Florida Keys

  • sliderfishn
    Participant
    Blaine, MN
    Posts: 5430
    #2178898

    Wife and I are heading down to watch our youngest play some college lacrosse in Florida. When the games are done we are taking some time to explore from Key Largo to Key West.

    Looking for some recommendations on places to stay. We would prefer a resort feel but as any trip we are not planning on spending much time in the room.
    Any restaurants that are a must stop, would also be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Matt Moen
    Participant
    South Minneapolis
    Posts: 3838
    #2178912

    When? Will be tough finding places now. Start looking asap.

    We usually stay in islamorada. A ton of great big and small resorts. If you want a really nice place look at hawks cay. Amara Cay is more traditional hotel/resort.

    Pines and Palms is an old school resort in islamorada we’ve enjoyed. Restaurants are all ok down there but none of them are can’t miss imho. But, if you can, stop for breakfast at the midway cafe. It’s awesome but get there early.

    If driving down stop at Snappers bar for a drink. Great protected patio out back. It’s just south of key largo.

    blackbay
    Participant
    mn
    Posts: 782
    #2178919

    The Green Turtle Inn is really good. The Lorelei is a fun place too. It can get really busy and seating is first come first served. Wahoo’s has good bar food.

    Now I want a blackened grouper sandwich.

    sliderfishn
    Participant
    Blaine, MN
    Posts: 5430
    #2178931

    When? Will be tough finding places now. Start looking asap.

    March 19-23
    I have been looking for the last month, it is toward the end of spring break.

    I have a few places in mind and there are openings. Leaning toward the Marathon area but that could change.

    I knew some of the IDOers have been there so I thought I would ask for their opinions.

    Thanks

    Matt Moen
    Participant
    South Minneapolis
    Posts: 3838
    #2178943

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Matt Moen wrote:</div>
    When? Will be tough finding places now. Start looking asap.

    March 19-23
    I have been looking for the last month, it is toward the end of spring break.

    I have a few places in mind and there are openings. Leaning toward the Marathon area but that could change.

    I knew some of the IDOers have been there so I thought I would ask for their opinions.

    Thanks

    Hawks Cay is closer to Marathon. We like islamorada because the proximity to a bunch of restaurants. Seemed like down towards marathon it’s a bit more spread out.

    Blackbay mentioned a couple restaurants in islamorada and from most of the resorts you can walk to all the bars/restaurants. Lorelei is a great spot for a sunset drink. Green Turtle is basically next door to the breakfast joint I mentioned.

    We have done Airbnb down there, too. Might be an option for you. Late March is a great time to go tarpon fishing, too.

    James Holst
    Keymaster
    SE Minnesota
    Posts: 18924
    #2178951

    I stayed in one of the townhomes at Hawk’s Cay last August and couldn’t have asked for better accomodations. I thought the food at the Angler and Ale was great – we brought in some of the yellowtail and dorado we caught and had them cook them and thought they did a great job. I think we ate there twice in 4 days. Most meals we stuffed ourselves on fresh tuna on the boat and back in the townhome so we didn’t eat out as much as some might so I don’t have a great feel for some of the other restaurants in the area.

    I’ll be going back down end of April for the tuna, sailfish and tarpon and will be staying at the same place.

    Matt Moen
    Participant
    South Minneapolis
    Posts: 3838
    #2178959

    I stayed in one of the townhomes at Hawk’s Cay last August and couldn’t have asked for better accomodations. I thought the food at the Angler and Ale was great – we brought in some of the yellowtail and dorado we caught and had them cook them and thought they did a great job. I think we ate there twice in 4 days. Most meals we stuffed ourselves on fresh tuna on the boat and back in the townhome so we didn’t eat out as much as some might so I don’t have a great feel for some of the other restaurants in the area.

    I’ll be going back down end of April for the tuna, sailfish and tarpon and will be staying at the same place.

    The guides are Hawks Cay are phenomenal, too. They put me on some big tarpon and we also did some sight fishing for big barracuda. End of April is prime time down there.

    James Holst
    Keymaster
    SE Minnesota
    Posts: 18924
    #2178964

    The guides are Hawks Cay are phenomenal, too. They put me on some big tarpon and we also did some sight fishing for big barracuda. End of April is prime time down there.

    I have a friend from NE that started keeping a small boat down there last August. Three of us went down and sorta winged it and caught the heck out of the fish. Tuna out on the humps, mahi mahi around the floating Sargasso mats, yellowtail, grey grouper, tripletail and barracuda. We may use a guide at some point but the plan is to go back down in April and wing it again and see how things shake out. The top priority is to land a tarpon and sailfish but we won’t live and die on that hill if some of the other species are more readily available.

    It is definitely a place I would recommend highly to someone that wanted to take an easy saltwater fishing trip.

    z-man
    Participant
    Dousman, WI
    Posts: 1404
    #2178981

    Just finished a 4 week stay in Key Colony Beach community on Marathon Key. Staying on marathon puts you roughly in the middle of the Keys which shortens the drive to Key West if you plan on going there. Drove there for a day trip last year, and no more; waaaaaay too busy, commercialized, and pricey for my liking.Plenty of restaurants on Marathon, as is the case on Islamorada, and plenty of fishing opportunities at both. One factor to consider if your family is into the beach thing is to find somewhere on or close to a swimming beach. While the Keys are surrounded by water, access to a sandy swimming beach takes some looking. Sombrero Beach on Marathon is a very nice one.
    In any case, you’re in for a treat. Our first visit there was staying with friends in a rental house for 10 days two years ago, 2 weeks last year, and this year 4 weeks. Any more questions, fire away.

    ThunderLund78
    Participant
    Posts: 1957
    #2179101

    Look up the No Name Pub on Big Pine Key, It’s off the beaten path and they like it that way. Absolute island dive, great conch fritters, burgers and key lime pie. It’s right before you cross the bridge to No Name Key from Big Pine. My Uncle had a house a few blocks away from it.

    Watch out for Key Deer (Whitetails the size of a lab) as you drive through Big Pine Key – they’re awesome but VERY protected and it’s a big fine if you hit one – and that’s easy to do as they’re not too cagey

    Enjoy! The Keys are awesome. Bass Pro Offshore (I think in Islamorada or near there) is a cool stop as well.

    Eelpoutguy
    Participant
    Farmington, Outing
    Posts: 9510
    #2179108

    Met a guy from Wisconsin when I was in Cabo who runs a charter out of Marathon Key.
    He just bought a new boat and says he catches a lot of fish. If you’d like his contact, I can send it to you.

    lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 5043
    #2179110

    A lot of good suggestions so far. We like Key Colony beach and Marathon to stay. But we almost exclusively use VRBO.

    Hawks Cay is a sweet resort. Faro Blanco and Isla Bella also looks awesome. Depends on how much coin you want to drop.

    Will also second Bass Pro in Islamorada and West Marine in Marathon. Lots of shore fishing spots, I’d bring a travel rod. Key West is cool but too busy and crowded for me.

    Island Fish company is a good place to eat if you want to be on the water. Some of the Two Conchs boats launch from there too. I’ll also second Sombrero Beach for sure. Bahia Honda state park has a nice beach too.

    I could keep going…… leaving in 2 weeks can’t wait!!!

    Ron F
    Participant
    Rochester MN
    Posts: 55
    #2179116

    We stayed at Skipjack Resort in Marathon a few years ago. It’s not so much a resort as a place with good sized suite rooms with kitchenettes. It suited our needs very well.

    We enjoyed eating at Keys Fisheries in Marathon. Fun dockside dining.

    Joe Jarl
    Participant
    SW Wright County
    Posts: 1493
    #2179142

    If I could choose one place to retire to, it would be Marathon. Stayed in a VRBO across the street from Sombrero beach twice. We fixed most of our meals so not much help on places eat, but there are a lot of options. Sunset Grille is a cool place with good food and a bar side pool. Haven’t been down there in 2 years. I am jealous!

    Besox
    Participant
    Posts: 578
    #2179257

    Sunset at Lorelei is tops!!

    Justin Donson
    Participant
    Posts: 325
    #2179270

    Can’t help with accommodation recommendations, but if you’re into the National Parks I can recommend you take a day trip out to the Dry Tortugas!

    Pretty cool history, great snorkeling, beautiful catamaran ride!

    Eelpoutguy
    Participant
    Farmington, Outing
    Posts: 9510
    #2191470

    Looks like plans changed and the Belle and me will be heading to Key Colony in mid April to do a little fishin, drinkin and eatin. Not all in that order. wink

    Any restaurant recommendation for oysters on the half shell?

    ThunderLund78
    Participant
    Posts: 1957
    #2191473

    A TON of places have them, wish I could remember all their names. Any of the bigger Key West places like Sloppy Joes and Hog’s Breath have a raw bar, but again, literally any dive with food has ’em on the menu, up to you if you want to trust em! But I’m sure anything you get is a lot fresher than what you’d get up here. I love oysters and I love the Keys, have a great time!

    lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 5043
    #2191509

    Looks like plans changed and the Belle and me will be heading to Key Colony in mid April to do a little fishin, drinkin and eatin. Not all in that order. wink

    Any restaurant recommendation for oysters on the half shell?

    Lazy Days South, Marathon. Probably the best restaurant I’ve eaten at down there for seafood. Although like Thunderlund said most places down there have them. Island Fish Company that I mentioned before also has good oysters.

    suzuki
    Participant
    Woodbury, Mn
    Posts: 17823
    #2191655

    I’ve did a couple trips in the Everglades National Park. I highly recommend that if you can find a guide and IF the Snook numbers are back up. Very wild area. Gators and Crocks feet away. I snagged one under the boat in a tiny creek and the guide quickly asked for the rod. He was “concerned”. I managed to catch at least one keeper sized Snook (28″ I believe) both times and a few trout back in open water. The scenery was worth the trip. I have chased yellow tail and bone fish out of Marathon as well and caught both. Fished deep water once with my wife and caught 2 HUGE Mutton Snappers. A lot of people ate on those for a while. I probably wouldn’t go deep water again. I love the shallow and structure fishing plus the sharks dont take bites out of your fish while reeling them in!
    My bucket fish down there would be a Permit. I had one shot and missed it.

    z-man
    Participant
    Dousman, WI
    Posts: 1404
    #2192124

    Suzuki, wondering where on Marathon and when were you chasing the bonefish? Need a boat and guide to do it, or access fishable water by foot? We stayed on Marathon in January and fished a few times, but didn’t hear anything about bonefish.

    Eelpoutguy
    Participant
    Farmington, Outing
    Posts: 9510
    #2195569

    Here’s where we are staying. Seriously!

    Conch fritters are awesome. Going to do Oysters Moscow tonight.

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    John Rasmussen
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 4905
    #2195574

    When in Rome they say EPG. Puff puff pass. woot

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