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I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

North Carolina
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I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

Hi. Hoping for some valuable input here. I am planning to spend a month later in the fall somewhere, and I'm narrowing it down to FL. My two thoughts right now are either Key West or Ft. Myers. If anyone can offer wise advise, based on the following brief information about what I'm looking for - I'd appreciate. What I want out of the trip: Dog-friendly. An area with things to do like dining, casual shopping, and the ability to walk or bike safely. I want a sense of community where people know each other and I could maybe even make some friends in the month I am there. Dog-friendly is important of course - because I'll be traveling alone, so it will truly me a "me and my dog" type of trip. I'd also love to go to a beach often - doesn't need to be a long beach, just a beach with that tropical island feel. I want to feel I've truly escaped the American pace, but yet have things to do. I'm not a super active person but I walk, do yoga, bike..those types of things. KW intrigues me and I know I would stay in a quieter area, but wondering if a month in Key West is too isolated? I suppose I can visit the other keys too right? BTW, I don't want to move - I would rent 1 place for a month and it would be "my home" for that time. Thanks so much! Other location suggestions are welcome too!!

UK
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1. Re: I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

both those areas are dog friendly (but you can't take fido on most beaches). FMB probably you wouldn't make friends as much as more crowded with people stying a short time. KW will see accomodation much more expensive.

Rentals will be cheaper than motels/hotels either place.

Other areas to look at might be pass a grille, Amelia island.

Bradenton, Florida
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2. Re: I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

For totally dog friendly also look at Sanibel Island. Dogs are allowed on the beach there, on leash, one of the few places they are allowed.

North Carolina
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3. Re: I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

Thank you both for the two responses so far. I like the idea of both Sanibel and/or Amelia Island. Sanibel is so nice, and I'd not heard of Amelia. Any Key West experts out there, would love to know if you think Key West could give me that relaxing, but friendly with things to do, type of time I am looking for. Btw, my budget is like $3k max for the month for a rental...but I only need 1 bdrm, so I think that should be doable.

Captiva Island...
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4. Re: I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

Agree with the above suggestion of Sanibel. It has everything you describe. Fall is off season, you can definitely find something in your price range very close to, if not on the beach. Sanibel has over 22 miles of bike paths and it's very easy to bike to restaurants, the grocery, etc...

Sanibel is very lush, over 2/3rd of the Island is nature reserve, it has a great tropical vibe to it. I'm on Island frequently, and I really do feel as if I am home when there. The locals are friendly and they really do appreciate the tourists.

As Kris mentioned leashed dogs are allowed on all of Sanibel's beaches and the Island is generally pet friendly. There are quite a few restaurants that allow your dog to dine with you on the patio.

If you would like any more info about Sanibel, or help in finding pet friendly accommodations, come on over to the Sanibel Forum!

North Carolina
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5. Re: I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

TY Bean3 - that is truly helpful. I sort of had Key West in my mind as I have always wanted to visit. But perhaps Sanibel is more what I'm looking for. I will "hop on over" to that forum for sure, thank you.

Melbourne, Florida
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6. Re: I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

You should do some research on the Florida Keys and Key West forums. You said fall and I am assuming October which is a crazy month for Key West. Fantasy Fest is over the top, similar to Mardi Gras in NO. If its september or November it will be much tamer. We like Key Colony Beach area in Marathon but its more laid back than Key West. I think like the others suggested you might want to look at places like Sanibel, Siesta Key or something on the gulf.

Amelia Island is nice too but on the Atlantic side north of Jacksonville. Look at Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach and also St. Mary's, Ga which is a small town nearby. There are good seafood restaurants and a few shops on Amelia but it is pretty small area. You would be about 40 min from Jacksonville and 1.25 from St. Augustine. You could also make a trip up to Savannah from there if you so desired. Its only about 2 hours tops from there.

the gulf coast will have miles of beaches, sea shells, great sunsets.

I don't know how pet friendly AI is but try their forum or the Jacksonville forum for answers to that question.

UK
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7. Re: I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

The problem with the gulf is dog friendly beaches. They do have them, but the majority do not allow dogs. So choose by which counties allow dogs on leash (such as Sanibel which is under Lee County). I didn't rec this at first as I thought (like KW) it might be out of budget but now you've said your budget of 3K I agree you should be able to find something as it is out fo season then.

The dog policy (if allowed or not, or allowed via leash only) will be available online.

So Sanibel sounds the best bet (along with the mid keys, I like that idea) until you have a chance to find out which counties allow dogs on t he beaches.

North Carolina
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8. Re: I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

Thank you again for all the comments. Funny, in looking at Sanibel Rentals, I can't really find anything great for me (at least not straight off). I had a remark from a friend that she thinks I'd get bored in key west for that long. Has anyone spent a lot of time there and would you agree? Keeping in mind, I'd be working (online) most days, so I would just be getting out for things like: yoga, dining, shopping, drives, walks, etc. PS: I'm not too worried about beaches being dog friendly - I was more thinking of a dog-friendly place where I can walk into town and have my dog with me if I popped into a shop or dined on the patio, etc. Sorry, kind of hard to describe since I think what I'm after is a personal experience vs. specific "things" about a "place" :) Thanks for any more input. I really do appreciate these forums!

JENSEN BEACH
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9. Re: I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

Key West is really more of a party town than it sounds like you are looking for. It sounds like you would prefer more of a "quaint town"? I like St Augustine a lot and it is walkable to most everything if you get a place in/near town. Just across the N or S bridge you have beach options at St Augustine Beach and Vilano Beach. Lots of places on VRBO.com. A bit farther South the small town of Stuart if very pet friendly and has beaches across the birdges on Hutchinson Island. Plenty to do nearby in Jensen Beach (2 miles), West Palm Beach (30 miles) etc Stuart has several nice waterfront parks (Shephard's Park, Flagler Park, Riverwalk) Some restaurants have pet bowls and treats, The Pelican even has a pet night...The Town of Jupiter has lovely beaches that are, per the original town charter, pet friendly. Even have "doggie pick up" bags at the beach accesses. Jupiter Bay East is a condo project close to the beach that rents monthly. Also near a very nice park, Carlin Park with plenty of walking trails.... I think this type place is more conducive to making "connections" meeting people than the more touristy and crowded Key West. We love Sanibel but the Gulf Coast can be much hotter and "buggy" that time of year than the East Coast. The East Coast has the Gulfstream just offshore and more breeze.

North Carolina
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10. Re: I have a month to spend in FL - indecisive...

Thank you, good advice and points...Also an area I hadn't really thought of..I was really focusing on the gulf. I will check into those towns/areas - thank you!!