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Key West, Places to Stay and Dry Tortugas

JoshMcMadMac 552 154 October 1, 2012 at 03:40 PM
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My wife and I are planning on driving down to Key West after we get back from a cruise on the 28th of December. We would like to spend that Friday and Saturday down there. I am having a tough time finding any place to stay, I suppose to no surprise. Are there any good places to stay that are somewhat reasonable?

Also, we are wanting to go out to the Dry Tortugas. I know that there is the one main ferry that runs out daily, but are there any other options or ways to save a few dollars on it?

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#2
I havent been to KW but i have used this service a few times. You will never beat its price. You rent a room/ apartment/ house for a day, week, month etc.
Comes in handy when i visit inlaws in California, Hawaii, etc.
https://www.airbnb.com/
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#3
Quote from Aquabat View Post :
I havent been to KW but i have used this service a few times. You will never beat its price. You rent a room/ apartment/ house for a day, week, month etc.
Comes in handy when i visit inlaws in California, Hawaii, etc.
https://www.airbnb.com/
Great site, I will look into that. Cool
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#4
I did the Dry Tortugas trip last November - it was wonderful and beautiful!!! however it does take 2.5 hours ONE WAY to get there by the 'ferry' - it is beautiful and worth it, but be sure to take some dramamine cuz if the waters are rough - it's a long day!
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#5
Quote from MDJoviFan View Post :
I did the Dry Tortugas trip last November - it was wonderful and beautiful!!! however it does take 2.5 hours ONE WAY to get there by the 'ferry' - it is beautiful and worth it, but be sure to take some dramamine cuz if the waters are rough - it's a long day!
Thanks for the input! We will be coming off of a cruise, so we should be pretty well prepared for the ferry. I think the only complaints I have heard about the trip is that it takes half the day just traveling to/from there and that it is "nothing special" to warranty the trip. I really want to check it out, though, so it should be well worth it. Cool
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#6
Quote from JoshMcMadMac View Post :
Thanks for the input! We will be coming off of a cruise, so we should be pretty well prepared for the ferry. I think the only complaints I have heard about the trip is that it takes half the day just traveling to/from there and that it is "nothing special" to warranty the trip. I really want to check it out, though, so it should be well worth it. Cool

Pee before you get on the ferry laugh out loud trust me. If you haven't been on a boat that isn't a cruise liner you could have a rough go of it. Your travel dates fall during the winter season and seas are less than placid. While a cruise ship is a ship it's size insulates you from a LOOOOOT of motion. It's not unheard of to see 3-4 foot swells for the entire trip with a good wind. An hour of choppy rough seas on that ferry is an eternity for some. I have seen some veteran cruise queens barfing chum for the entire ride. I hate warning people away from it because I think it's rather important that people get to see what things SHOULD and COULD be like but 5 hours of barfing and misery will make a dent in your happy memories. It's also going to be cold. We don't freeze but the humidity is really a bear inland and its like wearing a cold wet blanket the entire time you are on the water.


As far as something special, It comes down to the type of person you are. Some folks go to DO and others experience. So yeah when you place the Tortuga's up against Pennekamp and Mallory Square it's not much. However it's one of the few places in America you can go and not be surrounded by man made crap. I've lived in this state my whole life and Tortuga is hands down the most beautiful place in the world to me. Timing sucks because you are going to miss a lot of wildlife that is epic, but if you dig nature you won't be disappointed with Tortuga.

Given that you want to drive, I assume you are coming into Miami not Canaveral. Miami to Key West (southernmost) is about is around 3.5 hours. The further south you get the higher the rates go and the harder it is to find an open slot. You want to look North of the 7 mile bridge for the cheaper rates. Marathon, Key Largo that direction.

It's really hard to narrow something down without knowing what you can spend and so forth. That time of year even the raggedy hotels are charging $200+ Be prepared for a less than gorgeous room. The trade off for living somewhere so awesome is the sea beats the living hell out of things. Just go in knowing that. I doubt it will matter too much because only a fool would stay in a hotel room when there is so much awesome Big Grin


Off the top of my head try

Gilberts Resort
Historic Tavernier
Rainbow (not the gay one, the other one. If you see a bunch of same sex people kissing and stuff, you are at the wrong site laugh out loud )

Stick to the upper keys. It's an hour-ish of driving if you want to get to Key West and it's impossible to get lost. It's a pretty drive anyway, it's not an hour of driving you will regret.

2 things you HAVE to do. You have to check out the Mel Fischer Museum and you have to clap down the sun in Mallory Square. Get to Mallory Square about an hour before sunset and the performers should be out and the vendors with their little stores. It's very cool and a great way to hang out safely with the locals. You will get to see the famous chickens and Hemingway kitties. I am still trying to sort out why the hemingway cats don't eat more of the chickens.

Just as a heads up, stay aware. Tourists often get sort of lax about security and thats a good way to get robbed blind. Oh and if you don't like Jimmy Buffet enough to hear it 24-7 coming out of every window and the face of every individual who can lift a guitar, bring ear plugs. Good ones.

My family doesn't like to hang with me in Key West anymore. Blush


Key West: "Waaaassstttting Awwwwwaaaaay agaiiin in" x 298374767653654639 times


Me at the 298374767653654640th rendition: SHUT UP SHUT UPPPPPP HE HAS OTHER SONGS FFS!! WHY WON'T YOU JUST DIE?!?!?!? YOU SUCKKKK!!!!1!!1!11!

My family: We don't know her...we thought she was with you. She could be mentally deranged so we should walk swiftly away.

Me: Cheeseburger in paradise, Come Monday, Fina, Volcano FOR GODS SAKE PICK A NEW DAMN SOOOOOOOOOOOOONG!!!!!

My family: Disappear
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#7
Quote from orphicdragon View Post :
Pee before you get on the ferry laugh out loud trust me. If you haven't been on a boat that isn't a cruise liner you could have a rough go of it. Your travel dates fall during the winter season and seas are less than placid. While a cruise ship is a ship it's size insulates you from a LOOOOOT of motion. It's not unheard of to see 3-4 foot swells for the entire trip with a good wind. An hour of choppy rough seas on that ferry is an eternity for some. I have seen some veteran cruise queens barfing chum for the entire ride. I hate warning people away from it because I think it's rather important that people get to see what things SHOULD and COULD be like but 5 hours of barfing and misery will make a dent in your happy memories. It's also going to be cold. We don't freeze but the humidity is really a bear inland and its like wearing a cold wet blanket the entire time you are on the water.


As far as something special, It comes down to the type of person you are. Some folks go to DO and others experience. So yeah when you place the Tortuga's up against Pennekamp and Mallory Square it's not much. However it's one of the few places in America you can go and not be surrounded by man made crap. I've lived in this state my whole life and Tortuga is hands down the most beautiful place in the world to me. Timing sucks because you are going to miss a lot of wildlife that is epic, but if you dig nature you won't be disappointed with Tortuga.

Given that you want to drive, I assume you are coming into Miami not Canaveral. Miami to Key West (southernmost) is about is around 3.5 hours. The further south you get the higher the rates go and the harder it is to find an open slot. You want to look North of the 7 mile bridge for the cheaper rates. Marathon, Key Largo that direction.

It's really hard to narrow something down without knowing what you can spend and so forth. That time of year even the raggedy hotels are charging $200+ Be prepared for a less than gorgeous room. The trade off for living somewhere so awesome is the sea beats the living hell out of things. Just go in knowing that. I doubt it will matter too much because only a fool would stay in a hotel room when there is so much awesome Big Grin


Off the top of my head try

Gilberts Resort
Historic Tavernier
Rainbow (not the gay one, the other one. If you see a bunch of same sex people kissing and stuff, you are at the wrong site laugh out loud )

Stick to the upper keys. It's an hour-ish of driving if you want to get to Key West and it's impossible to get lost. It's a pretty drive anyway, it's not an hour of driving you will regret.

2 things you HAVE to do. You have to check out the Mel Fischer Museum and you have to clap down the sun in Mallory Square. Get to Mallory Square about an hour before sunset and the performers should be out and the vendors with their little stores. It's very cool and a great way to hang out safely with the locals. You will get to see the famous chickens and Hemingway kitties. I am still trying to sort out why the hemingway cats don't eat more of the chickens.

Just as a heads up, stay aware. Tourists often get sort of lax about security and thats a good way to get robbed blind. Oh and if you don't like Jimmy Buffet enough to hear it 24-7 coming out of every window and the face of every individual who can lift a guitar, bring ear plugs. Good ones.
Great information, thanks! I have worked on a lobster boat, so I should be ok. I will make sure the wife and I are both amped up on Bonine and sea-bands just to be safe. I went ahead and got a place off of AirBNB; not cheap, but cheaper than any lodging places and down by the golf course so I think we did alright. I will be sure to check out Mallory Square and the museum, too. Is it worth having a drink at Sloppy Joe's?
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#8
duval gardens is awesome if they have vacancy
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#9
In my opinion Key west while it has a great views and nice attractions is completely over priced.

Denny's cost $65 for 5 cheeseburgers (4 with fries) and 4 sodas. They also take it upon themselves to add 18% gratuity for 5 or more people.

I mean this is Denny's, image what a real restaurant costs. No wonder they have so many homeless people there.
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Last edited by JackScagnetti October 11, 2012 at 05:04 PM
#10
LOL. Frank you are right! I grew up in Key West and it is very overpriced! However, if you've never been, it's worth a trip.

I can help find a place to stay if you want to send me your email address. Also, if you like to fish, take one of the charter boats out half a day. It's one of the least expensive ways to get a good look at the island, experience the beautiful water and have some fun! Captain John's Greyhound is the boat my family always uses.

Eat cuban food...I recommend El Siboney. I can tell you a lot more when you email me. Let me know exactly what you're looking for in your couple of days there.
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#11
Quote from billyjoels View Post :
LOL. Frank you are right! I grew up in Key West and it is very overpriced! However, if you've never been, it's worth a trip.

I can help find a place to stay if you want to send me your email address. Also, if you like to fish, take one of the charter boats out half a day. It's one of the least expensive ways to get a good look at the island, experience the beautiful water and have some fun! Captain John's Greyhound is the boat my family always uses.

Eat cuban food...I recommend El Siboney. I can tell you a lot more when you email me. Let me know exactly what you're looking for in your couple of days there.
Thanks so much! I shot you a PM.
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#12
Quote from MDJoviFan View Post :
I did the Dry Tortugas trip last November - it was wonderful and beautiful!!! however it does take 2.5 hours ONE WAY to get there by the 'ferry' - it is beautiful and worth it, but be sure to take some dramamine cuz if the waters are rough - it's a long day!
I just saw a TV show where they did this trip, and stayed overnight. Looks fantastic, but I can think of things I'd rather do with $160 per person. If I want to take a long boat ride I can do the Cape May Ferry and it's a whole lot cheaper. How are the rates if you don't stay in Key West on a Friday or Saturday night?
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Last edited by zzyzzx October 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM
#13
Quote from zzyzzx View Post :
I just saw a TV show where they did this trip, and stayed overnight. Looks fantastic, but I can think of things I'd rather do with $160 per person. If I want to take a long boat ride I can do the Cape May Ferry and it's a whole lot cheaper. How are the rates if you don't stay in Key West on a Friday or Saturday night?
The rates can be high depending on when you go but there are ways to find deals. Send me a message with your email and I will be happy to talk to you about it.Smilie
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#14
Tripadvisor is a good site to find a place. Find something walking distance close to Duval St which is the most entertaining people watching street in USA. Walking distance or maybe a bike ride ... perhaps a hotel with free bikes or rental? I mention walking or bikes cuz finding a parking spot is next to impossible in some areas and once parked - STAY there! We stay at Ambrosia, a bunch of buildings sprawled across the street from each other. Great breakfast, eclectic rooms and clean .. but not cheap.

Dry Tortugas are for purists - While the view can't be matched, it's much like many civil war era forts ... but there are other forts in better condition. You'll be asking why they dug a moat around a fort, on an island? Go simply to say you did it cuz the ride is gruelling... specially in winter.


I was not aware that you could spend the night on the island? $160 PP over-nite, including the ride would be a deal ... the night sky has stars you'll never notice on the mainland. Spent many nights there, but on our sail boat.

While in Key west, try the hard to find, Hogfish grill on the next island, a great fish sandwich.
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Last edited by Spartanicus October 24, 2012 at 02:46 PM
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#15
Quote from Spartanicus View Post :
Tripadvisor is a good site to find a place. Find something walking distance close to Duval St which is the most entertaining people watching street in USA. Walking distance or maybe a bike ride ...
.
When I went I drove from Miami (which I don't recommend) but I did stay on Duval St (which I do recommend) and I was really lucky and found a parking spot of the street and stayed there.


Quote from Spartanicus View Post :
Dry Tortugas are for purists - While the view can't be matched, it's much like many civil war era forts ... but there are other forts in better condition. You'll be asking why they dug a moat around a fort, on an island? .
I was wondering about that as well.
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