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2 weeks tour of Florida

G31
Minden, Germany
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2 weeks tour of Florida

What do you guys think of this for 2 weeks in Florida? I have the slight suspicion that I will have to drop something if I don’t want to be completely exhausted by the end of my holiday ….

1 day: Flight. Arrive in Miami / get car, stay somewhere on South Beach (2 nights)

2 day: explore Miami

3 day: early start and drive down to Key West. Arrive Key West for lunch. Explore

4 day travel back up North, stop for Everglades. Drive up direction St Augustine

5 day: explore St Augustine and drive up to Savannah (3 nights)

6 day: Savannah

7 day: Savannah and surroundings

8 day: drive to Tampa area, stay one night (probably a day just driving)

9 day Busch Garden and then drive to Anna Maria Island (3 nights)

10 day Anna Maria Island

11 day Anna Maria Island

12 day drive to Orlando – stay for 7 nights (villa) to explore Theme Parks and Space Centre

So, what do you think? Too much driving? I guess I probably have to drop either Key West or Savannah or the West Coast and spend a bit more time at some of the other locations?

PS I know Savannah isn't in Florida but I would just love to see it.

South Florida...
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1. Re: 2 weeks tour of Florida

You are correct, lots of driving. A few suggestions...do some research on Miami and know exactly what you want to see. Miami is a frantic city and unless you are focused on what you specifically want to see you will be wasting lots of time. Uf you are traveling back north from Key West the Everglades is a full day adventure and I would be remiss if I didn't encourage you to spend time in Shark Valley and then drive up the Tamiami Trail to see old Florida. Then cut back east at some point to make your trip to St. Augustine. You will not have time to explore St. Augustine and then drive to Savannah in one day...I would cut one day of Savannah if it were me. It is a lovely place but again mae sure what you want to see. On the way to Savannah you will also pass Jekyll Island, Tybee Island, Fernandina Beach, etc. all of which are nice visits plus you can either take the scenic highway A1A or elect to go Interstate. If I had to drop a place I think I would drop Anna Maria as it is just another beach island. There are many along the way. If I can be of any more help please do not hesitate to let me know.

JENSEN BEACH
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2. Re: 2 weeks tour of Florida

way too much travel imo. One day to drive to Key West leaving early the next morning? Why not relax and enjoy at least 2-3 days in the Keys, especially if you plan to see the Everglades as well? You are looking at a LONG drive Key West to St Augustine..lots to see and do in St Augustine..looks like you plan to do St Augustine and drive to Savannah in one day? I would cut out some places to even be able to enjoy the places you only allowed one day for. The itinerary sounds more like just a lot of driving to me. I would skip Tampa and Anna Maria Island if you really want to go to Savannah. I personally would skip Miami before I skipped the Keys.

Melbourne, Florida
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3. Re: 2 weeks tour of Florida

I agree with other posters, you are going to be exhausted from driving and not get to see much of the places you are visiting. I would spend less time in Miami and more in the keys. Same with St. Augustine, either skip it or Savannah. Tybee Island is nice and is only 10 minutes from Savannah. Use www.mapquest.com for routes, mileage and approx. driving times. That may help you decide how to narrow things down. Plus you will be spending most of your time on the interstate while driving and not really seeing Florida.

Another way is to fly into Orlando, drive from there to St. Augustine / Savannah, back over to Tampa / Amelia Island then down to the Everglades / Keys for the last few days and ending in Miami? I love Savannah and St. Augustine. Hard to choose between them.

As suggested do some research and figure out what you want to do in each place, then you can narrow it down if you need to.

G31
Minden, Germany
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4. Re: 2 weeks tour of Florida

thanks everyone for their response. I kind of thought that I want to see too much. I have read a few travel guides and these are the places that interest me. it is just so hard to cut something out. If it was me, I'd drop Miami but my brother really wants to see it. And I have my heart set on Savannah. The Keys sound like a must too. I need to finish up in Orlando as I want an extra week there.

So, I might have to drop Anna Maria and Tampa which would give me some extra days. Altough the beaches on Anna Maria look really good!

Groveland, FL
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5. Re: 2 weeks tour of Florida

G31:

What time of year are you planning to travel to our "sunshine state"? It will make a big difference if your trip is in the summer. Coming from England will be a huge weather adjustment for you. As a native Floridian, I can tell you that the heat and humidity here is a killer for a large part of the year. These conditions can be a major factor in how enjoyable your vacation is. No matter what time of year you visit, be sure to bring sun hat, sun glasses,and sun screen!

By all means, please check mileages before you finalize your itinerary. It is a looong way from Key West to Savannah!!!

GMomandGDad

G31
Minden, Germany
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6. Re: 2 weeks tour of Florida

I will be over late April / ealy May. I am starting to think I will concentrate on the Atlantic coast, that will be plenty of driving. Maybe add another night on the Keys and take 2 days to travel up to Savannah.

I am a bit worried, driving into Miami after the long flight. If I was to drive down to the Keys instead of staying overnight in Miami, what would be a nice stop over for the first night? Say within 30 minutes - 1 hour max of the airport? Nothing special, just nice clean hotel within a smallish town with restaurants. Maybe I could then do Miami on the way from the Keys to Savannah. Would that make sense?

Melbourne, Florida
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7. Re: 2 weeks tour of Florida

Key Largo is about 1 to 1-1/2 hrs from Miami depending on the time of day. Take the turnpike, not I-95. Check the Florida Keys forum and the Key Largo forum for suggestions on where to stay. Depending on what time you are arriving will depend on what you have time to do on the way. Keys forum has lots of suggestions for stops on the way. April / May is a good time to visit. Not extremely hot yet but water is warm for swimming, snorkeling.

Vero Beach, Florida
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8. Re: 2 weeks tour of Florida

Savannah, along with Charleston and New Orleans, is worth the effort to visit, even rather briefly. It was a major cotton port and has a unique and beautiful town plan, the sort that might have popped up in Georgian England, but didn't. Edinburgh's New Town is a little bit similar, but far grander.

The drive up there can be made more productive by visiting some other bits of coastal Georgia. Perhaps St. Simons Island or the more natural Cumberland (which takes a day because of the ferry).

On the way back from Savannah, St. Augustine is a neat place to stop, though you should bear in mind that the town was burned to the ground around 1702 (a British invasion) and never amounted to much until it briefly became a destination for rich winter tourists in the late 1800s. The monumental hotels, churches, and other tourist facilities are rather unique. Some of the first poured-concrete buildings anywhere.

Florida has some quite beautiful natural areas, and if you're driving extensively, some are easy to drop by. I would commend the scenic loop starting in Ormond Beach on the Atlantic coast, heading north to the first bridge to the mainland, and back on the inland side of the lagoon to Ormond, again. Ormond is a nice beachside town, boasting a winter home of John D. Rockefeller, the greatest oil baron.

Northern Florida has spectacular springs, thanks to the limestone terrain. Blue Spring State Park near Orlando is easy to visit.

Miami is rather spread out and has forbidding traffic on weekdays. You really need a short list of things to do; the nature of the list depends entirely on your interests. I think the Viscaya palace is undergoing restoration; Deering Estate (much more modest house, neat natural area) is quite open. For botanical gardens, The Kampong (small) and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (large). Culturally, Miami Beach is a remarkable preserve for mid 20th century Art Deco. Most was ordinary architecture for ordinary people when built. The area's since been transformed to become one of the few truly, internationally, hip places south of New York and east of California.

Some of the Gulf Coast beaches are exquisite. I'd nominate Lovers Key State Park, Sanibel Island, and Siesta Key.

The theme parks in and near Orlando are very much a matter of taste and interest. They're all worth visiting. It's up to you whether to try to ride all the rides or experience everything. Bear in mind that the International Drive area has lots of fine dining. If you gotta see gardens, the City of Orlando runs the impressive Leu Gardens.

There are some good nature centers (some will not show up well in tourist guides) and sort of a dearth of museums, unless you're a fan of Salvador Dali (St. Petersburg) or Louis Comfort Tiffany (Winter Park, part of the Orlando urban area).

Vero Beach, Florida
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9. Re: 2 weeks tour of Florida

Someone will post a better response to your question about arriving at Miami airport and driving toward the Keys rather than staying near the airport or in central Miami.

I've driven from Orlando to home after arriving from London, so I think wakefulness isn't a problem. (Arriving from Japan is another matter).

There's plenty of hotels at Miami airport. Should you make a drive to the south, the logical thing to do would be to go to Homestead/Florida City. There's several quite nice chain hotels at the southern terminus of the Florida Turnpike. This would be an ideal starting point for a one-day visit to Everglades National Park via the Homestead entrance, then proceed down the Keys the next day.

Visitors drive through the Upper Keys (Key Largo, etc) and miss some of the nice natural areas up there. Pennekamp State Park is nice even if you don't do the boat and Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park is different. Lignumvitae Key is, unfortunately, probably too difficult of access. It's only by boat.

www.floridastateparks.org/lignumvitaekey/

UK
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10. Re: 2 weeks tour of Florida

Skip Tampa and Savannah might be best to make it more relaxing. Stick with Anna Maria and stay another night in KW.