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Orlando to Key West - Need advice/feedback

Seattle
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Orlando to Key West - Need advice/feedback

Hi everyone!

My wife, my 15 month old son and myself will be visiting my parents in Orlando (coming from Seattle) for about 10 days in mid-October. My wife and I would like to do a little getaway and leave our 15 month old son with the grandparents for 3 days/2 nights. We've never left him anyone overnight, so this'll be the first time.

Our plan is to leave on a Wednesday morning from Orlando to Key West, then return to Orlando on Friday. Our itinerary would be as follows:

Wednesday - Orlando to Key West with a stop in Key Largo for lunch and sightseeing

Thursday - Key West all day

Friday - Key West to Orlando - taking our time and doing some beach hopping..

Does this sound feasible? I know that's a lot of driving, but it's a rare opportunity to take advantage of free child care and get away for a couple days with the wife.

Also, I think being without the little guy more than 2 nights would be tough for us and him. Taking him with us is not an option as he can't even last in the car seat for more than 2 hours without going nuts lol..

Thoughts?

Edited: 1:32 pm, September 11, 2013
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Orlando
Orlando
Central Florida, FL
Seattle
Seattle
Washington
Key Largo
Key Largo
Florida Keys, FL
Marathon, Florida
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for Marathon, Islamorada
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1. Re: Orlando to Key West - Need advice/feedback

Get the beach part out of your head. There are beaches in KW but if you are looking for beach time head to either coast of either side of Orlando. Take you time driving through the Keys - sight see in Key Largo, but don't skip Islamorada, Marathon etc. LOTS to see and do. There are a couple of nice beaches on the way to Key West, Sombrero Beach in Marathon and Bahia Honda State Park. See the right hand column for suggestions of things to see and do in the Keys on your way to KW ------>

Also check out the same column on the Florida Keys Forum and not just Key Wests page.

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Orlando
Orlando
Central Florida, FL
Key Largo
Key Largo
Florida Keys, FL
Islamorada
Islamorada
Florida Keys, FL
Marathon
Marathon
Florida Keys, FL
Seattle, Washington
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88 reviews
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2. Re: Orlando to Key West - Need advice/feedback

It's doable, but it's a LONG drive. On the drive (either up or down), on one leg take Card Sound Key Road and stop at Alabama Jacks for fritters and a beer. (Kathie Lee Gifford's list of top restaurants -- it looks like a dive, but that's the charm of the place). On the opposite run, stop at the Hungry Tarpon, Mile Marker 78 on Islamorado. Again looks like a dive, but after lunch, you can walk to the end of the pier and feed the school of tarpon who live there.

As much as I LOVE the drive (it's one of our favorites), if I only had 3 days, I'd be very tempted to drive to Tampa and catch the early morning non-stop to Key West. You won't need a car if you stay near Duval Street. Then on the return day, rent a one-way car in KW and drive back. Just a thought.....

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Tampa
Tampa
Florida
Duval Street
Duval Street
11,462 Reviews
Key West, FL
Cape Canaveral...
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3. Re: Orlando to Key West - Need advice/feedback

The drive is not all that long; we can easily make it in less than seven hours if we only stop for a meal and gas. We make the drive frequently and leave as early as possible. Take the Turnpike if you do drive! But I agree, if you only plan to spend two nights in Key West, it would be great if you can fly down. You can fly direct on Southwest from Orlando to Tampa and be there by noon, so I wouldn't bother driving to Tampa. The best fares are typically available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but it may be too late to get a great rate for next month. The best price we've found this year was $49 one way on a Wednesday at the end of April and we rented a car from Hertz for $42 and drove back.

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Orlando
Orlando
Central Florida, FL
Tampa
Tampa
Florida
Orlando
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4. Re: Orlando to Key West - Need advice/feedback

That is a LONG drive even without stopping for sightseeing. Are you planning on getting up at 4 or 5 am to start your driving? It is usually 7 or more hours just stopping for gas.

"Doing some beach hopping" on the way back: I have tried to do that once. I made it to Vero Beach. To make any sense at all, you need to drive to Stuart or Ft Pierce to use A1A. It will take forever further south. You would still need to wake up very early, which if you hit the Key West bars the night before, you might not feel like it. It will make for a very long day.

Deception Island
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5. Re: Orlando to Key West - Need advice/feedback

It's doable, and if you drive by all means stick to the turnpike all the way. It is the fastest and easiest traffic wise. If you want to check out beaches or other stops I would do that after you are in the keys. It's a short stay in KW but if you have never been it's worth it and you will get a feel for the place and can plan another visit when you have more time if you like it.

UK
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for Florida
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6. Re: Orlando to Key West - Need advice/feedback

Personally, I think you'll waste a lot of time on the road. I'd fly down.

But if you want to do it, get up VERY early and hit the road. Stop for lunch on the way. Spend the evening in KW, all day the next and night, then head back around lunch time.

Beware of the cashless tolls in Dade county so choose your car rental firm with this in mind (some like Dollar are expensive), or buy a sunpass mini when you get there, and register it to your rental.

7. Re: Orlando to Key West - Need advice/feedback

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