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  1. Default Florida Accomodations

    Hello all,

    I've been a reader for a while now, but this is my first post. I'm planning a road trip to Florida from Toronto in March. I've found pretty much enough on these forums to figure out our route and stops along the way. However, I'm having difficulty trying to select the right accomodations in Orlando.

    There will be about 12 of us going. 3 family's, and a wide range of ages, the youngest being a 1 year old, and the oldest, 70+, and we've got everything in between. Because of the large group, we were thinking the best option would be to rent a villa, somewhere near disney. Our plan is to stay in orlando for 4 days. 2 of which, we'll make day trips to Clearwater and Daytona. From Orlando, we'll drive up to Miami, stay there a day or two, then on to the Keys. From there, we'll begin the long trek back to Toronto.

    Here is the problem. There are waayyy too many choices for villa/vacation home rentals in Orlando, and we have heard that a lot of them are much nicer in their pictures online, than they are in reality. So if anyone can recommend anything, that would be much appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default What We Do

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    My wife and I adopted the vacation home rental style of travel about 10 years ago and have found it an excellent fit to our needs. Coming "home" each night, especially to a stocked kitchen and multiple rooms sure beats returning to 4 cinder block walls of a typical motel room, and in the end doesn't cost that much more. There are many web based services out there that seek to link owners and renters, but the best we've found is VRBO. I will note that Arthur Frommer finally caught up with us and mentioned this resource in his travel column last Sunday. Here, for example, is a picture of the last place we rented using one of these services (not VRBO in this case.) The key to finding the best places, my wife has found - and she deserves all the credit here - is to look for places that show many pictures of the actual accommodations. No pictures = no rental. Pictures of only the pool or neighborhood = no rental. Ideally, every inch of the place will be shown, all common rooms and all bedrooms. Here is the web page for the cottage I showed in the post. Note the number and inclusiveness of the photos. The next step is to look for evidence of a woman's touch in the decor. That may sound sexist, but in fact the two worst (but still quite acceptable!) places we've booked were places owned and operated by men. With those thoughts in mind, here are the Orlando VRBO listings. You can sort these by number of bedrooms, but that only sorts each town's listings individually, so you'll still have to look through the list. I'd think you'd want at least 6 or 7 bedrooms which reduces your search to looking at a few dozen listings, but I think you should be able to find something that suits you. Good Luck!


  3. Default

    Hi there AZBuck,

    Thanks for all the information. I had seen VRBO in my searching, but wasn't sure if it was a trust worthy site. But after hearing from you, I gave it a second look, and there are some really nice places, with practical prices.

    Thanks very much for your help!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Miami Accomodations?

    If you are looking for beachfront lodging in the Miami area, I'd suggest the Greenbriar Beach Club which is just a couple of minutes north of Miami in a very quiet neighborhood. They have clean small apartments with kitchens for families, free continental breakfast, a pool, games, BBQ's and they're located right on a semi-private beach with a lifeguard nearby so you don't need to worry about the kids all the time.


  5. Default

    Thanks Gen, we'll take a look at this one as well. Would it be worth it to find a place in the Keys when we go there, or is Miami good enough?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Miami - Key West

    Would it be worth it to find a place in the Keys when we go there, or is Miami good enough?
    I think the Keys are magnificient, offer lots of entertainment and activities, but I think lodging is generally overpriced. Since I travel on a budget most of the time, I would stay in Miami but that doesn't mean you have to do the same. If you have enough budget to rent a cottage in the Keys, go for it, you're going to love it. Just make sure the cottage is not located on the main highway since it can be pretty busy, especially on the weekends. If you prefer to stay in Miami, the trip to Key West is about 3½-4 hours long, so it would make a good day trip if you wake up and leave early. Don't forget to visit Papa's House in Key West and grab a homemade Key lime pie before you get back to the main land!:o)


  7. Default

    Mmmm ... key lime pie ... my favorite!

    Speaking of which, I remember one year, maybe 8 years ago, I had come to Florida with my parents, I don't recall what time of year it was though, but every corner had an Orange stand with the sweetest tasting Oranges I've ever had. What time of the year would that be?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default The Keys are different

    Yeah, it can be expensive to stay in the Keys, but I wouldn't stay in Miami and try and make a day trip out of it. It is possible, of course, but you will miss "the Keys" if you do. There is no substitute for wandering the streets of Key West after dark --


  9. Default

    Great, we'll definitely try and stay in the Keys then. What about Orange season, anyone know when that is?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    South FL for now, but in June 2007 - the Pacific NW!


    Sadly, orange season is almost over! It starts in November and peaks in December. (That's why ambrosia is so popular at Christmas.) Honeybells (a very yummy type of orange) are only available in January. You could probably pick up some last-of-the-year lingerers in the next month or so, but by March-April, most of the growers have closed for the summer.

    When you are in Miami, make sure to check out the Fruit and Spice Park. It's 35 acres of every kind of fruit and nut tree you could imagine. You can't pick anything, but you can eat anything that's fallen. It's an amazing spot to check out all kinds of exotic fruits from the islands and South America.

    Try to plan your trip to the Keys so that you are not driving in on a Thursday or Friday, and not leaving on a Sunday or Monday. That will make your drive much more pleasant, not having to deal with the "weekenders." Make sure you rent scooters in Key West!

    Have a great trip!

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