Stuu

Need general Keys vacation advice

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Been living in SW Florida the last few years, loving it. Wife says "let's take a trip to the Keys around Thanksgiving, you and Jack can fish, I'll sit by the pool all day, and we can go out to eat at night". 

Never been in the Keys, so,  where should we go ? Key West worth the drive ? Islamorado? Anywhere else ? Is Thanksgiving a crazy time down there? My son and I prefer to DIY, but might do a charter? 

Any specific places/hotels anyone could suggest ?(good Beatles fishing opportunities)

Thanks, Stu

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Hard to go wrong with the Keys so long as hurricane season is over! I’ve stayed on Marathon, Cudjoe, and Key Largo. Usually rental properties but a Hampton Inn in Key Largo where we could look out the window and see a manatee swimming in the canal. Also signs at the local state park warning about dangerous reptiles, so did not chance a swim. Restaurant called something like Hogfish Grill was excellent. Stayed twice at a rental at Venture Out park on Cudjoe Key. This was my favorite. Large pool, small store for necessities and bait, lotsa boaters as most homes front a canal, so dinners on the lanai are awesome. Bridges for fishing, 20 min to Key West, great charters (try Andrew Tipler of Reel Cast charters. He put me and a buddy onto tarpon, grouper, mangrove snapper, and jack cravalle). You could also go to Bahia Honda state park, think they have a kayak rental shop there. And water shallow enough to wade. Marathon stayed at a rented condo. Great until the public service announcement said to seek shelter from a pending tornado. We were on the 3rd floor. WTF were we supposed to go? Restaurant on Marathon had great stone crabs, think it was called Key Fisheries. Good luck with your search, and let us know how it goes.

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If you gonna bridge hop I'd definitely stay in Islamorada area, tons of nice places to stay, good restaurants and close proximity to very good bridge fishing

If the DW is coming along I'd get a nice place so she can enjoy the beach and pool while you disappear for a few hours

Bridges to fish, Tea table, Indian Key, Legnumvitae by Robbies, ch2, ch5 and Long Key Br

Hotels with the DW, Cheeca Lodge, Islander and another hundred of nice smaller places, without the DW Key Lantern and Blue Finn Inn

Lazydays is by far my fav place for a nice dinner and LoreLei is great watering hole with good food, You're gonna love it !

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2 hours ago, quest450 said:

If you gonna bridge hop I'd definitely stay in Islamorada area, tons of nice places to stay, good restaurants and close proximity to very good bridge fishing

If the DW is coming along I'd get a nice place so she can enjoy the beach and pool while you disappear for a few hours

Bridges to fish, Tea table, Indian Key, Legnumvitae by Robbies, ch2, ch5 and Long Key Br

Hotels with the DW, Cheeca Lodge, Islander and another hundred of nice smaller places, without the DW Key Lantern and Blue Finn Inn

Lazydays is by far my fav place for a nice dinner and LoreLei is great watering hole with good food, You're gonna love it !

That’s it, Islamorado it is ! I was thinking about Cheeca Lodge, but truthfully, that’s the only one I knew of. I’ll check out the others as well.
 

Thanks for the reply !

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Cheeca Lodge is expensive but awesome. It’s the best place I’ve ever stayed. There’s a ton of great restaurants nearby. I would like to go back. They recently opened up a new pool too. 

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Duck key, stay at hawks Kay, pricey? Yup, great spot, great amenities, centrally located

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I’ve done quite a few different trips over the years , if your main goal is fishing , than I would suggest Big Pine , backcountry , flats , easy ocean / reef access. While not super high end , Old Wooden Bridge gives a good bang for your buck . I travel solo or with one other person. We are not hi maintenance . It’s all about the fishing . That being said , there are plenty of other things to do on bad weather days . Thankfully I’m in a position where I can stay just about anywhere , OWB suits me just fine , I can tie up my rental boat directly to the houseboat I rent , get fuel, ice , there’s 3-4 good tackle/ bait shops within a 10 min drive , supermarket , restaurants whatever , although I don’t drink the No Name Pub is within walking or crawling distance . The OWB has been replaced by a new concrete one which serves as a platform for some excellent bridge fishing when it’s howling . Might not be for everyone , however the fact that it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other spots , may allow for a few extra days . They also have a nice pool & rent yaks , pontoon boats as well as skiffs & center consoles . Ask for Robin , tell her Bill from Jersey sent ya . She’s good people originally from Mass. 

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Thanks for the additional replies.

 

Fishing in not my main concern, I pretty much fish 5 days a week as it is, but it is the main concern of my 16 year old, who will fish every second of every day. My wife just wants to see “something new”, while getting away from her very stressful job, and get some relaxing in by a pool. She likes “nice” places, and deserves it. I guess my main concern is finding a balance to keep both of them happy.

Going to reconsider Thanksgiving week, as the expected price increase was more then expected. Maybe the week before.

Cheeca Lodge and Hawks Cay seem like good choices, so will probably end up choosing between the two.

As for fishing, we prefer “do it yourself”  land based opportunities to a guide. Early morning and late evening sessions, light tackle lure fishing. Willing to drive to find it, but would love some opportunities walking distance from the room.
Considering that, any thoughts on what would present good fishing opportunities between Cheeca and Hawks ?

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why not do a day trip and get a feel for both places and let the DW make the decission, you're only four hours away

IMO you have better bridges for ninja style fishing and more to do by staying at Cheeca,

I think Hawks Cay is more of a all inclusive, stay on the property kinda place

Both places are great choice and you will not be disappointed

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Check out La Jolla in Islamorada. Cheap and not bad at all. It is a real sleeper, unless money is no object.

Edited by b4loran

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I hope to visit the keys this winter in my little motor home.

looking for a replacement for the Outer Banks of NC.  It was 7 hours drive from old home, we used to spend 30 nights per year in OBX.

its 12 hours from new Home in Central FL to OBX so its no longer a evening trip after work.  But the keys start at just 5 hours away now.

also the Panhandle area is same distance.

I need a new fishing spot that resembles OBX (no commercial attractions).

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7 hours ago, towpro said:

I hope to visit the keys this winter in my little motor home.

looking for a replacement for the Outer Banks of NC.  It was 7 hours drive from old home, we used to spend 30 nights per year in OBX.

its 12 hours from new Home in Central FL to OBX so its no longer a evening trip after work.  But the keys start at just 5 hours away now.

also the Panhandle area is same distance.

I need a new fishing spot that resembles OBX (no commercial attractions).

I don’t have an RV but if I did my number one spot would be Bahia Honda State Park. You’ll have access to the park before it opens to the public at 8:00 AM. Second choice would be Big Pine Key. 

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At Hawks, they have kayaks available to rent and you can fish the two bridges  that are adjacent to it.

Your wife would enjoy the place while you go fishing 

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