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Drive from MIA to Key West

Drive from MIA to Key West

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Old Apr 6, 19, 12:25 pm
  #16  
 
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We recently did the drive from Homestead to Key West and did this timelapse ...

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Old May 3, 19, 11:40 am
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Thanks again to all of those who helped this OP plan this trip. We go home tomorrow so I wanted to report back with some information:
  • We flew into MIA at about 4:30 from SFO and wisely had decided NOT to drive down to the upper keys until the next day. Good thing; it took a full 90 minutes and a 2 miles walk (seriously this is what my husband and I both came to independently to get our bags and the car; it was one very long walk, and half of it with all of our luggage) and drive 1 mile to the airport hotel. Am thrilled we took advice offered here and are flying out of Key West. I haven't been to MIA in 20 years and I really disliked it then too
  • Drive after the morning rush hour was a breeze and we were in Islamorada in plenty of time for lunch. We stayed at Drop Anchor resort which is an old style Florida motel on the water. Small, but we had a lovely room with a gorgeous vies of the water (unit 9) and a kitchen.
  • Recommend the Square Grouper for lunch or dinner (pretty sure no reservations). They have a popular place further down the keys in Cudjoe Key and recently opened the one in Islamorada. Too new for the guide books which is always nice. Had a great lunch; best sweet potato fries on our trip.
  • Stopped at No Name Bar the next day for lunch and would recommend skipping it. No deer to be seen, and I had read so much about this place that I expected at least good food. Disappointing. Aside from the schtick about the dollar bills it was entirely ordinary. Nothing special in terms of food or service and all the people around us were disappointed to find that despite three “drinks” being listed on the menu they only serve beer and wine and the drinks" were made with wine. Seems like one of those places that is resting on its glory these days.
  • Stayed at Parmer's Resort in Little Pine Key which was another lovely old style Florida resort. Would recommend it highly but go this year. They are tearing it mostly down in 2020 to put up something more "insurable". The old style places like this are disappearing.
  • We were at the Hyatt Beach House in Key West and can recommend two restaurant we ate at more than once. Moondog Cafe which was fabulous. Slightly off the beaten path at Whitehead and Octavia (close to stop 5 for the Hop on Hop off bus and the free one for old town). Charming Cafe with a front outdoor patio, an A/C dining room and wonderful food and service. They have killer baked goods and we would have probably eaten there every day if we were staying closer. Generous portions; we had lunch but I saw some huge, wonderful looking breakfasts go by. Found it on another listserv:
My favorite reasonable priced restaurant is MoonDog Cafe and Bakery. Their bakery is a treat, all baked on premise. You can watch the bakers as it’s open viewing. They have a blueberry muffin that is vegan and gluten free that is the best I ever had, full of blueberries for $2.50. My other half votes for the Black Forrest cake, a splurge, almost as expensive as a meal at $8.50 but big enough for two. Their tacos are fresh and delicious with choice of mahi, chicken, shrimp or tofu. Their pizzas are thin and crispy with generous toppings. So much more to choose from.
https://moondogcafe.com/dinner-menu/




The other restaurant was Stoned Crab which is on N. Roosevelt water side, across from the two large shopping centers with the Publix and Winn Dixie and sever other chain stores. It is part of a wholesale/retail fish company called Three Hands Fish Co and they only serve fresh fish they have caught. There is a small retail walk up window but our experience is that it was open quite variable hours. We got fish there once and they filleted it right in front of us. The larger of the two Publix (the one with the liquor store attached) also has a very decent fish department with mostly fresh fish.

We took the Hop on and Hop off bus in Key West, which I recommend, especially if you are staying in the newer part of Key West out of old town. We were close to one of the stops on the north end and it was very easy and interesting to hear so much about Key West history. Also was easy transportation to stay out of the car.
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Last edited by mstraveler; May 3, 19 at 11:47 am Reason: clarity
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Old May 5, 19, 3:36 pm
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Thanks to OP mstraveler, and to the many who replied, for this informative thread.
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Old May 30, 19, 8:11 pm
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Next will be our turn. We are looking to do this with a Cruise as well. We would be looking to fly into Miami like 2 or 3 days before our Cruise. Not sure what to do in Miami so that's why we will have limited time there. We haven't been there for almost 20 years. So at least we'll get to see it. Hoping to find a couple good restaurants for the most part. Then we'll be onto our Cruise. Hoping for only 3 or 4 days. And after that take the 7 mile bridge ride to Key West. I didn't realize you could fly out of KW. So looking forward to doing that drive once...
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Old Jun 1, 19, 9:56 am
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But finding it to be costly to fly out of Key West. Costly by points and dollars.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 9:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Caribgrl View Post
Next will be our turn. We are looking to do this with a Cruise as well. We would be looking to fly into Miami like 2 or 3 days before our Cruise. Not sure what to do in Miami so that's why we will have limited time there. We haven't been there for almost 20 years. So at least we'll get to see it. Hoping to find a couple good restaurants for the most part. Then we'll be onto our Cruise. Hoping for only 3 or 4 days. And after that take the 7 mile bridge ride to Key West. I didn't realize you could fly out of KW. So looking forward to doing that drive once...
Feed the tarpons at Robbie's in Islamorada. Have food and drinks at Lorilei's on the Florida bay. If you aren't driving, have a bushwacker. Best in the world.
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Old Jun 2, 19, 5:05 am
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Originally Posted by pbiflyer View Post
Feed the tarpons at Robbie's in Islamorada. Have food and drinks at Lorilei's on the Florida bay. If you aren't driving, have a bushwacker. Best in the world.
Thanks for the suggestions. Just trying to figure out first how to get there and back efficiently...
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Old Jun 2, 19, 8:02 am
  #23  
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Flights in or out of Key West tend to be expensive. And IIRC there are still weight restrictions on luggage.
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Old Jun 7, 19, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by pbiflyer View Post
Flights in or out of Key West tend to be expensive. And IIRC there are still weight restrictions on luggage.
Only Delta has a single bag embargo in and out of here. 75 pounds max in F.
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