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-   -   Trip advice Everglades and Keys (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/trip-advice-everglades-and-keys-714010/)

glasscrazy Jun 18th, 2007 07:57 AM

Trip advice Everglades and Keys
 
Planning a trip in the beginning of December, flying into Ft. Myers then spending the next day driving through the Everglades. Any "not to be missed" things we should see. Need advice on if we should spend the night in Florida City or Key Largo. Would appreciate any suggestions, there will be 5 adults.

I read about a restaurant that is part of the marina that provides the stone crab claws to the famous seafood house in Miami but I can't remember the name or which Key it is on, can anyone help?

Finally, we have rented the Mel Fisher Suite for our stay in Key West, anyone have any comments. It is not to late to cancel and make another reservation else where but I need a place with no or few stairs (unless there is an elevator).

Oops, one more question, anyone have any luck renting the electric cars in Key West. This seems and easier option than trying to find parking for a van.

Thanks.

keymom Jun 19th, 2007 03:39 AM

TAke US 41 (the Tamiami Trail - which goes from "Tampa to Miami"). Stop at Clyde Butcher's gallery. Beautiful black & white photos of the Everglades and other natural beauties. www.clydebutcher.com
Then go to Shark Valley in Everglades National Park. Find the park website and book a tram. Some of your party may be interested in the 15 mile bike ride (which I highly recommend). They have rental bikes at SharkValley.
From there, head to Key Largo. I don't know what restaurant you are talking about, but the Fish House has its own fish market and so has the freshest fish around. No reservations so get there early. Look at Dove Creek Lodge for housing. They have many different sized lodging choices. Only 2 years old and very nice.

floridakathleen Jun 21st, 2007 11:00 AM

Definatley stay in Key Largo over Florida City. Around the 100mm there are plenty of places to choose from. The Fish House and the more upscale Fish House Encore are at 103mm. We always eat at the FHE when we are in the area. I think they take reservations. Something for everyone on the menu including sushi.
Coming across US41 is a nice ride. It is all 2 lanes then onto the Turnpike to US1. US1 is under big time construction as they are updating the bridge at Jewfish Creek. If the traffic is good this trip from Tampa to Key Largo will take you about 6 hours in my estimation. With any kind of an accident on 41 or 1 it could be much longer. That is with no sightseeing. Make your plans accordingly.
Don't know what restaurant you are talking about for stone crab claws but in season most good restaurants have them and there isn't much differance. They are all good!
As for Key West, don't know where the Mel Fisher Suite is so cannot comment, but electric cars are a fun way to get around. You can walk almost everywhere downtown but if walking is an issue an electric car would work out fine. Parking can be a bit of a nighmare during season.


sweet_polly Jun 21st, 2007 04:49 PM

Florida City is icky. Definitely go with Key Largo.

kwgrl66 Jun 21st, 2007 08:15 PM

You definitely want to stay in Key Largo instead of Florida City. Also, it's great to drive down to Key West during the late afternoon. Great views from the bridges in the lower half of keys, and the sky turning all different colors at the same time!

As for Key West, I'm not sure where the Mel Fisher Suite is either. Is it part of a hotel or guest house? Providing that info would help pinpoint if it's a good location.

The electric cars in Key West are fun (my 9-year-old loved it, my teenager wasn't interested). Keep in mind though, it can be just as hard to find parking for them as it is for a car/van. The electric cars are good for driving around and getting to know the island (esp. since some of the streets are narrow or one-way), but they can be expensive ($80 for a couple of hours).

While you're in Key West, definitely try a sunset cruise. We recently went out on a glass bottom boat in the late afternoon. After a trip out to the reef, we returned back at sunset, watching the sun set from the boat. All that, and we avoided the crowds that gather at Mallory Square to watch the sunset and got a free glass to champagne!

You may also want to visit Ft. Zachary Taylor. It's on Southard Street through the old US Navy Truman Annex. It's a Civil War-era fort at the tip of the island. It's a state park, so you have to pay for admission (very affordable), and they have a (very rocky) beach there as well. It's usually ok if you wear beach shoes.

And from a Key West native: Enjoy your trip!

birder Jun 23rd, 2007 11:42 AM

You definitely need to stop at Anhinga Trail in the Everglades (shortly after the main entrance). You will see SO MUCH wildlife on a such a short little walk. You won't be disappointed.

RedRock Jun 23rd, 2007 06:49 PM

If at all possible and time permits drive the main part of the park and to Flamingo. Its worth a day.... For a more scenic and relaxed drive take Card Sound Road (SR905A) from Florida City to Key Largo and stop at Alabama Jacks.

glasscrazy Jun 28th, 2007 09:20 AM

Thanks for all the great info. FYI the Mel Fisher Suite is a rental house. But I am concerned as I was reading a post in the archives that stated all rentals must be 1 week but we are renting just for 3 nights. Any comments.

GBC Jun 28th, 2007 12:14 PM

I second the notes about the Anhinga Trail. It is especially great just before sunset. If I could visit only spot in the Everglades, this would be the one. You reach it from the Homestead entrance.

By the way, if ANY of you are seniors, bring your "Golden Eagle" pass and the Everglades are free. In any case, bring your camera and your sunblock.


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