a VirtualTourist member from Cleveland
I'll be in Miami for about a week this month and am considering a 24 hour jaunt into the keys.
My wife doesn't care for long car rides, so we're looking initially at Key Largo. We're not opposed to driving further than Key Largo, but I wonder if one of the other islands has more character or value. I've heard much about Key West, but no so much about Key Largo and the others. Which Island and places do you think would be best for us considering the following:
We like good local-flavor seafood.
We like natural beaches without high rise hotels & shopping centers.
We'd potentially like a good low budget snorkeling adventure. (Do you have to do the whole boat/guide thing, or is there a good place to rent gear and wade in?)
We do NOT like resorts.
We do NOT like overly corny Jimmy Buffet style party-bead culture.
Thanks for any insight in advance.
get down to Ramrod and snorkle Looe Key or maybe a little further and go out to the reef on the small speedboats out of Bahia Honda State Park. BTW - the Keys don't have beaches except at Bahia Honda and the tacky south part of Key West. From Miami, you might be much better off going to Biscayne National Park. Less car travel..great snorkle opportunity.
I would definitely say Key West is worth it but you need 1 night and 2 full days or go to Key Largo. If you go to Key West I would suggest this
1. Leave relatively early since drive will take 3-4hrs
2. Stop for 2-4hrs at Bahia Honda State Park – very nice beach
3. Get to Key West so you have time to experience the sunset (very nice)
4. Go for a snorkeling trip ½ (to reefs) or 1 day (to dry Tortugas) strongly recommend it!
Option is to okay sandy beach at hang at the Fort Taylor beach which is okay
5 Drive back in late afternoon