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  1. Default Florida Keys for 1 week route / itinerary help please

    Hi everyone We have one week (2 - 10 August 2016) to explore the Keys before staying put in a villa further north for the remainder of the holiday. We have a cheapo motel right by Orlando Airport on the 2nd as we arrive very late and we are collecting a car too so we are good to go on the 3rd. Please could you lovely people advise me on a possible route? We love wildlife, beaches and exploring quieter areas. Not fussed for expensive restaurants etc or nightlife. We are familiar with USA as we have been road-tripping over there for 25 years + but its been 15 years since we 'did' Florida and we have not ventured to the Keys. Many thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The 'Long' Way

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The simplest and fastest way to get from Orlando to the Keys is to just take Florida's Turnpike to the Miami area and US-1 from there, possibly switching over to I-95 between Fort Pierce and Miami to save a bit on the tolls and using FL-869(toll)/I-75/FL-821(toll) around the Miami area to stay out of some of the beach congestion. But truthfully, it doesn't sound like the fast, straight, tried, and true is what you're looking for, so let me suggest a much more rural and relaxed route.

    From the Orlando airport area head southwest out of town on I-4 to US-27 south. Now admittedly this will be a bit built up with strip malls and such until you get south of about Winter Haven, but it is four-lane divided roadway and does open up eventually and then stays relatively good road with the occasional town all the way down to the Miami area. But it enters the area from the northwest giving you the option to use FL-997 to skirt the majority of the Miami metroplex to the west, joining up with US-1 south of Miami. On the way you'll be driving through the Everglades Wildlife Management Area and near enough to the main entrance (on FL-9336 out of Homestead/Florida City) to Everglades National Park to pay a visit. This 'back' way down will take at least an hour more than the turnpike, but it's more scenic and can still easily be done in a day with short stops getting to Key Largo. At that point, you have no choice as to which road to use (US-1) and you will be sharing it with everyone else on the Keys, so don't expect to move very fast past that point.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thank you for this. The 'long way' is definitely the preferred route for us. We have so far looked at stopping two nights in Key Largo, one in Marathon, two in Ramrod Key and then a final two in Key West before driving back to Orlando - which I know will be a long day but I felt that it gave us maximum time in The Keys. The beaches and sea swimming will be high on our agenda as well as taking lovely scenery /sunset / sunrise pictures. Does anyone have any advice on good places to do this on our route?
    Also small places to eat that are reasonably priced with a variety of food.
    Thanks again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Unique Vantage Point

    It's a bit pricey to get there ($175 for a round-trip ferry from Key West including the entry fee), but Dry Tortugas National Park is a truly one-of-a-kind location, even for the Florida keys. If nothing else, it's a way to get away from the crowds, get a bit of history, and savor some of the best snorkeling in the contiguous 48 states.

    AZBuck

  5. Default

    Thank you - it looks beautiful, we have also considered taking a cruise / ferry to the Bahamas is that a possibility too? We wouldn't book until we got there if it was possible

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Certainly Possible

    There are a wealth of boats plying the waters between Florida and the Bahamas. These range from luxury cruise ships and resort-owned shuttle services to the Bahamas Shuttle Boat which operates out of Fort Lauderdale and offers same day round trips to Freeport (with about six hours in port) for right around $100 (plus tax).

    AZBuck

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