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What's the best island to stay on in the keys?

Acworth, GA
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What's the best island to stay on in the keys?

I am planning a trip for my boyfriend and I (both 24) to go to the keys. We are planning on flying into Miami and staying a fews days then driving down to the keys for about 5 days. I want to stay somewhere that has a great beach to relax on during the day and good bars to go to at night. Can anyone help me?

Guelph, ON
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1. Re: What's the best island to stay on in the keys?

The Keys aren't really known for great beaches. If you want a busy nightlife, then Key West is the place! We just got back and we stayed in Grassy Key. It suited us fine, but there isn't much around. Key West is probably your best bet...

Key Colony Beach...
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2. Re: What's the best island to stay on in the keys?

Each of the major keys - Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Key West have a different "flavor".

Key Largo is the largest, and closest to the mainland. I don't know much about it, so I can't give the good and bad of it.

Islamorada is know for it's sport fishing. The best beach that I know of is just off shore at Holiday Isle. Boats get there early on weekends, and even earlier on holidays. I've heard that is the place to see and be seen. As far as night life goes, the big draw is again Holiday Isle. There are other bars, but Holiday Isle is the best of them in Islamorada.

Marathon has Sombrero beach, one of the better beaches in the keys. Bahia Honda State Park is not far away, and is also one of the best in the keys. As far a bars go you can find fun, but not Key West fun.

This brings us to Key West. Here, if you can't find a bar that you like, you don't like bars. There is a lot of other things to do besides drink. Smathers beach is an OK beach, as is Fort Zachery State Park. Some of the hotels also have small - really small - beaches. You can find places to relax here as well.

If I think about it you may want to stay longer in Miami - South Beach - than in the keys. The beaches are better, and the night life is more concentratedin Miami. The relaxing is better in the keys. It's just where you priorities are.

Naples, Fl
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3. Re: What's the best island to stay on in the keys?

If you guys are 24 and have never been to Key West and you'll be that close, that's were you got to go. the Beaches are not to nice but, wow will you have fun!. From Mallery square to Sloppy Joes it is quite a spectacle! There is no great crazy nightlife in the rest of the Keys. Stay in a little guest house or Bed and breakfast. My girlfriend and I like to go to the second floor balcony of Rick's bar across from Sloppy Joes and look down at Duval Street and watch the crowd, quite entertaining.

Because we are both divers we have spent some time in Key Largo, by far the best diving in the country and there are people from all over the word diving that reef.

Belleville, Canada
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4. Re: What's the best island to stay on in the keys?

We just got back from the keys last week. Key Largo is a quiet, relaxing, place with not much nightlife. We had a nice time at The Hungry Pelican (under $100) just sitting in the Tiki Huts, watching the boats, swimming, sipping a few toddies and having a BBQ for supper.

Marathon is close to Bahai State Park and has beautiful beaches. We stayed at a very unusual spot - The Sea Turtle Hospital in Maraton is part of a motel (nothing special but a nice pool and very nice people), and your motel fee is donated to help rehabilitate the sea turtles that are there - a very informative place.

Key West is the party place and best place to shop is on Duval Street and Mallory Square Market. As one post has said, if you can't find a bar you like in key west, you don't like bars - there is everything from the Hogs Breath Saloon, The Green Pelican to The Bare Bottom for a very rowdy place. A word of warning, be careful what you are drinking at happy hour - I lost about 4 hours due to very strong strong rum drinks, that knocked me out.