I recently ran across this site and read a number of the entries and responses to find them honest and insightful. Because of this I am asking for assistance for an up coming trip to Southern Florida.
Years ago my wife and I decided that both of our families are crazy and spending holidays with our kids would be best done on a family trip rather than surrounded at home splitting time between our drunk extended families. This year we have selected Miami and Key West as our holiday destination due to a wedding in Miami on Jan. 5th, 2008.
I am needing suggestions or comments on the following:
Accommodation's in Miami & Key West
My wife has suggested (Miami): Biltmore, The Mutiny, The Ritz
My wife has suggested (Key West): Isamalda, Cheeca Lodge, Hawks Caye (Duck Key)
Activities Miami & Key West
Miami Activities: (suggestions)
Key West Activities: (suggestions)
Keep in mind the crew going...2 Adults and a 14 yr old male & 12 yr old female.
I am looking forward to comments...
If you like snorkeling, I can recommend South Beach Divers. They escort small groups of divers and snorkelers to Key Largo several days a week and it's alot of fun. For $5 each extra, you can ride in their van from the dive shop in South Beach rather than drive yourself. They have a website for more info (their name).
Of your hotel choices in Miami, I'd stay at one of the Ritz hotels. There's one in Key Biscayne and one in South Beach--both are on the water. The Biltmore is a beautiful hotel with a lot of history, but it's in Coral Gables and is far from the beach. It's in more of a residential area with shopping/restaurants and you'd have to drive everywhere. If that's what you're looking for, it's a great hotel, but I figured your kids would want to be near the beach. The Mutiny hotel is now a condo/hotel and the rooms are owned by different owners, so I think service and room quality might not be consistent - not sure.
The hotels in the Keys are good choices. I think you mean Islamorada, which is a location. Cheeca Lodge is actually in Islamorada. Haven't stayed at either, but I've only heard good things about both.
For activities, if you're going to be in or near Islamorada, you should definitely go to Pennekamp Park. It's an underwater preserve and there are boats that can take you snorkeling or on sunset sailboat cruises. There's also a swim with the dolphins type of thing down there. Can't remember the name, but your hotel would know. Otherwise, that area of the Keys is pretty quiet - good place to relax and enjoy the beach or water sports.
Miami activities - There's a company called Duck Tours that looks like it has fun tours. (It's one of those vehicles that's also a boat and goes in the water.) Airboat tours of the Everglades are popular too. You usually see alligators and other wildlife.
Hope that helps.
I've stayed at the Ritz in Miami and found the hotel to be a perfect place for visiting. The beach and pool area are great, there's a restaurant right on the sand and with two kids in tow, it's far enough away from South Beach to not be too crazy but is still a nice stroll to the area. They also have a great spa for a nice massage should you have the chance.
As for Key West, well...I would actually try to stay in Key West. I would choose a place near Duval Street where there will be musicians, magicians, etc and where you can eaither stroll around the area or rent bikes and check out some of the historic district. I would also recommend a trip to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and lunch or dinner at Crabby Dicks which has a great location with outdoor dining on the upstairs veranda.
Two resorts come to mind which would be 1 Pier House; http://www.pierhouse.com/key_west.html or possibly the Westin. Personally, I prefer historic B&B's, which there are plenty. But again, with two kids, the resorts will offer lots of options and Duval Street should be a fun experience to get to know what the town is all about.
Sounds like a fun trip! (BTW, not sure if you're into cruising, but their are lots of liners that offer cruises from Miami to the Bahamas or Cuzomel and then Key West which you can book for a song!) If interested; Vacationstogo.com has lots of discounted fares.
LadyMacWilly ^..^ ~