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Anyone familiar with Key West?

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by BlondWidow, Jun 27, 2013.

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  1. BlondWidow

    BlondWidow Low-Roller

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    Or the Florida Keys in general? My family is trying to get a family trip together for next spring (2014, probably last full week in May) and a couple places were thrown out as suggestions, but none of us have been to the Keys. My husband and I were dubbed "better researchers" so, looks like we're in charge of finding a place to stay.

    So it would be 10-14 people (likely closer to 10), and we're thinking of trying to rent one house for everyone. The age range is 16–50, with a group of about 5 of them being 22, if that makes a difference. It doesn't have to be on Key West, but it seems like there are more larger rentals there than on the other islands.

    Has anyone done anything like this there? Any tips at all would be appreciated. Thanks, guys!
     
  2. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    Since it's offseason, you'll want to get a place on Key West itself unless there's a fishing interest. If there is, Islamorada or another key would be as good or better. But be advised that aside from fishing, the other keys are darned slow compared to Key West.

    I can't offer suggestions about accommodations for a group that size. Houses to rent should be plentiful, though. Look at a map so you can judge how far you are from downtown.

    Key West is a walking around kind of place, so I hope everyone is mobile. It is also dog friendly, although not all the features and accommodations are. If you do take a dog, keep it away from the chickens. They are not friendly. There are lots of quaint things to see and do off Duval Street, so don't get stuck in the ordinary tourist rut. By the same token, you have to toast the sunset and look for the green flash and do all the other stuff the island is famous for.

    I hope you're prepared for some weird people, including lots of flamboyant gays. Key West is an anything goes kind of place. You'll have a blast.
     
  3. LV_Bound

    LV_Bound VIP Whale

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    There was a show on the Travel channel yesterday about Florida beaches and it covered one or two of the Key West areas.

    Here is what I recall as I have talked to people who went and read a few posts about it as this can be a fairly common question.

    There are numerous islands and each has a slightly different theme than the other. One may be more of a party place, the other more quiet, more family orientated.......

    See if the following helps to get you started.
    www.southernmostresorts.com
    Contact Vaction Rentals at the Truman Annex 800-884-7368
    www.historickeywestinns.com
     
  4. vegas3

    vegas3 Low-Roller

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    yes, the summer is slow season. What kind of activities is your group looking to do? Key West does not really have the nice beaches that other places in Florida are known for. It has great snorkeling and diving tours, but Key Largo is better known for that.

    Btw, it takes 3 hours to travel from Key Largo to Key West.
     
  5. BlondWidow

    BlondWidow Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the info, guys! That is so helpful, I really appreciate it!

    I know my brother likes to fish and my husband and I want to snorkel. I'm sure a couple of my nieces will want to try this too. Maybe by then we will actually be certified to dive, who knows!

    We were figuring on flying into Key West if fares are not totally outrageous, but I guess that depends on what island we end up staying on. I would kind of like to see them all though. We will definitely have 2 cars if everyone ends up going who says they are (probably minivans, given the size of the group), so we'll be able to travel to see different things on different islands.

    No one is too wild and crazy, so we're not in need of a crazy nightlife or anything like that, but it would be cool to have some laid back beach bar options for evenings. My nieces have the "I don't care as long as it's a beach" vacation attitude and my husband and I are into seeing some local history or local draws. Plus the snorkeling.

    Thanks again, I will check out the links, LV_Bound!
     
  6. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    Summer is low season, but that does not start until June 1st as far as most hotels/guest houses/rentals are concerned. When my husband turned 50 (May 27th) a couple years ago, I had to move his party out by a week into June to get lower rates. If you are going at the end of May, you may find yourself facing higher rates.

    I HIGHLY recommend staying right on Key West, especially if you are flying into there anyway. There are lots of large houses for rent, although the 14 people may be pushing the upper end of what one place could acommodate.

    There are tons of great fishing/snorkling excursions and a sunset sail is always a great way to get out on the water and relax. Key West has tons of great restaurants, from super casual to really fine dining, and a very fun party scene at night.

    One thing I tell people is don't just frequent Duval St - rent bikes and go through neighborhoods, visit the Key West Bight (harbor), see areas most tourists miss.

    My parents live on the island, so I am very familiar with it. If you have any specific questions on stuff, feel free to ask.
     
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  7. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    A couple more things now that I've read thru all the posts more carefully:

    Vegas3 is right - Key West is NOT a beach destination. Due to the coral reef that lies offshore, the don't get the waves that create nice sandy beaches. There are beaches there, and Ft Zachary Taylor is actually pretty decent, but if your group is expecting beaches like you'd find in Destin or Ft Lauderdale, you are going to be disappointed for sure.

    It's 3 hours from Miami or Ft Lauderdale, only 1 1/2 hours from Key Largo.

    If you book a place on Key West, you want to be in Old Town, which is where all the character, shops, bars etc are.

    While it's true that the Keys are a chain of islands, there are really only 4 major ones: Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada and Key West. There is only 1 road in and out, which is US1. I like the drive down, it's quite pretty.

    Key Largo is great for fishing, but is otherwise kind of sleepy. Marathon and Islamorada are, to me, more residential and less tourist driven, although certainly they have nice resorts, some restaurants etc. There is a quite nice beach at Bahia Honda State park, which is about 45 mins from Key West.

    If someone told me they were not at all interested in shopping, visiting bars etc, and only wanted to fish, fish, fish, I would steer them toward on of the other Keys, however for a nice well rounded vacation, I strongly recommend Key West. It has a little bit of something for everyone.
     
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  8. BlondWidow

    BlondWidow Low-Roller

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    Wow, I had no idea this was the case! That's a big piece of info there. Thank you! Thanks also for the other information!

    We've actually been checking out a couple places on Islamadora and I've seen one on Big Pine Key as well. There is no way I'm going all the way down there and not going to Key West though, not a chance. I do want to go to the shops and that kind of thing! I am a little disappointed that there isn't a beach there. Seems like we have a lot to figure out.

    I'm really glad I asked here though!
     
  9. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

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    Feel free to either post here or PM me if you have additional questions.

    Sub-par beaches aside, Key West is a great place, and one of my favorite vacation spots. Very laid back, very charming.
     
    Vegas Just Because...
  10. BlondWidow

    BlondWidow Low-Roller

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    Awesome, thanks, Suekel! I appreciate your help! :)
     
  11. Junkyard Hog

    Junkyard Hog Low-Roller

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    May is a good time to tarpon fish. I've been a few times and had a blast. You really don't even have to be a big fisherman to enjoy. If you like to drink beer and ride in the boat it's a great time!
     
  12. BlondWidow

    BlondWidow Low-Roller

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    This sounds right up my brother's alley. Thanks for the tip!
     
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