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What is Key West like?

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NW Indiana
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What is Key West like?

Hi, my family of 4 is thinking of the Keys for a holiday vacation and was hoping for some input on KW..places to stay, things to do, how are the beaches vs. say, PC Beach or Clearwater. Is it more of an adult atmosphere, or will my boys have things to do as well? They are 8 and 12 if that matters. Thanks for any advice!

NW Indiana
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11. Re: What is Key West like?

Seabus & Purple Tursi - Thanks so much for your input. We've been having such a hard time deciding where to go and your comments are helping tremendously. :-) We're not positive on where we'll stay since we are also considering Sanibel Island, but Key West is on our short list as well. I don't think there really is a comparison between the two, it's just a matter of whether we really want the beach aspect or try something new. I'm leaning for the new aspect since we've always gone to the beach for our vacations. I'd really like a different feel and experience IMO.

With that being said, any recommendations on places to stay? Something not too expensive, but enough room for 4 and a pool? Thanks!

Dyer, Indiana
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12. Re: What is Key West like?

Where about in the NW part of Indiana are you from?

We have been to Key West twice and hope to go again in 2007. Each time we have flown out of O"hara to Miami and rented a car to drive the rest of the way to Key West. Usually we spend the first night at Key Largo. There are plenty of places that your sons and you would enjoy on the drive down. Such as, Everglades National Park, glass bottom boats at John Pennekamp State Park on Key Largo, Theater of the Sea on Windley Key, and if you really want to do the beach thing there is Bahia Honda State Park which has white sand beaches. Even though Key West is not know as a beach resort, they do have Smathers Beach. There is a wide variety of things to do in Key West from very adult to family. You know your family's wants and needs as far as what you want in a vacation. I am sure wherever you go you will have a great time.

NW Indiana
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13. Re: What is Key West like?

parrottdize - Small world...we're not far at all...we live in Hanover Township between St. John and Cedar Lake.

Thanks for your help. That actually sounds pretty nice..flying into Miami and driving down through the keys instead of just staying in one area. I'm thinking I might visit the travel agent and see what they can do to help plan an intinerary and places to stay. I'm just getting so confused by the choices ;-) Thanks again and have a nice weekend!

Key West, Florida
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14. Re: What is Key West like?

Oddly enough, you'd think that folks who live here would be the best guides on where to stay... Turns out... Nope! Generally speaking, we have limited experience as guests of the various hotels, motels and resorts here in Key West. (We often hear things...Rumors and such or indirectly through friends who come down.)

Those Key West experts on this board who live elsewhere have a far better perspective on lodgings.

I can speak to the nature of the people, the weather, the attractions, restaurants and a fewlittle known 'locals' tid bits but your best source of info on lodgings is in the reviews here at TripAdvisor and even better, the seasoned visitors to Key West.

Key West
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15. Re: What is Key West like?

My two grandsons (8 and 10) visited us the week after Christmas last year. Key West is their favorite place to visit and I'll list some of the things they like to do: sunset celebration (especially the cat man show), the awesome Butterfly and Nature Consevatory, Pirate Soul Museum attraction, riding the Conch Train, fishing, the hands on Aquarium, tall ship trips (especially the stargazer), Ripley's, going out to Fort Zach and exploring the old fort and then going to the beach to snorkel (you need aqua shoes that you can pick up here in town) feeding the tarpon, the turtle races at Turtle Kraals (Mon. and Fri. 6pm), flying kites, and lots of little things they discovered for themselves.

I'd recommend staying in Old Town so you can walk to everything, and it's so much easier with kids. Key West is great for adults, but it's also a really fun place for kids!!

Limey

Key West
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16. Re: What is Key West like?

Oh, and I forgot to mention, that you want to find a place to stay with a heated pool.

Bonita Springs...
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17. Re: What is Key West like?

F & T ~~ I live very close to Sandibel Island ~~ The bridge to Sandibel is under construction as is the road ~~ Only one in & out ~~ Al tho Sandibel is great ~~ I would recommend you checkin things out 1st ~~ Just last night ~~ the news channel reported "Red Tide" again ~~ The beaches are great here but red tide is very bad ~~ Its been off & on all year ~~ Doesn't look to good ~~ Its not the dead fish every where ~~ Its the smell ~~ Bein a Key West for the last 12 years ~~ I'd recommend Key West in a flash ~~ (:>)

Nashville, Tennessee
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18. Re: What is Key West like?

Hi-We also have 2 kids, ages 9 and 13. We have been to PCB, Clearwater, and Key West. We did not take the kids to Key West with us. The best place for the kids so far has been PCB. We really love Key West but not for the kids. Of course this is my opinion of my children. My kids want go carts, arcades, good beaches, mini golf, beach stores, that kind of stuff. I really do not think mine would enjoy Key West and I know I would enjoy it more if they stayed behind at grandma's!!! We have just decided that just the two of us come to Key West in Feb and then we take the kids to PCB in July. Your kids may love it. We also flew into Miami and drove. I like the drive, wasn't bad at all. Like everyone has said, just do not go with the hopes that the beaches will be like the others you mentioned! I can not comment on where to stay, we have only stayed at places that do not allow kids, sorry.

And by the way, Anna Maria Island Fl is WONDERFUL! Just to give you another place to check out. Never been to Sanibel. The beaches in Anna Maria are the prettiest I have ever seen.

manchester
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19. Re: What is Key West like?

hi fandt94. we just got back from our vacation yesterday.we drove down to,and stayed in miami/homestead and did the alligater farm and airboat ride = fantastic. then onto ket west, from orlando for the second week of our holiday and stayed at the southernmost hotel for three nights with our 4 and 8 year old sons.

from the hustle and bustle of orlando and the parks the first week, it was a fantastic relax could have stayed longer.I do think though it is more of a place for adults but you have mallory square in the evenings and lots of places to eat.we mainly had a walk around the shops in the morning and went back to relax by the pool the afternoon then to go out for eats early evening till quite late.

the whole island seems so chilled out it gets you that way.there are a good few things to do to break up your days but you definatly relax.

the only thing is that the further south you go the accomodation gets a tad more expensive.it cost us $129+tax a night there but if we wanted southern most on the beach, just accross the road it was $204 +tax.They were lovely staff and really helpul though and it was nice.

If your kids want action action action then no they would probably get bored if you stayed more than a week but if they like swimming etc.then it is a lovely place to go.I would return definately.

Delray Beach...
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20. Re: What is Key West like?

I've only ever stayed at 3 places in Key West - the Seashell hostel, Budget Key West, and Best Western Hibiscus. And when it came to Budget Key West, we were only there for 1 night (came in late, left early), so I don't feel I can rate that one very fairly. The only thing I can say about it is that it is more convenient to the seaport harbor area than the other two places. Basically, my personal knowledge of Key West lodging is limited to the other two. But if you still want it, here's my thoughts on them.

Despite all the whining I've read about it, the *private rooms* at the SeaShell are actually not bad *for a youth hostel*. Those private rooms are more akin to a standard motel room than a hostel. My husband and I have stayed there multiple times, even for a wedding anniversary one year, and enjoyed it every time. The cleaning staff keeps those private rooms clean every day. It is almost guaranteed to be the lowest cost accommodation in Key West, and it is tucked back in a more quiet, residential area of Key West that is wonderful for peaceful evening walks. However, you do need to pay a little more to stay in one of those private SeaShell rooms instead of the supposedly (never done it myself) scary public youth hostel side of the property. There also is no pool. And, of course, despite how motel-like each self-contained room is, it is still on the property of a youth hostel, meaning that it definitely has a different feel to it than your typical motel/hotel. So unless you have taken your kids to other countries where they've experienced youth hostels before, they will probably be disappointed with the atmosphere there and unhappy with this choice.

Place #2 - We stayed at the Best Western Hibiscus for our anniversary just last month. Other than the room causing some allergies (they cleared up as soon as we left the room each day), it was a great stay. It has a beautiful pool and is only a block away from Duval St. You'll also be able to easily walk to the Southernmost Point from it. Their lobby was under construction. So when we were there, they were using a make-shift area for a "front desk" and for laying out the continental breakfast. But other than that, the grounds were in good shape. The rooms were clean and comfortable. Large enough for a family of 4, I feel. The only thing I don't know for you is cost. Since we were there during the off season we got a great deal on the price. Since you're visiting instead during the busiest season, they will likely increase the cost to something expensive. Still, of my extremely limited Key West lodging experience, that's my suggestion for your trip.

Sorry I don't have more lodging advice to give. I have even less lodging suggestions for outside of Key West. The one really wonderful place I've been to was in Key Largo (the Largo Lodge) but it doesn't allow kids, so it wouldn't work in this case. Like Seabus said, what I know about the quality of accommodations in my own town is almost entirely based on third-person reports.

But if you need it, I can give feedback on some of the things to do in Islamorada, Layton (have lived both places) and of course Marathon, if you're having a hard time choosing between the attractions to spend your time at during the drive down.

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