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Old Dec 17, 18, 10:25 am
  #5  
mstraveler
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: San Francisco
Programs: Four Seasons Aviara (owner), Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Hertz President's Circle, United 30+ yrs
Posts: 1,161
Originally Posted by pbiflyer View Post
Traffic out of MIA will be bad, but as you said before, once you are out of there, it should be fine. I would take the Dolphin Expressway (836) all the way out to the Turnpike extension. Be aware traffic on the 836 will suck until you get past the Palmetto, if not a bit beyond. But it will also suck in the morning.

You have the choice of two ways to get to the keys, Card Sound is usually a bit less crowded, but I like just taking US1. Perhaps one way down, the other back. Did you stop at Alabama Jack's? Great little stop, even now. Fridays going down and Sundays coming back can be bad. Would avoid those days if you can. One wreck can slow you down for hours.

In Islamorada, did you stay on the ocean side or the bay side? Sunsets are typically seen on the bay side. https://www.matecumberesort.net/
For the bay side, what about the Kon Tiki? (I have not stayed there in over a decade, but it looks like what you are searching for. Kon Tiki Resort ? Kick back and relax in Islamorada Florida
The ocean side ones have mostly been renovated and are higher end. If you stayed on the ocean side, was it Holiday Isle? If so, long since gone. Although Matecumbe Resort might fit your bill as well. Again, haven't stayed there in over a decade.

For sunsets there, you still can't beat Lorelei's. Still good food, drinks, music and amazing sunsets. Robbie's is still a good place to eat and feed the tarpon.
Many thanks for drivingand other advice pbiflyer. We stayed on the bay side and it is quite possible it was Casa Morada where we stayed - at least a 20 year old version of it. The Matecumber resort and the Kon Tiki also seem like good options.

Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
If it's feasible, I would recommend driving one way, and flying the other (utilizing a one-way car rental MIA-EYW, or vice versa).

The drive is certainly worth doing one way; but the roundtrip drive is a bit much if you will only be in Key West for a short period of time.
Good suggestion and second by Ceres. The one way drive will likely be all we need.

QUOTE=Ceres;30545025]I was just in keys over Thanksgiving. A lot of new construction since IRMA hit town. Key Colony Beach got whacked pretty good. Did not go much past Marathon this time. KW too crowded touristy for me. A cruise ship hits the town and its game on. It will be better in late April but easter is late this year, so it won't be a ghost town.
PBIflyer has good recommendations.


Things I would do on the way down:
Dinner:
Mrs. Mac's the original, not #2 (key Largo Bayside) Great food eclectic atmosphere.
Lazy Days (Islamorada Oceanside). Good food great ocean views.

Stop at Loralie for sunset as PBI says it a great place.
Stop at keys fisheries in Marathon and walk up the stairs and got to the bar/raw bar
Cocktails at the Cheeca Lodge. (Oceanside) Its where I prefer to stay but its not old school.
Or Havana Jacks on Key Colony Beach. Brand new, thanks to Irma. (Oceanside)
Alabama Jacks on the way in is nice but I have not been there since the storm.
No Name Pub on Big Pine Key. Cool odd place off the beaten path. (That is where I usually make my U-turn and head back east anymore. Been to KW 20 times.)

Lodging I usually stay at Cheeca in the middle keys or either of the two Marriotts in Key Largo. The Hilton is under renovations. But for a good old school place, I heard the Casa Morada (bayside Islamorada)
Drop Anchor is a very clean old school place (Oceanside MM 85). Have friends that stay there.
GUV 1976 is right, fly back to Miami.

That's all I can think of now.
[/QUOTE]

Key West is a bit of an experiment this time. We staying at the Hyatt Beach House (a trade for some time we have at the Four Seasons resort in Carlsbad) and we'll see if there is enough to do for a week. I find myself wishing it were 40 years ago; I can imagine how touristy it has gotten. Generally try to avoid anyplace that docks cruise ships Really appreciate all the suggestions for places to eat/stay/drive. Will make planning this so much easier.
It is hard to imagine planning a trip anymore with out my FT community! A wealth of generously given information. Happy holidays to all.
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