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Balancing Family Needs and diving in Florida Keys

Discussion in 'Florida' started by safetysausagespecialist, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. safetysausagespecialist

    safetysausagespecialist Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Brazil
    9
    7
    Hello fellow divers, this is my first thread here!

    We are a family of 7 (two divers) and planning on staying news year's at Florida Keys.

    As we have two toddlers, the best thing would be staying in a resort with a villa/town house, so would have kitchen, living room, ample space, etc.

    There's a lot of good recommendation about Hawks Cay in the board but, besides the onsite operator, seems that we would be stuck in the middle between Key West in the south and Key Largo/Islamorada in the north (70-90 min distance each). And we dont want to rent a car.

    Can anyone suggest any other resort with this features, great for family and with villas but closer to the main diving sites?

    Thank you so much
     
  2. 2airishuman

    2airishuman Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Greater Minnesota
    2,599
    1,854
    Recently went to the Keys with my non-diving spouse. Hard to get everything right.

    We had a car. In general it was a hindrance in Key West and a necessity everywhere else.

    For 2017, we are planning to stay in Islamorada with a day trip to Key West. We will, again, have a car.

    There are several excellent dive operators in Key West. If you aren't going to have a car, I would suggest staying in Key West, within walking distance of the harbor. There are any number of houses for rent by the day.
     
  3. sportxlh

    sportxlh Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: formerly Palm Beach Gardens, FL: now Atlanta
    2,599
    1,374
    It's difficult to get to most dive shops in the Keys without a car, so you are really limiting your options. The Marriott in KL has an on site dive boat and that particular Marriott is resort - like but doesn't have all the same amenities as Hawks Cay. Some hotels such as the Courtyard and Holiday Inn on KL are within walking distance of Rainbow Reef Dive Center, but those hotels, while nice, are definately not resorts.

    Hawks Cay is a really good option if the resort is your first priority and diving is second and you don't want to mess with a car.

    Personally, I'd rent a car to get around
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  4. Chappys4life

    Chappys4life Registered

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Chicago
    31
    0
    I stayed in Key Largo and dived through Scuba Fun. They had a package of dives and hotel with Holiday Inn Express. Most dives I had to walk 20 feet tops to get to the canal that was next to the hotel for my dives. I did all shallow.
     
  5. DebbyDiver

    DebbyDiver Livin' the dream ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Inland Empire, California
    7,551
    1,039
    There are so few taxis in the upper Keys and public transportation is nearly nonexistent. You are going during a really busy time of year and would have to compete with others for the very few taxis available. I simply cannot imagine being in the Keys without some form of transportation.

    Friends of mine with three little kids rented in Hawk's Cay via VRBO a few years back and LOVED IT. Getting a condo means getting a kitchen and saving a bunch of money. You are staying in the Keys during pretty much the most expensive time of year.

    I like diving with Conch Republic Divers in Tavernier. You might give them a call and ask them about options, they are extremely helpful in finding lodging, etc.
     
    jimw likes this.
  6. safetysausagespecialist

    safetysausagespecialist Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Brazil
    9
    7
    Thanks so much everyone!

    I just talked to Conch Republic Divers and I think it would be probaly the best ideia to rent a car!
     
    DebbyDiver likes this.
  7. Capt Gary

    Capt Gary Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: Tavernier, Florida Keys
    1,242
    239
    Hey safetysausagespeci,

    If you haven't found lodging yet drop us an email and we'll send you a $200 VIP Club Card good for hotel discounts at hotels around the world.

    In fact if anyone wants one just drop us an email at dive@conchrepublicdivers.com and we'll get one out to you. No catch and the deals are real. Of course we'd want you to sign up in the discount travel club after the $200 discounts is realized.

    Good Diving,
    Capt Gary
    Conch Republic Divers
     
    DebbyDiver likes this.
  8. DebbyDiver

    DebbyDiver Livin' the dream ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Inland Empire, California
    7,551
    1,039
    A bit off topic but Capt. Gary sent some cards to me (one for me, one each for some friends) and he's not kidding, the discount cards can really save you some money. My dog is having surgery a few hours away next week and in the event that I have to stay overnight, I checked hotel rates and WOW they were cheap with the card.

    I'm glad fo you that you're getting the car. I simply cannot imagine getting around down there without one. Everything is real spread out. Except for Key West, there's not really a "town center" anywhere.

    Have a great time!!! Don't forget to stop by the visitor center on your way down. It will be the first building on your left when you enter the Keys, right after the Circle K, it's a blue A-Frame building. They have free maps and coupons and local info.
     
    Capt Gary likes this.
  9. safetysausagespecialist

    safetysausagespecialist Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Brazil
    9
    7
    Hey DebbY, thanks so much for the info!

    I've never been to the Keys and considering dec/jan it's a busy season, do you think I can wait to reserve the dives once I get there (probably just me diving on my family) or is it risky?
     
    DebbyDiver likes this.
  10. Steve_C

    Steve_C Contributor Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    4,270
    2,915
    Check carefully with your dive operator of choice. Some have stricter cancelation than others. Others I am aware of you can book some dives and it turns out to be rough and you want to cut back the day before there is no problem. I now tend to book a few ahead of time and then fill in the rest. But I usually dive out of Key Largo where there are lots of operators so you can usually book a couple more if you want.
     

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