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Archive for September, 2009

Helpful hints to plan a great vacation to the Florida Keys!

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Well as you peer through the magazines, search the endless websites, you will find a plethora of information which is mind boggling. I have placed a few helpful hints  in order to help you pick accommodations and choose which Island (Keys) you may consider staying on. The keys are very different and the choices can be confusing! I hope this information helps you!

I will start with hotels/resorts. The Florida Keys have plenty of different types of accommodations to fit any style. You will have your choice of some wonderful small resorts that will be the same, if not less expensive then the larger chains like The Holiday Inn, Hilton or Marriott. The Florida Keys are riddled with lots of lovely mom and pop types resorts with only 6-11 rooms/suites. These types are my favorite as they add charm and relaxation to any visit. Be sure to do your homework and call to speak with the receptionist, which is usually the owner. Ask about a beach because many resorts even the larger ones do not have a beach. The Florida Keys are not known for their beaches because we do not get the crashing surf that creates beaches. Resorts have to puts a great deal of money into creating a beach. The best resorts in my opinion is Kona Kai Resort and Gallery in Key Largo. Only 11 accommodations and just a beautiful resort. Their accommodations start as low a $179.00 (in the summer months) which is comparable to the large hotels with a MUCH better atmosphere, pool, beach,etc.
Next we should talk about location in the Keys. The first Key is Key Largo. Key Largo is a short 2 hour drive to Key West. If you are looking for a relaxation vacation this is the Key! Key Largo and the next key, Islamorada are the two keys in which you should stay if you are interested in the environment. The waters surrounding Key Largo are part of the Everglades so the wildlife is plentiful. You will see manatee, sea horses, many types of birds, dolphin, lots of fish, sea turtles, and much more. These keys are spectacular for fishing and snorkeling! Key Largo and the next Key Islamorada are considered to be part of the Upper Keys.
The next chain of Islands is Marathon and really is not worth any visit. It is made up of Home Depot and other chains.
The next key is Big Pine. Big Pine is great to see the key deer but there are not many places to stay. The key is very small in width so their is very little development. The one I resort I recommend is Palmer’s Resort. It is a small off the beaten path resort in Summerland Key.   It is nothing fancy but it is close to Key West without having to stay in Key West.
Next is Key West which is great for shopping and bar hopping. The old saying is “doing theDuval crawl” which is the main street (Duval Street) in Key west.  People get so inebriated that they end up crawling to each bar. It reminds me of New Orleans.  You will see wildlife, more of the human kind. People train their cats to jump through fire circles, an all golden man will want to take a picture with you for $5.00, you will see drag queens and many other fun loving characters. Bring your sense of humor and a camera!
Well, I hope this information helps you choose accommodations that fit your vacation needs.