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Sarasota beach or the Florida keys after Orlando?

(24 Posts)
ihatethecold Tue 10-Jan-17 21:10:53

We are planning on going to Orlando for a week and want to do the seaside after.
Happy to fly to Miami and then drive to the keys
Or do we play it safe and go to the gulf coast?
We've been to Clearwater and Treasure Island before and love it there.
I'm struggling to work out where to stay in the keys.
Some of the hotels that are supposedly 4 and 5 * don't have great reviews!
It will be 4 of us including 2 teens.
We love beaches, pools and snorkelling etc.

Any ideas.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 10-Jan-17 21:43:24

What time of year?. I ask only as the road down to the Keys can and does get very busy indeed in the summer months. Also that road is a single lane in each direction for the most part so traffic can be a real issue.

Its about a two hour drive in each direction from Miami down to the start of the Keys. Driving to Key West at the end of Highway 1 from Miami downtown takes around 3 hours each way. Parking there can be a real issue as well.

I'd also be looking atTreasure Island or St Petersburg.

ihatethecold Tue 10-Jan-17 21:59:34

August! We've done treasure island already.
St Petes is an option.

ihatethecold Wed 11-Jan-17 10:30:01

Anyone else have any info?

BadToTheBone Wed 11-Jan-17 11:03:44

I'd say The Keys every time, but Sarasota will probably be quieter, it depends what you want to do. The Keys are beautiful and have excellent seafood restaurants and some great bars with live music. A lot of these will have outside space where teens can go. Obviously there are great beaches and snorkelling, scuba diving and boat trips, also if you like fishing you can go out on a boat for some sea fishing.

There's lots of hotels along the way, the most popular are islamorada, key largo and key west. Most will be clean and reasonably priced, it all depends on the view you want.

I lived in Miami for many years, so spent a lot of time in The Keys.

ihatethecold Wed 11-Jan-17 12:36:43

Can you recommend any particular hotels?

Chrisinthemorning Fri 13-Jan-17 14:28:41

Anna Maria Island is lovely

PoptartPoptart Fri 13-Jan-17 16:29:24

Stay in Orlando for the whole 2 weeks would be my advice! There is so much to see and do.
When I was about 10 I went to Orlando for a week and then we drove down to the Keys. As beautiful as it was, we left after 2 days and headed back to Orlando as my parents felt it was a wasted opportunity - we'd had beautiful beach holidays before but never experienced anything like Orlando.

lovelearning Fri 13-Jan-17 18:03:16


Visit Marathon

ihatethecold Fri 13-Jan-17 19:03:11

I've booked a week in Orlando. We've been twice before but we only want to do universal and the water parks.
Then we are going to Duck key for a week.
I'm so excited to finally go to the Keys.

We will need ideas on places to stop on the way down there from Orlando.

CheesyWeez Fri 13-Jan-17 19:16:57

We had a memorable time in July 2016 at the no name pub, no name road, on big pine key. Nice meal there, and we coloured in a dollar bill and stuck it to the wall in the room upstairs. Afterwards we saw some of the local wild deer. We stopped the car and they came up and licked our fingers.
We enjoyed looking for geocaches with our teens and hanging around the pool!
The keys are magical. Enjoy!

gardeningsarah Fri 13-Jan-17 19:23:55

We stayed at Duck key last year. We stayed at the Hawks Cay on Duck key. It was fab. We did the drive down from Orlando in one day took abut 7hrs including stopping off on the way down to do an air boat ride in the everglades.

From Duck key you can do snorkelling trips, and diving if interested.

ihatethecold Fri 13-Jan-17 21:52:12

Fab Sarah. We are staying at the same resort.
We've got a 2 bed villa in the sunset area.
I'd love to know about the Everglades air boat ride.

ihatethecold Fri 13-Jan-17 21:54:12

I'm excited already. 😁

gardeningsarah Sat 14-Jan-17 19:11:22

We did the air boat ride from the everglades safari park The reason we went there as it wasn't to much of a diversion off the interstate we were driving on from Orlando. It was probably about another hour to hour and half drive on to Duck Island from there.

ihatethecold Sat 14-Jan-17 19:39:09

Thanks. Sounds great. I will check the link out.
Did you stop anywhere else before the Everglades?

ImNotChangingMyUsernameAgain Sat 14-Jan-17 20:29:24

Captiva Island is great. Have a look at South Seas resort. Wonderful!

gardeningsarah Sun 15-Jan-17 17:23:19

Yes we did stop for Lunch and had to do a petrol stop as we getting very low on fuel and there was a lack of petrol stations on the way down there. We drove down Interstate 27.

Tezacat Sun 15-Jan-17 17:33:45

We are flying into Miami, staying 3 nights then travelling up to Orlando for 9 nights, then on to Indian rocks for 7 nights before going back to Miami for 2 nights then home. Not doing Disney this time but universal and their waterparks, sea world and Busch. Has anyone been to Indian rocks? It's not far from Clearwater but is there enough to do in a week?

ihatethecold Sun 15-Jan-17 17:37:45

We have only ever done 4 nights on the gulf coast.
That seems to be plenty for us.
We did a great dolphin trip. We saw them in the wild, frolicking in the wake of our boat.

RoundTheBend Sun 15-Jan-17 17:40:30

I remember Sarasota! Only there 20 mins and the children got sunburnt! And that was with me trying to chase after them and smother them in cream all the time. It is an incredibly hot place!

I remember the beach, quite a lot of it, but, when you entered the sea, it just fell away, so very deep very quickly. If they are not good swimmers, be aware.

We only went for the day. Drove from Orlando.

Fleurdelise Mon 16-Jan-17 15:58:12

Tezacat we've been to Indian rocks for a week back in August. Beautiful place, relaxing. From there you can drive to Treasure Island, St Pete, Anna Maria Island (a bit longer but worth it). While there you must go to Fort Dessoto (I think I spelt it right) it is gorgeous.

Oh and have a slice of pizza in Slyce. Best pizza I ever had. smile

Tezacat Mon 16-Jan-17 20:53:58

Thanks Fleur, I'm so looking forward to it after the hectic pace of the parks. I'll check out those places, thank you 😄

ihatethecold Mon 16-Jan-17 21:25:51

The sea of the gulf coast is amazing.
Dolphins come very close to the shore.
It's so lovely to just sit and watch them swimming by in a pod.

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