Florida Keys

(21 Posts)
homebythesea Mon 26-Nov-12 13:31:35

Anyone been? Where should we go - all the way to Key West or somewhere a bit further up? Are beaches nice or should we go for somewhere with a pool (will be renting villa / condo)? Whats to do when we get there? Having done some initial research I'm a bit overwhelmed so some pointers would be great!

Chopstheduck Mon 26-Nov-12 13:38:15

I've driven it. Not sure I would go there for a holiday tbh, not really a lot there! Mostly just one very very long road. I enjoyed the drive though, and there was some nice scenery, though not quite what I was expecting.

I think it I was going to stay, it would be nearer Key West, though it does get very very busy in summer. Thought Miami was very overrated, and not really worth the visit at all.

homebythesea Mon 26-Nov-12 13:40:06

Oh dear chops that was going to be our holiday sad

Chopstheduck Mon 26-Nov-12 13:40:26

Oh and beaches - there aren;t actually many at all. I think there is a few nice ones on the atlantic side, but not very big - generally very narrow.

Chopstheduck Mon 26-Nov-12 13:42:08

Ooops, sorry!

Someone may come along and say completely different, but I jsut found it a bit dreary, lots of samey looking islands. In you are into boats, fishing, or ven scuba diving it would be great.

mummymeister Tue 27-Nov-12 11:57:16

We are going in the New Year. staying in Islamorada about a third of the way down so that we can do trips to the everglades. my family are mad keen sailors so perfect for them. private message me if you want all the details of what we are going to do as i have planned everything to the nth degree and have loads of info. We will find plenty to do boat trips, snorkel trips, eco canoeing etc.

SoupDragon Tue 27-Nov-12 12:00:52

I agree about the beaches. We drove down from Miami (pre children) and stayed in various places along the way. I did love Key West but I'm not sure it's a children's holiday.

If you want glorious beaches, go to Sanibel. Although there's not much going on there smile We also enjoyed Naples and St Pete's Beach with children - all on the Gulf coast.

homebythesea Tue 27-Nov-12 12:25:22

Thanks for that - I think what we might do is base ourselves in Miami and just do a couple of days there and back to the Keys. We have teens so Miami is deemed cool enough!

SorrelForbes Tue 27-Nov-12 15:26:30

I second the Gulf Coast. Clearwater/Tampa/St Petersburg is great but a little further north. Sanibel is lovely but very quiet although you can pop into Fort Myers for shops etc.

WinklyVersusTheZombies Tue 27-Nov-12 15:33:51

We did 6 days in Miami, 1 day in Islamorada and 3 days in Key West a few years back. Definitely get a pool, the beaches in the Keys aren't much to write home about. They're small and I would be happy enough to unleash most teenagers.

Are you keen on watersports? Snorkelling off the coast is wonderful. There's a little train that takes you round the island. Its pretty and nice to just wander.

Miami is fantastic in my opinion. The beach there is good, I would highly recommend a day in the everglades. Plenty of shopping if you like that kind of thing - Aventura mall is a bus ride away. Great atmosphere. We took a private tour round the whole city which was very worthwhile.

WinklyVersusTheZombies Tue 27-Nov-12 15:35:51

Oh if you're into beaches, Bahia Honda State Park on Bahia Honda Key is stunning and worth a day out. You might get to see manatees as well if you're lucky.

We flew into Key West this summer and stayed there for 5 days (waiting for dh to join us).

We then drove up to Naples. The drive through the Keys is actually very nice as for Naples it has nice beaches, but the city is one of those typical american ones, where you have to drive everywhere, and I have now accepted that it is not my taste.

Sanibel is wonderful.

In Key West we stayed in a nice hotel, but I was quite hmm that the food was so crap for such a nice hotel. The beaches are very nice at sunset, but nothing to be wild about. There is a lovely aquarium and a butterfly sanctuary that our dc loved.

The architecture is lovely in KW and so is the flora dotting the island. The Southernmost beach is very nice, but small. The Southernmost beach cafe makes a wonderful key lime pie.

But to be completely honest, there are so many islands in the Med that are 100 times more beautiful or fascinating than the Keys.

Perhaps it is just me, though.

Ah, and I don't like going anywhere by the sea and using a pool, what's the point?

WinklyVersusTheZombies Tue 27-Nov-12 15:54:02

franca I like looking at the sea, but don't like being in it - saltwater brings me out in a rash and its full of jellyfish smile

mildred37 Tue 27-Nov-12 16:12:10

We always stay at the Islander resort in Islamorada. Comfy, affordable and has a beach/pier as well as 2 pools. Also has Lorelei's across the road - bar on the water that does good food and often has live music. Also places to visit at Robbie's to feed the tarpon, DH gets his deep sea fishing boat hire from Bud n' Mary's and Key West is a must for the sunset celebration.

Winkly, yes, I totally see your point of view. Sorry I didn't mean to criticise.

I suppose I wasn't that overwhelmed by the places we saw in Florida. I realised that I prefer small, wild beaches like some you can still find in Greece or Southern Italy.
I found it hard to reconcile the beach and Sturbucks iyswim grin

GrimmaTheNome Tue 27-Nov-12 16:19:21

We went to the Keys when we lived in the US, using up airmiles...just as well, we came back early because no-one told us about the rainy season (this was pre-internet so it wasn't quite so easy to check such things). Can't remember exactly when, somewhere in spring...anyhow, make sure you avoid that!)

WinklyVersusTheZombies Tue 27-Nov-12 16:23:10

Ah you see I like the beach and Starbucks! Handy toilet, bit of shade - useful when you can burn looking at a picture of sunlight like me. Wild European beaches, gorgeous though they are, are a logistical nightmare of burnt skin, full bladders and blotchiness. Yes I am a total PITA! And I didn't take it as criticism don't worry.

Sorry OP. I shall stop derailing your thread.

grin Winkly!!!

(Sorry OP)

homebythesea Tue 27-Nov-12 17:41:06

We prefer US to Europe because of the Americans- crazy to go go far I know but there you go. We are Starbucks and Malls and Pools and all that good stuff- and agree about looking at sand from poolside- nasty stuff seawater.....wink

Tintingal Fri 30-Nov-12 18:24:22

We've had a very successful holiday in the Keys. I wouldn't take children to Key West - it's a long long way, and quite an adult place....Ernest Hemingway's House, Audobon house and museum, Truman's Little White House Museum, loads of bars etc...but we stayed in Marathon (halfway down the keys) at Tranquillity Bay which was brilliant. We went swimming with rescue dolphins at the Dolphin Research centre, learned about turtles at the turtle hospital, and went snorkelling on the reef....the kids (5 and 8) loved it, the resort was lovely - make sure you get a house on the beach - and it was easy. Having said that, our children love swimming and boating. If you have time back on the mainland, take in Marco Island (most amazing 3 mile long white sand beach), go on an airboat tour in the everglades, Naples old town (beautiful old beach front houses and art galleries and a wicked beach) and go on a shelling boat trip. Really, what's not to like????

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