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How best to get to Key west?

Bill4728

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Just got a trade into the Hyatt in Key West! Hey! Being from the Seattle area we have never gone.

How best to get there?

Drive from Miami? Fly from a Florida city?

TIA
 

lgreenspan

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We have made this trip three times. We fly into Ft.Lauderdale and drive down. It is a very nice drive from thru the keys.
 

Big Matt

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I'd take whatever non-stop you can get into Miami or Ft. Lauderdale (maybe even West Palm) and drive from there. You should plan your drive based on whether or not you want to stop and see some of the other keys on the way down or back. I would recommend highly that you do, and you should plan ahead. Of course you can always do that on a day trip from Key West once you are there.
 

bogey21

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Fly into Fort Lauderdale. The airport is right next to the Interstate. Much more user friendly airport than Miami. West Palm Beach airport works if car rentals are a lot cheaper. Flying into West Palm Beach airport just adds a few miles to the trip. Use the Turnpike, not I-95.

George
 

JPD

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We flew into West Palm Beach. We never been that far south so we wanted to take advantage of the some extra time we had and toured the areas of the rich and famous. We also took our time driving to and from the keys, we stopped alot and just enjoyed the beauty of the drive. And on our way back, we took a detour to the end of Everglades National Park, lots of wildlife. If you do plan on driving, you better stay within the speed limits, they will give you a ticket in a heart beat.
 

BevL

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I think Alaska Airlines does a non stop to Miami. We've done it before but not for a few years so don't know if it's still available.

One word of caution. I know that once we took a red eye leaving at midnight from Seattle to Miami, then drove to Key West. I would not suggest that. I mean, we didn't kill anybody, but it's quite a long drive and I wouldn't suggest doing it after spending a night on a plane.

Fort Lauderdale would also be doable if you can find a better fare, but the non stop is a big plus for us and we use our companion cert for one plus $99 fares to Miami.
 

Talent312

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It is theoretically possible to fly into Key West "International" Airport (EYW).
I did once, when I was in a hurry to get there... nice scenery from the air.
But its an extra leg on your flight and you'll miss driving the Overseas Highway.

The following airlines serve Key West...
AirTran
American Airlines
Delta Airlines
United Airways
US Airways
 

Bill4728

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I didn't know that Fort Lauderdale was so near Miami. I thought is was next to Tampa /St petes
 

Talent312

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bdh

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The following airlines serve Key West...

AirTran
American Airlines
Delta Airlines
United Airways
US Airways

Since Southwest bought Air Tran a couple of years ago, SW starts taking over AT's flights into EYW around Oct/Nov this year.
 

suzanne

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I suggest flying into Fort Lauderdale as its is easier to use than Miami. Then take Turnpike down to where it ends in Florida City, then your on the Overseas Highway all the way to Key West, about a 4 hour drive depending on trafiic, longer depending on how often you stop. Its 60 Miles from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. I would avoid I95, it can be a zoo especially at rush hour, which seems to get longer every day.:D Bear in mind that the Turnpike is a toll road and have lots of quarters on hand as a lot of the toll booths now are exact change only. Also verify with your rental car company as to whether or not they have the Sun Pass in the car. You do not want to be charged twice for tolls, they add up fast. Fill up with gas before you start back up to the airport especially if your departing from Miami. Do not ever at any time leave anything in your car or leave it unlocked. Gas stations are a prime target down here for robbery and car jackings. Sadly as the economy has worsened so has the crime rate, especially in the Miami area.

The Keys are awesome and you will have a great time. If your into diving or snorkeling I suggest you stop over in Key Largo and either snorkel or dive the Christ of the Abyss Statue at Pennecamp State Park. They have a dive shop on site or there are numerous others in the area to go out with.

Have a wonderful trip.

Suzanne
 

spencersmama

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Bear in mind that the Turnpike is a toll road and have lots of quarters on hand as a lot of the toll booths now are exact change only.

Suzanne

Do the turnpikes around Miami still accept cash and change? I have two friends with family in that area recently tell me that the roads went to Sunpass only. One was sent a bill for her tolls because she didn't have a Sunpass. I'm not sure what would happen in that case if the driver was in a rental.
 

midwest6

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Florida's Turnpike Extension (FTE) has introduced an all-electronic toll system (no physical cash tollbooths) on the Turnpike between Milepost 0 in Florida City and Milepost 47 at the Miami-Dade/Broward County line. The new cash-less system went into effect on Feb. 19, 2011, and impacts four toll plaza locations.

For a rental car the charge is automatically put on the card that was used to rent the car. Our trip from Miami to Key West and back incurrred a charge of a little over $18
 

bdh

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Florida's Turnpike Extension (FTE) has introduced an all-electronic toll system (no physical cash tollbooths) on the Turnpike between Milepost 0 in Florida City and Milepost 47 at the Miami-Dade/Broward County line. The new cash-less system went into effect on Feb. 19, 2011, and impacts four toll plaza locations.

For a rental car the charge is automatically put on the card that was used to rent the car. Our trip from Miami to Key West and back incurrred a charge of a little over $18

MW6 is correct - but to add to that:

All the rental car companies have a Sunpass transponder permanently mounted on the windshield that automatically records a vehicle's toll. Some rental car companies have a daily charge for the transponder whether you use it or not - so check with the company you're renting from. (IE: if you keep the car in KW for the week, you have 7 days of charges for the Sunpass even though the car was only on the TP 2 days.)

Note you can turn the permanent transponder on or off - if you have a Sunpass Mini transponder of your own (you can get a mini at Walgreens, Rite Aid or online from Sunpass) or want to do the Toll by Plate method. Since there are no toll booths on the FTE and not everyone traveling the turnpike has a Sunpass, they have cameras that take a picture of the license plate and mail out the toll to the car owner. If you're in a rental car, just like the transponder, you'll get billed for the toll about 2 weeks afterwards.
 

Talent312

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If you're a penny-pincher who is loath to pay excessive tolls (like me), there's nothing wrong with taking I-95 to the Palmetto Expwy (SR 826). The Palmetto ends at US 1 in SW Dade County. Its a bit slower, but free.

Just be careful to follow the signs (or use a GPS) at the Golden Glades Interchange which links I-95, the Palmetto and the Turnpike in a serpentine manner.
 
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mbeach89

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I've been to Key West 3 times, and flown into EYW two of the three. A friend recommended flying into Miami, renting a car, and driving the Keys.....(in my opinion) wayyy over rated. It's a long boring drive and then you have the rental car to deal with (that you do not need in Key West). I can't remember how long it took to drive from Miami Airport to Key West...3-4 hours? That's the last thing I would want to do after a long flight from Seattle....again just my 2 cents worth.

If the $$$ aren't a "big deal", I differ from the others and recommend enjoying the scenery of the Keys from the air!

Which Hyatt property are you staying? Sunset Harbor is in the heart of it all, where the other two are a little further away.
 
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bogey21

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Which Hyatt property are you staying? Sunset Harbor is in the heart of it all, where the other two are a little further away.

If Sunset Harbor (and if Sunset Harbor is the resort at the end of Duval Street), an option is to take the catamaran from Fort Myers. It is a nice easy trip (if the weather is ok) and drops you off very close to the Resort.

George
 

bdh

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If Sunset Harbor (and if Sunset Harbor is the resort at the end of Duval Street), an option is to take the catamaran from Fort Myers. It is a nice easy trip (if the weather is ok) and drops you off very close to the Resort.

George

Sunset Harbor looks out over the Westin Marina and the catamaran from Fort Myers use to dock there - when getting off the cat, you'd be 150 ft away from SH. But now the cat docks over at the KW Bight Marina - about a 6 to 7 block walk.

There are 2 Hyatt's "at the end of Duval":

Hyatt KW Resort & Spa (the hotel) is on Front St east of Duval (When at Duval and Front, head toward the Bight Marina).

Hyatt Sunset Harbor (the TS) is on Front St west of Duval. HSH is actually on Sunset Lane, but few maps show this road. (When at Duval and Front, head toward the Westin Marina).
 
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Hi Tugger,

I live in Florida City and go to Key West often. I think the best thing to do is fly to Miami and rent a car and drive down to the Keys. The drive is beautiful and relaxing. The drive from Miami International Airport to Key West is about 3 hours. If you go on a high demand week expect a longer drive as their is ONLY one road to go down. Follow the speed limit because the officers do not play there. :doh:

Congrats on your reservation!:whoopie:
 

midwest6

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Book a flight to Miami the day before your reservation in Key West, book an airport hotel, sleep in, drive to Key West 3-4 hrs, if you've never driven it......very interesting :)
 

IslandTime

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Airtran flies direct from Orlando, so that's another option. We typically drive from Orlando (about 6 1/2 - 7 hours), but have flown a few times and love the view of the islands from the air. Personally, I would do however it comes out cheaper for you, but if you're only saving a little by flying into somewhere else, renting a car and driving the rest of the way, I'd opt to fly directly into Key West. It's worth it for the convenience factor alone.

If you're staying at Sunset Harbor, you will not need a car unless you're planning to visit any of the other Keys. Even then, it may be cheaper to only rent a car for the day or so you'll need it. There is a charge to park at Sunset Harbor, but not at Hyatt Windward Pointe or Hyatt Beach House. Those other two are not in old town and are not nearly as conveniently located, so you'll need some sort of transportation to get around or take taxis. Renting bikes or scooters are a great option and there are plenty of free bike racks and scooter parking spots in old town -- much easier than finding free parking for a car there.
 

mbeach89

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Gosh, it may not be a bad idea to have a car for a day just to get the groceries to stock the fridge in the timeshare. But so many good restaurants in Key West, I'm not sure how often I would really want to "eat in".

I believe Hyatt Sunset Harbor is the oldest of the timeshares, but definitely has the best location. My wife and I got a tour/sales presentation at one of the others (Windward Point maybe?) and the property was very nice, but not close to the bars/restaurants on Duval/Mallory Square area. If you don't want to pedal a bike, there are lots of scooters to rent.

I can't wait to go back for some deep sea fishing for Mahi !
 
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