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1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

Rochester, NY
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1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

Hello all,

My husband and I are heading down to Florida 4/24-5/1. We are flying into Miami around 8 p.m. on Saturday (4/24), and planned on grabbing a cheap(ish) hotel somewhere in the Miami area for that night. On Sunday morning, it is our plan to get up early and drive down to Key West.

Our initial thought was that we would likely arrive in Key West in the late afternoon on Sunday (we plan on taking our time with many stops on the drive down there), and that we would stay four nights. We planned to leave on Thursday morning to drive back up to Miami, then stay somewhere in Miami until we have to fly back home on Saturday morning.

I'm being told that three full days is "too much time to spend in Key West." So now I'm not so sure? Maybe we should be leaving Key West on Wednesday so that we have two full days in KW and two full days in Miami?

More info about us: We are late-20s, we are typically "go-go-go" people on vacation. We like to get out and see, explore, do. In Key West, we were thinking we'd want to do one of the snorkeling trips, and also possibly one of the kayak tours. We are not party people, and given that I'll be ~20 weeks pregnant during our trip, that will be even more true than usual. I do want to have a little bit more of a relaxed trip than is typical for us, just because it's our "babymoon" and I'm sure my energy level won't be quite what it usually is.

So for those who are familiar with both KW and Miami--how would you split the time, given what I've told you? Also, if anyone has any other suggestions for things to do in Key West, I would appreciate it. Maybe if we can get our "must-do" list together, it'll help us figure out how much time we should really allow ourselves.


Rolla, Missouri
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1. Re: 1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

there is plenty to do in key west to keep you busy for more than three days. what do you want to do in miami? i would follow your same game plan for going home as in going to key west. i would stay sunday to friday in key west and then head to miami for one night before your flight out. whoever is telling you that three or four days is too many in key west is just wrong. someone will post a link to things to do, but you can find some of that on this page on the left and right at the top.

New Jersey
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2. Re: 1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

Check through this for descriptions of snorkeling and snorkeling / kayak trips...


If you did any two and through in a nice sunset sail - wind & Wine (tasting) and did a bicycle tour around the island, you'll start to wish you had two more days after the four.


Athens, Tennessee
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3. Re: 1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

I'm with Bo. You will find more than enough to enjoy in Key West for 3 days. I bet you will be planning another trip before you get back on the plane.

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4. Re: 1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

We've stayed as long as 3 weeks in Key West and never felt like it was too long. I assume by Miami you mean South Beach, which is the diametrical opposite of Key West. Think wearing black designer duds in South Beach vs. flip flops and t-shirts in Key West.

Fort Myers Beach...
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5. Re: 1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

If it were me I would skip Miami and head to Key West and not leave until it's time to go home.

For your first night Look at Florida City as a place to stay over night. It will take you about 45 minutes to get there and then when you get up you will not have to deal with the Miami traffic and from Florida City you will be in the Keys in about 30 minutes.

Charlotte, North...
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6. Re: 1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

My experience, 24-48 hours is more than enough for Miami; I could stay forever in KW. I've stayed in the Keys for as long as 5 weeks at a time; never bored or run out of things to do. When it's time to leave, my husband usually has to force me in the car!

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7. Re: 1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

Miami and KW are 2 diametricly opposed vacations. We do BOTH during the same trip. We start at SoBe for a few days.....usually 5 or so. We love the beach and our visits to haulover. Then we head to KW and Marrero's or Pilot House usually for a week. A perfect mix of vacation for us.

The Frozen North...
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8. Re: 1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

3 days is not too much time in key west. shortest time i've been is 5 days and that was hard. KW: lush, tropical, relaxing, no schedule, nice people. you can snorkel or sit by the pool depending on your energy. great live music. Miami: nothing starts up till 11 at night, nobody eats before 9. Everything is crazy expensive. People are full of attitude. Go to Miami to sit on the beach. But then head down to key west and enjoy. i promise you will NOT be bored.

Key West, Florida
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9. Re: 1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

Hello Heather (neighbor to the west!)...I would (and absolutely *have*) split my time between the two. I love both places the same, but in different ways. Many on this forum have never spent any time in Miami (other than the airport) but there are lots of opinions about it ;D

I have stayed here (http://www.hotelstaugustine.com), it is a lovely boutique hotel. There is so much more to Miami than Ocean Drive, South Beach (though SoBe is a lot of fun) just as there is more to Key West than Duval Street. You could be there a week and still not see everything. There is Vizcaya (http://www.vizcayamuseum.org/), Little Havana (met a guy who owned a cigar shop, it was neat to see the old Cuban ladies rolling cigars), the Venetian pool in Coral Gables (a chiseled coral rock quarry from the 1920s and boy does that cold water feel good on a hot day), and Bayside Market Place (to name only a few). Miami also offers everything from world class dining (any ethnicity) to yummy Cuban bodegas. Miami is often described as an international city and it's really true...I have met some wonderful people from all across the country and all over the world. During dinner at Tap Tap (a lovely Haitian restaurant, painted murals all over the restaurant, and a jazz quintet), I met a woman at the next table who was in town for the Miami Film Festival (orig from Haiti)...she said the food was spot-on. Don't get me wrong, I love Key West and will be there again next week...but you did ask for opinions from people who are familiar with both KW and Miami and I think it's a gross disservice to have a city as diverse and cultural as Miami glossed over as just a place people dress up and be snotty.

Key Colony Beach...
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10. Re: 1st Timers - Trying to split time b/w KW and Miami?

I agree with Donna. Miami has much more to offer than just SOBE (which isn't my cup of tea). We've driven through Little Havana several times. Lots of cool things going on. Lots of great places to eat.

I wouldn't be afraid to suggest that you spend some time in MIA.

You're in the KW forum, so thats what you're gonna get suggested.

I can do KW for a day - or longer. I like the rest of the keys too much - I find a lot to do outside of KW.

I could argue that you should spend all 4 days in MIA, I can argue that you should spend all 4 days in KW, and I can argue that you should spend all 4 days in the keys and never set foot in KW.

Don't get caught up in identifying the number of days in any one spot. If you focus on the number of days, you'll miss out on what is important to you.

Decide WHAT you want from the vacation, from there it will be easy to then decide WHERE and HOW LONG you'll be there.