. When selecting a hotel, stay south of Sunrise Blvd and you'll be able to walk to just about everything along the strip.

Heartburn3 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2003, 08:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 268
As you begin to put together an itinerary, Sharon, note that it might already be too late to find room under $200 for New Years in Key West. The town (actaully, the Keys in general)is snowed under by partiers from all over south Florida during NYE.
Larry1 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2003, 08:31 AM
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When you cross over the Florida border, stop at the first welcome center and pick up a copy of Traveler Discount Guide or Travel Saver Discount Guide. You will find coupons for hotels.

The discount books have the Fairwinds, which is a great little hotel in the middle of the art deco district in South beach for $49. There are also some great deals on places in the keys. You can also go online at

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