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  1. #1
    Old Padawan's Avatar
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    A little Florida time...

    Ahoy Floridians.

    I am thinking of spending a few days (Jan 19 – Jan 22) in Florida. I will be there on business and was thinking of going down to the keys for a couple of days. I just want to experience the semi tropical green environment.

    It is dry and brown in Phoenix.

    Can anyone recommend an out of the way (read cheap) place to sleep and shower? A cheap hotel or campground? I don’t care about the amenities and am even considering sleeping in the car. I dont want to stay in a house or B&B, I just want to be alone for three days.

    Where to go and what to do? I don’t want to fish, and I don’t want to snorkel (some shark would see me in the water and smile thinking “wow my lucky day, how did a walrus get this far south”). Just walk on the beach, find a quite place to read. Ride a bicycle and maybe find a couple of trails to hike. Shoot a LOT of photos.
    "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." -Mark Twain

  2. #2
    DarrylS's Avatar
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    ...What part of Florida is your "business" taking ya to??...

  3. #3
    kev74's Avatar
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    There aren't too many quiet spots in the keys anymore, but Key West is a great place to see if you've never been there. Check Travelocity or the like and you'll find the going rate. Most of the cheap places will be away from the action. As for a place to shower, find a gym and get a day pass. It will be cheaper than a hotel.

    I'd advise against sleeping in the car unless you're at a campground. There are a lot of broke, strung out kooks who are constantly on the lookout for a (seemingly) easy target.

  4. #4
    JeffWard's Avatar
    JeffWard is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev74 View Post
    There aren't too many quiet spots in the keys anymore, but Key West is a great place to see if you've never been there. Check Travelocity or the like and you'll find the going rate. Most of the cheap places will be away from the action. As for a place to shower, find a gym and get a day pass. It will be cheaper than a hotel.

    I'd advise against sleeping in the car unless you're at a campground. There are a lot of broke, strung out kooks who are constantly on the lookout for a (seemingly) easy target.
    Don't mind the kooks, we have reciprocity with Arizona...

    I'd suggest the "eastern keys" (cayes), as they are closer to Miami, a much shorter drive, long on scenery, and shorter on kooks... Marathon, etc... Just watch out for the nude beahces...

  5. #5
    Old Padawan's Avatar
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    I will be in Orlando in January for the SHOT show, and plan on traveling to the Keys on the 19th.

    Jeff what Eastern Keys would you reccomend? My goal are to drink beer and smoke cigars at a tiki bar on the beach, and shoot a bunch of photos. I am planning on 2 days there.
    "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." -Mark Twain

  6. #6
    DarrylS's Avatar
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    ...I'm a lot further north in Florida than you're gonna be headed but I can't think of a better place to sit around in a tiki hut drinkin' some brew and watching the "bikini's" walk by...

  7. #7
    Old Padawan's Avatar
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    I am in the early planning stage.

    I am thinking of driving from Orlando to Key Largo (6 hours).hit the beach, drink beer take pictures, smoke cigars and watch the sunset.

    Drive down to the southern keys the next day (2 hours) and hang out. Take some photos of the highway, hit the beach, find a jungle trail, hike, take photos. Then back to Key Largo for more beer, cigars, and beach time.

    Leave for Miami. Go to a cigar factory (lets see if cuban makers roll per the legend), eat Cuban food, smoke cigars, drink beer walk on the beach and shoot photos.

    Kennedy Space Center prior to flying out. I wonder if they have a beach…
    "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." -Mark Twain

  8. #8
    BigMatt's Avatar
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    Find you a good Dominican Cigar roller they are the BOMB!

  9. #9
    JeffWard's Avatar
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    Kennedy Space Center IS a beach... They whole damn thing... One of the nicest in FL. And if you know someone, just grab a beer and a few cigars at the O-Club at Patrick... Nice view.

    When is SHOT? I should just look it up.

    Can you get me credentials???????? Special Guest of Galco????

    Jeff

  10. #10
    bmup's Avatar
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    I'm brand new here but I live about 2.5 hrs North of Key Largo & used to hang there on weekends with some crazy charter boat captains.. but that's another story.

    When you get to Florida City, look for the turn off to Card Sound Road on your left - you get a really good view of what the keys used to look like before mass commercialization took over but you'll have to pay a dollar to use Card Sound Bridge which gives a great view too. Just before the bridge there is an open air bar called Alabama Jack's which is a great place to stop for a conch fritter and a beer & watch mostly locals go by cause tourists don't know about this road. Card Sound Road dumps you back out on US-1 in Key Largo after avoiding many miles of Winebagos & touritas towing huge boats & going too slow.
    Continue on a mile or three & look for the Islamarada Fish Company. Good food there & the Sportsman's Paradise store next to it has Hemingway's fishing boat, "Pilar" inside & you can go on board & look around at it. Cool stuff. Also, look for a place called the "Carabean Lounge". This is the place where the Humphry Bogart movie "Key Largo" was filmed. Used to be the best biker bar in the keys but now I think it's all ferns & umbrella drinks.

    Good seafood can be had almost everywhere you look & you can buy T-shirts by the lb. Campgrounds are fairly numerous but getting harder to find because land owners can make alot more money with a motel & there just isn't any more land than what's already there - it's a bunch of small islands after all.

    You are wise to camp somewhere in the upper/middle keys as the drive to Key West (and back) will be done at about 35 - 45 mph. All thru the keys, the local constabulary seem to be more concerned with your speed than of your state of sobriety - open containers are cool if you're not too obvious or tend to bump into things like other cars or storefront windows etc.

    In Key West, stop in to Sloppy Joe's Bar & have a listen to Terry Cassidy, the guitar/banjo guy. Go accross the street from Sloppy Joe's to that little hole-in-the-wall bar that's almost empty & have a beer. You are now in the REAL Sloppy Joe's Bar where Hemingway actually sat & drank with Joe & the gang.
    Go to Mallory Square to watch the sunset with everybody else & check out the steet performers etc. Juggling was king the last time I was there but that was like 25 yrs ago so I don't really know what's up there now. Or you could take any one of the "Sunset Cruises" on a charter boat which can be pretty cheap & some offer free beer/wine or champagne.
    Another thing is the Official "Southernmost Point in the Continental US" monument, which is basically a painted up hunk of concrete on a corner overlooking the ocean but it's been there since forever & if you're gonna drive all that way, you might as well see it!
    There are NO cheap motels or campgrounds in Key West that I know of but I don't exactly go there a lot. I probably should.

    I just realised how long winded I got here on my first post! Sorry 'bout that. You're gonna love the keys - it really IS a different country from where the rest of us live. Everytime I go there, I don't want to come back

    Sorry for the long winded reply,

    Bmup

  11. #11
    bill5074 is offline Member
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    Cool

    There are alot of campgrounds all through the Keys. Most of them are very nice, and well taken care of. I lived there for several years in Marathon. Check out Key Largo, Long Key, Big Pine, Marathon. Believe it or not there is not alot of beaches in the keys. There are some small ones on various keys, but nothing spectacular. Key West would probably be your best bet to find a beach of any size. Beautiful scenery all through the keys so you will not have a problem getting some good photos. Do some research on the internet before you go. It is snowbird season so you need to check availability. Some phone calls and a little research will save you alot of wasted time. If you end up on the west coast I am about 60 miles north of Tampa in Homosassa Springs. Stop by and say HI !! The nicest beaches in the state are probably in the panhandle. There are some nice ones also on both coasts around Daytona, and Clearwater-St. Pete. The drawback is traffic that you have to contend with and finding public access can be a problem in some places. Have a great time!!!!!!!!!!

  12. #12
    diselthis is offline Junior Member
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    I am new here also but ,I'll tell you the space center beach is Awesome.
    just bring water and such cause there is are no vendor's on it .
    I live about 20mins from it . I rather go there then New Smyrna Beach , and that is only 5 minutes from my home

  13. #13
    Old Padawan's Avatar
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    I found a little campground in Key Largo called Riptide. They have 5 hotel rooms. They look pretty small, I don’t think they have a toile in the room. Perfect. They have not yet (over a week) returned my phone calls or email.
    If I don’t stay there I think I will bring a small tent and stay at Key Largo Campground. It is right on the ocean and costs about $40.00 a night.
    It really isn’t about money. The difference between $90.00 and $40.00 a night is negligible for a 2 night stay. I just don’t plan on staying in a room much and don’t see the benefit of amenities.

    Thanks for the advice on Joes, I will stop in there. Sounds like a great beach on the space center
    "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." -Mark Twain

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