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Road Trippin?

Post 1

JesterVA

I was thinking about traveling down to Key West for a couple of days for a road trip, quite a hike from Virginia. I found out there's a hostel there. Would you recommend giving the hostel a go, or are there decent hotels that don't cost an arm and a leg? When do you suggest going? What are the must do's?

Cheers,

Joel


Road Trippin?

Post 2

KWDave

Joel,
Sorry it took so long to answer your email, but the computer's been on the fritz. Hope I can make up for it here.

The Youth Hostel offers very affordable accomodations, and it's in a great location about two blocks off Duval Street. Try to book in advance because it's very popular.

There are several bed and breakfasts for about $100 a night, and the Southernmost Hotel on Duval still seems to hover around $50 a night. Otherwise, during busy times, many of the hotel properties go for around $250 and up per night.

Most of my friends who work in hospitality jobs tell me that they are still waiting for season to start...most people don't want to go through the aggravation of getting on a plane. If you're going to drive down, you need to realize that even though we're only 160 miles from Miami, it takes 4-6 hours to drive down the Keys. The speed limit is 35 mph for most of the trip because you are traveling through built-up areas on both sides of the highway. However, it's all worth it when you pass through Marathon and hit the seven mile bridge. Surrounded by emerald green waters and small keys on the horizon, it's something everybody needs to experience. Try to time it so you hit the bridge about 2:30 in the afternoon, and you'll never forget it.

Once you pass Bahia Honda, you have to slow down again for the Big Pine Key Deer Preserve, but after that, it's smooth sailing all the way down.

Bear in mind that the Keys are all about relaxing, so if you plan to take your time, your frustration will be minimized. There are plenty of places to stop and relax for a minute on the way down.

There's really not a bad time to come to Key West. We had a week of chilly temps back in early January, but it's currently about 80 degrees every day, and as a Virginian, you will appreciate the very low humidity. February-March is generally the same: beautiful every day. After March 15, we are usually overrun by Spring Break. That goes on for about six-eight weeks, and then it's summer.

It doesn't seem as hot to me in Key West during the summer as it was in Birmingham. In fact, we used to come down to get away from the Alabama humidity in August, September, and October. October is when the hurricanes threaten most and November can be kind of iffy too. Then it's December and season returns again.

Since a lot of people seem to see Key West as sort of a French Quarter and spend their entire vacations drunk on Duval Street, I feel compelled to tell everyone that the water is the magic part of Key West. Plan to spend a day on a snorkeling trip or a ride to the Dry Tortugas, and you'll get a lot more out of Key West than a hangover. The fishing here is incredible. Nuff said.

Check out floridakeys.com for a lot more information about what to do and what to see. They also post lodging specials, and there should be plenty of those this year.

Hope this helps, and wasn't too late to do any good. Key West is a magical place, and I think you will be hooked if you try it.

Have a good trip!

David


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