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Old 04-20-2015, 12:48 AM
 
Location: In my head
295 posts, read 315,116 times
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We usually go to Hawaii since we are from Pacific Northwest, however, would like to try Florida and have no clue where to go. I like quiet sandy beaches good for swimming and maybe snorkeling. Go on a night cruise or sail. Dine out. Would like to rent a condo or hotel on beach. Would like something quiet, yet close enough to town for dinner. Just us 2. Suggestions?
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:06 AM
 
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Key West would fit the description, but it might be a little bit too much of a party town. Maybe Marco Island, Sanabel or Naples would meet your needs.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:37 AM
 
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Check out Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria Island
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Tampa
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Sanibel Island is really nice with lots of seashells, some restaurants, JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. I went there with my kids several years ago. You can take day trips Sanibel Island - Captiva Island - Tours - Excursions.

Another suggestion is St. Petersburg beach. Lots of beaches, restaurants, museums, nightlife. Starlite cruises take off from St.Petersburg StarLite Cruises - For a dazzling night out! Clearwater, St. Petersburg Florida. My personal favorite beach is Ana Maria Island like kyle19125 suggested. Ana Maria Island is not a long drive from St. Petersburg, so you can enjoy both. Snorkling in these areas are mediocre.

Key West is nice, but it can be really crowded and loud. Snorkling is really good in the middle of the Keys The Best Keys Snorkeling - Is By Far The Middle Keys. You are not that far from Miami, if you want to. If you stay in the middle keys, you can drive to Key West for the day, which takes about an hour. You can opt to drive to Miami which takes 1 hour and half.
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Miami
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Try Sanibel or Naples. Key West is great for everything on the Ops list, except the sandy beaches. There really aren't any sandy beaches other than at the hotels (which haul in the sand for the guests).
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggiebus View Post
Try Sanibel or Naples. Key West is great for everything on the Ops list, except the sandy beaches. There really aren't any sandy beaches other than at the hotels (which haul in the sand for the guests).
Exactly. And while the Beaches are not great Key West is a great spot, not just for water too, but for food and history. Tons of history in Key West, great water, Fort Jefferson, and some really good places to eat and drink. If you really want to just relax on the beach then maybe the Gulf Coast is a better idea. But IMO coming all the way from the Pacific NW fly into Miami spend a day or two there and then take the great drive down to Key West. Key West has some of the best snorkeling and fishing in the world and make sure to check out Fort Jefferson.
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Gorgeous South Florida
499 posts, read 415,067 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggiebus View Post
Try Sanibel or Naples. Key West is great for everything on the Ops list, except the sandy beaches. There really aren't any sandy beaches other than at the hotels (which haul in the sand for the guests).
Not to be an idiot...but there are no sandy beaches in Key West? What type of land borders the water?
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Old 04-20-2015, 03:20 PM
 
21,184 posts, read 30,343,833 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggiebus View Post
Try Sanibel or Naples. Key West is great for everything on the Ops list, except the sandy beaches. There really aren't any sandy beaches other than at the hotels (which haul in the sand for the guests).
Actually Key West's quite sandy Smathers Beach was named one of America's top beaches on The Travel Channel.
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:12 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
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If you get to the Keys, plan to spend a day at Bahia Honda state park. It is one of the most beautiful places in Florida. Great beach and spectacular views from the old train bridge.
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Old 04-20-2015, 05:00 PM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,145,353 times
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This really depends on your budget - we can't give you a good answer without it. The Florida Keys are more expensive than many other Florida destinations, and so is Marco Island. It also depends on WHEN you go.

As a Keys resident, I strongly disagree with the many recommendations for Key West. She said she wants quiet, people! Key West is the equivalent of New Orleans or Las Vegas... it is anything but quiet.

If you don't need an enormous beach, the Keys will still work for you, depending on your budget. You can stay in a nice hotel that has its own small beach, which can be found on several islands. If that's outside of your budget, stay close enough to visit John Pennekamp State Park (Key Largo - some of the best snorkeling in the US, but a tiny beach), Harry Harrison Park (Tavernier), Anne's Beach (not really a beach so much as a strip of sand with a lot of very shallow water, Islamorada), Key Colony Beach (Marathon), or Bahia Honda (Big Pine Key). All of these will be decently quiet on weekdays before school lets out for the summer. Every water sport in the world can be found here, and the Upper Keys in particular are known for tons of amazing snorkeling and diving opportunities, as well as boating and sunset cruises. In the Keys, it is local cultural ritual to spend every evening watching the sunset, and for everybody to applaud when it's over. There are a lot of great places to watch it from over the Gulf side of the islands, and every night looks different. It's a very laid back place, but every other island other than Stock Island and Key West will be much quieter. Even so, the highway can get a little crazy, especially at holiday and festival times.

The Florida Keys are made of coral rock, which is why they are not surrounded by sand. Sand does reach the Keys, but there are very few natural beaches in the entire 100+ mile stretch because the ocean reef 3 miles to our East (the 3rd largest coral reef in the world) blocks the current from carrying sand to the land's shore. There are many areas where the ocean floor is sand, but because of the reef there are also many areas that have rocky bottoms, so you want to be sure to have water shoes (or flippers) on hand just in case so you don't cut your feet.

If you want a very wide empty beach with dunes and sea oats and all of that every day, the Keys are not the right place for you. Miami tends to be more crazy too, so I wouldn't say that's the best fit either. You might prefer a place somewhere up the East coast between Juno and Jupiter, or perhaps something on the West coast like perhaps near Sanibel Island. St. Augustine and St. Petersburg are also nice. It's really hard to say, without a budget. A ton of places all up and down both coasts are great for beach time and relaxing, and many have nice restaurants in town, but none are going to have the snorkeling that the Keys have, and not all of them will have the best boating opportunities.
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