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Traveling to Key West

ml855

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When traveling to Key West, does most fly into Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, rent a car and drive to Key West or do you fly right into Key West? I did some research on airfare from BWI to Key West and the fares seemed kind of high compared to flying into FLL or MIA. Plus, how long of a drive does it usually take from FLL or MIA, let's say during the winter months, Jan through April? I've heard that stretch of road can be very slow moving.

Thanks,
-Jean
 

tomandrobin

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When we went, we flew into Ft Lauderdale and drove down. Its a great drive, but long. I seem to think it was like 3 to 4 hours long. Do a yahoo check for the mileage.
 

JeffW

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I've flown to FLL (from Philly) all but two times. Last year half of our travelling party used FF miles, the other half used a Delta 2-1 voucher (end up being around $165/person, about what a good sale to FLL or MIA goes for). This summer we are flying into MIA, we got nonstop flights for $158 total, I didn't think I'd do any better than that to FLL (which normally is cheaper than MIA). I got a Travelocity notice today of a $258 fare between PHL and EYW, but I didn't check the date range, and taxes would probably push it close to $300.

If you can get an early flight into FLL or MIA, then by the time you drive down (about 3h20m on average), it's just about checkin time. Similarly, we usually take the latest flight out, so leaving and checkout time and driving up gets you to the airport usually in enough time. These times probably wouldn't work out if you were say flying in from the West coast.

Delta has regional jets which fly into EYW from Atlanta, that can make it typically a regular one-stop flight. Most other carriers fly in on prop planes, which only reach other Florida cities. If the carrier of your choice doesn't offer a nonstop from your home to Florida, then you are looking at a double connection, not too fun.

Jeff
 

marcmuff

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We just got back from Key West. We flew from Sacramento to Houston to Ft. Lauderdale and then on a small plane (19 passenger Beech 1900) to Key West. Our first flight was at 12:15 (right after midnight and it was nice to sleep during most of the flight to Houston.

My sister and her daughter flew from Minnesota to Miami and then to Key West also on a small plane. Her return flight was through Tampa. We all missed our connecting flights on Saturday (February 4) because of a huge storm in Florida and the Miami Airport was closed for awhile so it affected all the flights.

We missed our plane in Houston and Continental put us up at the Hilton and gave us each a $10.00 breakfast coupon - and free transportation to and from the hotel. My sister was stranded in Tampa and Northwest didn't offer to pay for her hotel.

Some people were aprehensive about going on that small plane -- I loved it.

I will have lots of pictures of our trip on my webshots within the next couple of days.

heart.gif
 

JoePa

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Gotta Drive the Keys !!

By all means, fly into MIA or FLL and drive down through the Keys. Lease a convertible, bring your favorite buffett CD's and enjoy the ride. By the time you get to Key West you'll be on island time.

As Jeff said, it's about a 3 1/2 hour drive but very liesurely. If you can get a flight that arrives mid/late morning you can drive to Islamorada which is about 1/2 way to Key West (~MM70). There are a lot of outdoor restaurant/bars for lunch and your favorite beverage before driving the final ~70 mi. to Key West.

Schedule your return flight after 5:00PM and you can do the same on your return.

Headed down again in June... While that seems like such a long time, it will be here before we know it.

As my favorite story teller once said, "I wanna go back to the island".

Joe :cool:
 

ml855

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Well I'm convinced that driving from FLL or MIA to Key West is the way to go. Now all I have to do is convince my husband to add this trip to our itinerary in 2007. I'm in the process of planning a trip for our 20th anniversary and thought Key West would be a great plan to visit.

-Jean
 

JLB

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We also just visited Key West. For reasons other than going to Key West we flew in and out of Orlando Sanford.

The drive was a bugger both ways. Going down was Saturday and I sense the Overseas Highway is busiest on the weekends. Coming back on Friday there was an accident which shut down the highway, so we sat for more than 2 hours.

Key West to Orlando was 10 hours that day.

But you really need to drive.
 

Timesharemogul

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Do the drive from Miami to Key West- one of the most enjoyable long drives you can do. Once you've visited the Florida Keys a few dozen times, you'll only want to do that drive every couple of years. As the price of airfares from Connecticut can sometimes be the same during airfare wars whether one flies to Miami or Key West, I try to buy fares at those times for Key West as having a car is mostly worthless if not a handicap in Key West.
(edited for spelling)
 
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JLB

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Timesharemogul said:
as having a car is mostly worthless if not a handicap in Key West

I've heard that for years, so was concerned about it. I'm glad we had one. Getting around wasn't as bad as advertised. If you cook, as we do, it's nice to be able toget to the Publix.

The only accidents we saw were people on mo peds and bicycles. The last day the gal in front of us on a moped was dilly-dallying and had to slam the brakes on to avoid hitting the stopped car in front of her. Of course, she went down, with the moped on top of her. I and a pedestrian went to her aid and after a few minutes she decided she was OK and did not want us to call anyone. It seems cruel, but she just wanted us to set her over on the sidewalk and go on, so we did.

On the other hand, headquartering at the Galleon, one could easily do a stay without a vehicle. I met a guy from Iowa. We talked and discovered we had common friends from Moo U. He and his wife pull into the Galleon parking garage each year, park, and pull back out six weeks later!
 

KenK

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The Florida Turnpike ends at Florida City/ Homestead area {Keys Gate}. This last exit (check Wal-Mart (includes a FULL food store) here, as well as a Murphy Oil gas station (cheap), and a very nice Golden Skillet http://www.goldencorral.net/ ) will put you on US Route One South. A large sign at the end of the Turnpike says: "Key West 130 Miles"

US Route One starts (or ends) in Key West or Maine. In this area, it is not a super highway, but sometimes a one lane S and one lane N. Places to visit or indicated by mile markers.

The turnpike is the best way to get to Keys Gate/Florida City. Interstate 95 ends in the middle of downtown Miami, (also leaves you off on Rt One, but it is a long way from that point to Keys Gate.

If FFL....after you get rental from airport, exit onto US Route One (yes, the same) and go N toward Ft Lauderdale.....(There is a new ramp almost completed where you may avoid Rt one). In any case, your objective is to get onto Interstate 595 WEST toward the Everglades-which borders the airport on the N side.

You will pass exits for I 95 N & S, and right then watch for exits to Florida Turnpike. (It comes up very fast)

Follow signagge to Florida Turnpike South, and then watch for HOMESTEAD EXTENSION....which you will get on. The Fl T. heads S toward Florida City. Stay on till the last exit. (Another branch of the Turnpike ends at THE STADIUM {Joe Robbie??}...and Caldor Track....this will put you in N Miami....avoid)

If Miami, after obtaining rental, there is a toll road that will take you to the Fl Turnpike S. (Don't go towards I 95...opposite direction). Just follow signage.

If you can meander while driving down, there are a lot of interesting sights on Rt one along the keys. But the driver needs to attend to the road much of the time.
 

JLB

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A note to Ken's notes: do not rely on mapping sites to get you around Miami.

I tried four of them, I believe, and they were all different. Unfortunately the one I used did not take us all the way to the Florida turnpike when we went west on 595. It took us down on city streets and the HWY number to get us back to the turnpike was wrong.

I finally just used common sense. I found a good East-West road and headed west until we found the turnpike. We knew it was out there somewhere.

I-95 north of 595 should be avoided also. There is heavy construction and congestion north of Miami. Just get on the turnpike if you have to go north, like to Orlando.
 

KenK

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Jim...They just started (last week) turnpike construction in Palm Beach & N Broward Cty....expanding lanes to 4 or 6 (or 8??) in each direction.

It gets really backed up now....as does I 95....which also has lotsof construction.

Remember, if on the way to Key West, and using the Turnpike, follow signage to the Homestead Extension after you pass the Hollywood Beach Blvd exits.

If using I 75, stay on it towards Miami, then note exits for the Turnpike SOUTH. (Don't go on 595 for turnpike S....because the turnpike Homestead Extension makes a curve to the west while going S. Its OK to go from 75 to 595 if you want the turnpike N of Broward, but an easier way is to take the Sawgrass Expressway (toll) from I 75 to the turnpike on the Broward Palm Beach cty line.
 
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CharlesS

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I-595 West vs. Griffin Road

KenK said:
If FFL....after you get rental from airport, exit onto US Route One (yes, the same) and go N toward Ft Lauderdale.....(There is a new ramp almost completed where you may avoid Rt one). In any case, your objective is to get onto Interstate 595 WEST toward the Everglades-which borders the airport on the N side.

You will pass exits for I 95 N & S, and right then watch for exits to Florida Turnpike. (It comes up very fast)
Ken,

MapQuest wants me to use Griffin Road to get to the Turnpike. Griffin Road runs east-west and borders the south side of the airport. What are the relative merits of I-595 vs. Griffin Road.

Last year I took I-595 to get to I-95 to get to North Miami. Airport to I-595 seemed easy to me.

Thanks, Charles
 

rreno

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driving to Key West

Have gone to Key West 10 times. Drove the first 2 times and haven't since. A long ride, but worth it once or twice if you have the time. Most of the drive is 2 lanes only, so if a accident happens traffic can shut down for hours. This does happen quite often. Flying into miami is half the price than flying into Key West, but if staying in Old Town part of Key West you don't need a car and should not have one because parking is very limited or you have to pay to park. Good Luck it's a great place
 
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