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South Florida help including driving routes and inexpensive east coast hotels.

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Jan 14th, 2005, 01:16 PM
  #1
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South Florida help including driving routes and inexpensive east coast hotels.

Friends from England are coming to NY and then we're all going to Fla., flying into West Palm. I normally stay with family in Boca so not too familiar with a lot of hotel options. Here are my questions

1. Recos for hotels/motels near Boca on or across from the beach, nice but cheap (~$100-130/night).

The ones I know about or have researched are the Hilton Singer Island, Holiday Inn in Highland Beach, Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel-ocean resort in Deerfield and Marriott in Delray. Opinions or other ideas? Would Lauderdale by the Sea be too far?

2.Suggestions for best car rental. Will there be a big drop off fee to rent from West Palm and drop at Miami? Would renting from FLL be better?

3..Best inexpensive but nice South Beach hotel.

4.They want to see the Everglades and perhaps visit with friends in Tampa. They fly home to London from Miami. What would be the best route/order for them? Boca area/Tampa/Everglades/Miami?

Thanks in advance. Sorry for the multiple questions.
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Jan 14th, 2005, 02:22 PM
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Hi, mclaurie. I'll leave #1 and #3 up to others.
In most cases in Florida there is NO drop off fee from one city to another. You need to check companies for actual quotes. We fortuntely are usually able to rent from Dollar or Naional a one way rental between Naples and either Miami or Ft. Lauderdale airports for a total of about $35 (one day rentals).

Sadly, they'll probably have to do some backtracking on that trip to Tampa. They might go across Tamiami Trail (US 41 to Naples) to go throught the Everglades and could even make a stop in Shark Valley (south) or at Everglades City, nearer Naples. Then head up I-75 to Tampa. Coming back they could take I-75 all the way down from Tampa and across to Ft. Lauderdale and one of the other expressways back up to West Palm.
Or they could take Route 70, a two lane road all the way across the state from Bradenton to Okeechobee, then 710 down to West Palm. It would be a change and if they're headed back to West Palm, it could actually be quicker than I-75. It is also a way to see some of the real "backwoods" Florida. The road is surprisingly desolate. If you look at a Florida map, you can also pick up some alternatives to that route that would let them follow the shore of Lake Okeeechobee (although mostly you don't see a lot unless you get over to it and up on top the banks).

If you look at another post here about route from Tampa to Miami, there is a lot more detail about the Alligator Alley vs. Tamiami Trail route across the state.

Ooops. Now that I reread your post I see they are flying home from Miami. They could reverse those routes going to Tampa from West Palm area, and coming back via the Everglades. Or just do Boca, go across I-75 and up to Tampa, then back down to Naples and across through the Everglades, ending in Miami.
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Jan 14th, 2005, 02:58 PM
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S. Beach:

From what I've heard and seen, the best deal in South Beach might be the Sherbrooke. Great location and looks clean and happy : ) Unfortunately, I've not done a personal walkthrough but here's some raves and info:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...h_Florida.html

I have personally walked-through and liked the Blue Moon, owned by the same group who owns the Essex and the WinterHaven. Web site: Essex.com I think.

I've heard others say there are no drop-off fees in FL. Tampa is a 4 hr. drive from Miami.

Hope this is helpful.
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Jan 14th, 2005, 03:00 PM
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Ooops. EssexHotel.com
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Jan 15th, 2005, 04:44 AM
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Thank you both! What's the best way to see the Everglades? From any particular direction? Is there a best part and is it nearer Miami or the West Coast or inbetween? I know the power boat things are non pc and they're very environmentally aware.
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Jan 15th, 2005, 05:30 AM
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There are two ways to enter the Everglades. I'd pick between them based on convenience. As Patrick notes, Shark Valley is off US 41 and could be a stop on the drive between Miami and Naples. This entrance features a tram tour out to an observation tower. The other entrance is south of Miami at Florida City (about a 30 min drive). There is a large visitor's center at the entrance. From there, you can go to several different stops. My favorite is Anhinga Trail. It has a boardwalk that puts you thisclose to birds, gators, etc. Check out the National Park Service website for more info.
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Jan 15th, 2005, 06:22 AM
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Keysmom is right. And it occurs to me that my mention of Everglades City might mislead people. While Everglades City at the Western end of the Everglades is a sort of quaint and oldfashioned community, it does not offer much in the way of really seeing the Everglades. We once did a National Park boat there and it was boring beyond belief -- we saw nothing but a few common birds you'd see anywhere in Southwest Florida.
I keep wanting to go to Shark Valley and rent bicycles and do the loop there by bike, but. . . well, maybe one of these days. I've only lived down here for 30 years.

By the way on your way across, you really should stop at one of the Indian centers and try some "frybread" or anything else. Or have lunch at the hole-in-the-wall BARBEQUE place just a few miles west of the Indian Casino on the outskirts of Western Miami.
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Jan 15th, 2005, 08:52 AM
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mclaurie, there are some wonderful little mom and pop motels right at the Sailfish Marina on both sides of the restaurant on Singer Island. Let me call one of my girlfriends and get the name. They used to spend a month at a time at one of them.

The Penguin is decent in South Beach and cheap also the Fairview. I can't place the Sherbrook.
 
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Jan 15th, 2005, 09:13 AM
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mclaurie, I couldn't catch up with Vicki but after a little research found that you can book directly with Sailfish Marina. Maybe they own the two motels? Anyway, they are lakefront on Lake Worth, have pools, and they can walk to the beach. The website is:

www.sailfishmarina.com

This is what the site has to say:

"Although primarily a famous fishing destination, the Sailfish Marina and Resort has a lot to offer the vacationer or non-fishing guest. Our guest quarters are all unique with a tropical island feel. Each room is named after a fighting fish or a Bahamas Island. Many rooms have kitchenettes or full kitchens for families and extended stays. Sunbathe at our new pool, stroll on our docks, shop in our charming ship's store, or dine in one of our two restaurants. Close by you will find clean sandy beaches, dinner/dance cruises, Bahamas excursion, Jai-Alai, and dog racing at the Kennel Club. Take our water taxi to Palm Beach County's BEST destinations, including the newly renovated and bustling downtown West Palm Beach and City Place, Peanut Island, and make connections for Worth Avenue; or be your own captain and rent from Island Boat Rentals."

I think the motel rooms start at $99 per night in season and are much cheaper off season. The water taxi ride is cool and they can go see the manatees at the power plant (they hang out in the warm water the plant flushes during the winter), take a tour of Rybovich Spencer (mega mega yachts), tour peanut island, and tour the mansions of Palm Beach by water.
 
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Jan 15th, 2005, 09:29 AM
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GT, will you get outside and clean up the place, puh-leaseeeee!

To clarify about the manatees, they visit the power plants only when the weather is cold. Our weather has been unseasonably warm this year in FL so I've heard there are few sightings this year in the manatees usual spots. A call to the power plant viewing center should tell the visitors whether it will be worth a trip -- which it certainly is if you can see one of these fabulous creatures (related to the elephant, their flippers look a bit like elephant "feet").
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Jan 15th, 2005, 09:45 AM
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I can't help it TandooriGirl! You know us trashy South Carolinians are trying to be as tidy as you Floridians.

Good call about contacting the power plant. They have a great viewing area.
 
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Jan 15th, 2005, 09:49 AM
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Yall need to git yallsselfs some bad-a-s eeeevil-doers like wut we's gots hee-uh in Flow-duh.
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Jan 29th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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mclaurie, I finally caught up with my girlfriend who lives in Palm Beach and these are the places she gave me that are lake front on Lake Worth on Singer Island and inexpensive. She also said the people at Sailfish Marina are awsome.

Bellatrix Resort (no website)
561-845-8222

Shorehaven (no website but between Lake and ocean, you can walk to either)
561-845-2447

Cannonsport Marina (I once spent a week here on a sailboat before a trip to the Bahamas, excellent motel, very cool, very 1950s). I think the motel is the Bon Aire Yacht Club
www.cannonsport.com
561-844-5588

Snug Haven Apartments (Lakefront)
www.portside1.com
561-842-1215

She said she has stayed in all of the above and they are great mom and pop motels. Since she can be a snob (I really love her but she can), I don't hesitate to second hand recommend them.
 
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Jan 29th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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Thank you so much GoTravel. We leave on Monday. (Can't wait to get out of this freezing cold weather). Friends decided to stay at the Deerfield Beach HoJo for at least the first night. It's the cheapest/closest to us on the beach. Will then check out Singer Island. Thanks again.

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Jan 29th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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mclaurie, you all must hit Sailfish Marina on a Thursday evening for the scene and the festival. Lots of fun!

Try and get to the Lake Trail if you can and have a blast!
 
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Jan 29th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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Remind me what the Thurs. nite scene is?
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Jan 29th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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It is the Thursday Night Sunset Art Celebration with all kinds of art vendors. The restaurant is also named Sailfish Marina.

www.sailfishmarina.com

From the site:

The Sailfish Marina and Resort is located on the sunny tropical island off Palm Beach and has something for everyone whether you come by boat or car. Everyone who visits the marina spends time walking on the docks looking at the million dollar yachts and watching hundreds of fish in the crystal clear water. With unique guest quarters, ship's store, and a dockside restaurant, everything for a relaxing tropical getaway is at your finger tips. The Sailfish Marina is the home of one of the world's largest and finest sportfishing fleets with boats available for charter ranging in size from 28' to 60'. We have water taxis that are available for narrated tours of historic Palm Beach as well as for transportation to and from Palm Beaches' BEST destinations. Celebrate the beginning of the weekend every Thursday night with the "Sunset Celebration" an art show held along our seawall. Cruise the Intracoastal aboard an Island Boat Rental, or explore the island on one of our bike rentals.

 
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Jan 29th, 2005, 12:42 PM
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mclaurie:

Pompano and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL are approx 30-40 miles south of West Palm There are many motels on El Mar that are easy access to the beach and the motels are pretty inexpensive. Again I can only say Coral Key at LBTS because that is where I've stayed and many Europeans stay there also, actually any motel is nice, I remember Little Inn by the Sea, The Oasis, Blue Seas Courtyard. Depending on when you are going (high or low season) getting a moderately priced hotel can be hard on South Beach. If you are going high season you might want to try North Miami they have more affordable places 15th or 17th and above. If you are going to South Beach in summer the rates drop dramatically. Sorry I couldn't be more help.
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 02:09 PM
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Stephanie,
What do you man by El Mar? We will be looking for a place for APril (I know, still high season ) for 2 nights--we are very flexible as to where--want something cheap with a pool...
thanks!
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 05:10 PM
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South Beach hotel...we liked the Park Central Hotel right on Ocean Dr. We got an Ocean Front room on Dec. 11 and 12 for under $200 a night. We could have gotten cheaper rooms via Expedia (about $125 a night as I recall) at the Park Central but opted for the ocean front. Really liked the hotel, location, etc.
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