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advice on keys trip

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austin, texas
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advice on keys trip

I'm planning a trip to the Keys for me and my 10-year old son for June. We went to Key West last June and had a blast. Thinking about staying in Marathon this time and spending one day in Key West....we must go back to Kelly's: his FAVORITE. Would like tips on where to stay: priorities: beach (I know they are small) and walking distance to restaurants/shops. Also, thinking about stoping in Key Largo on the drive back to snorkel and wonder if that will make for too long of a day: wake up Marathon, snorkel Key Largo, return rental car in Ft. L and spend the last night near the airport.


Delray Beach...
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1. Re: advice on keys trip

My suggestion would be to try to find something near mile marker 50. Accomodations in that area are: Tranquility Bay, Blackfin Resort, Sombrero Lighthouse Resort, SeaDell Motel, Sandpiper Motel, and some others that I'm probably forgetting.

Restaurants in the area near mile marker 50:

One kid-friendly restaurant in the area is the Hurricane Bar and Grille. The restaurant section has a giant Lego replica of Miami beach and I've noticed that kids have fun playing around on the pool tables there (the staff is okay with that). It's at mile marker 49.5

Keys Fisheries is also fun. Your son can get some fish food from their dispensers to feed the tarpon in their marina, the restaurant food is good, and Keys Fisheries is unique in that they ask you a question of the day (for example, your favorite actor) to call your order with. Keys Fisheries is at the end of 35th Street.

Other things in the area near mile marker 50:

I think you and your son would be happy visiting Sombrero Beach here in Marathon. It has a playground for him, picnic tables, and is a nice size. To get to it, turn at the light for Sombrero Beach Rd. (mile marker 50.5) and follow it all the way to the end.

There are also shopping areas near Sombrero Beach Rd., including grocery stores, fun shopping at the Goofy Gecko, a Kmart, and if you walk a couple of businesses further south - Papa John's pizza, a post office, and a movie theater.

Why go all the way up to Key Largo to go snorkelling? If you visit Pigeon Key here in Marathon, you can go snorkelling right off the island for free. It's a seagrass bed instead of coral but I always see beautiful spotted eagle rays at Pigeon Key and the Turtle Hospital releases their sea turtles there, so there are often turtles in the area. Coffins Patch reef further north in Marathon is also supposed to be nice for snorkelling, but it's a small reef. The BEST place for snorkelling here is Sombrero Reef. It's a big tongue-and-groove coral reef. You'll see lots of beautiful fish there, lots of purple sea fans, a resident hawksbill sea turtle, and there is even some rare pillar coral at one of the buoys. If you decide to go to Sombrero Reef, there is a great company who will take you out there called Tilden's Scuba. They are located at mile marker 49.5 on the bayside. I've taken groups of 10 and 11 year olds to go snorkelling with Tildens before, and the kids always have fun. Captain Eric is particularly good with kids, and Ted is good if your son wants to try snuba (sort of a cross between scuba and snorkelling), but all of the staff are polite and professional.

Thinking of the Turtle Hospital, you and your son will probably really enjoy visiting it, too. You get to see the turtles from only a foot or two away and the tour guides sometimes let kids touch one of the little juvenile turtles. It's at mile marker 48.5

Driving to the other end of Marathon, in Grassy Key, you'll both probably also enjoy visiting the Dolphin Research Center. In addition to having narrations every 45 minutes throughout the day, they also have several opportunities for you and your son to go down onto the dock (or into the water) and interact with the dolphins. Their website is here: http://dolphins.org/

Key Colony Beach...
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for Florida Keys
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2. Re: advice on keys trip

I would add only, take a look at www.vrbo.com for some homes to rent in Key Colony Beach. They come with a pass to the Cabana Club. The CC is a private club with a pool, bar and grill, lounge chairs around the pool, and it's right on the beach.

Try Robbies at MM 77ish in Islamorada (about a 30 minute drive from Marathon), and since you're that close, go to World Wide Sportsman at MM 82. You can feed some HUGE tarpon at Robbies for a couple of bucks, and there is a small aquarium at WWS.

Melbourne, Florida
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3. Re: advice on keys trip

Key Colony Beach Rentals has a web site that will show you pictures of all their rental units. Most come with Cabana Club priveleges which is where the pool, hot tub & beach are. They also have a playground, tennis court and a golf course. It's like a neighborhood. We always rent bikes to ride around in the evening. There are 3 restaurants in Key Colony. It is about 10 minutes north of Marathon shopping.

Also the Reef Resort on the gulf side is not too bad. They have a pool, you can fish off their dock, they have paddle boats and bikes included.They also have a ping pong table and a library of sorts.

Both places you also have washer/ dryer included. Completely furnished kitchen, etc.

If you really want to snorkel in Key Largo why not stay in Islamorada? The Islander is within walking distance to Outdoor World and some other shopping and a few restaurants. You can go to Whale Harbor Or Holiday Isle to watch the charter boats bring in their catch. Robbies is just on the south end to feed the tarpon.

We have stayed at Coral Bay and Topsider (both on the south end) but they are not within walking distance of anything. We have also stayed at the Carribean Resort which is very beautiful but expensive unless you stay in the small motel rooms. You would still have access to their pool which is georgeous. They are next door to the Islander.

Have a great trip!

South Florida...
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for Miami, Key Largo
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4. Re: advice on keys trip

To answer the last bit of your question - no, it's not too much to wake up in Marathon, snorkel in Key Largo and go back to Ft L. I suggest you book your trip through the Pennekamp state park. They have showers there so you can rinse off afterwards.

Key Colony Beach...
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5. Re: advice on keys trip

There are actualy a couple of realtors in Key Colony Beach that rent homes to vacationers. They provide a great service to both the home owner and the vacationers.

BUT for that service they get a portion of the rent for their work.

Me, I'd just as soon go to vrbo.com, look at pictures of the house on my own, see what "floats my boat", talk with the owner of the house, and rent right from the owner.

Kind of like buying wholesale rather than retail . . .

Cincinnati, Ohio
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6. Re: advice on keys trip


Traveling in June should afford you some flexibility in where you stay in the Keys. Many privately owned rentals have a 7 night minimum, some owners will make exceptions for June. And several real estate companies do manage rental properties, but these same rental properties are also advertised on sites like VRBO.com and GulfCoastRentals.com. Others aren't with mangement companies and can afford to charge lower rates (no commission). It's kinda like shopping for hotels- you can stay in The Red Roof Inn, The Hampton Inn or The Marriott- it's really what you desire for the money... Several of us on this site do own our own rental properties in KCB. What's nice about that is that we take an active interest in vacationers and can answer additional questions you might have to plan your perfect vacation. For instance, I furnish an extensive book in my unit that gives you detailed advice, ideas about this area, what to do, where to eat etc....My current renter just stated that they really appreciated so much information and they have been staying in KCB for years!

Sometime ago I wrote this article on Key Colony Beach and Key West with various website links... It has seriously been edited down (unfortunately) but here it is (with my added comments):

"Inside Key Colony Beach: Background"

These links will give you an overview of the Florida Keys and some specific info.:

www.thefloridakeys.com and



This link will give you an overview of Key Colony Beach and why it is sooo nice for a vacation destination! The speed limit is 20 MPH so it's real safe to walk around or rent bikes (in Marathon) on the designated "jogging paths" as indicated on the official city map .... From these various homeowner rentals or hotels/condos you can walk to more than 3 restaurants, the childrens playground/ 9 hole golf coarse, tennis courts, basketball courts etc. . and


This website for The Cabana Club has a swimming pool and sandy beach (private menbership swim club so make sure your rental includes this amenity).

And in addition to that KCB beach there is a membership only private beach "Inch Beach" which 150 homeowners have priveleges to. So check which rentals include this amenity as well.

Also for Key West (about a 1 hour drive southwest): http://www.keywestmagazine.com


Hope this helps! Enjoy your vacation!

7. Re: advice on keys trip

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