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Old 02-27-2012, 09:24 AM
 
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My 14 year old son and I have a week to spend in Florida this April. I purchased the plane tickets already, will be flying into Fort Lauderdale, arriving Saturday evening, leaving next Saturday morning. How would you spend the time? We will be going to a basketball game Friday night in Miami, but other than that I have no idea how to make the best use of our time. I was thinking that for sure we need to spend the first and last night in the Miami area because of the timing of our flights. Here are some of the things we like to do: relaxing on a beautiful beach (not rocky), day tours by boat, etc., visit Hemingway's house, good food, etc. Maybe we should spend some days in Miami and some in the Keys? Some "expert" advice would be really appreciated. I looked at some websites quickly - the information is overwhelming and very commercialized, don't know what is really worth it...

Thank you!
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
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have traveled to the Keys 4 or 5 times and my general impressions are...
  • it's a wonderful and unique palce to visit and the atmosphere is like nothing I have ever seen in my visits to the other 48 states I have seen, you literally forget you are in the US at times.
  • I'd prefer the Keys to Ft Lauderdal/Miami but found those (especially (FL) nice as well.
  • I'd probably opt to stay midway to Key West such as Islamorada because it's a bit more relaxed, less crowded, more natural and close enough to catch a late morning or early afternoon flight out of Ft Lauderdale or Miami
  • Key West is certainly worth the effort to visit and maybe stay 1 night or longer if you want to do the pub crawls and visit lots of the historuical sites.
  • conch fritters
  • Theatre of the Seas in Islamorada was pretty cool and we did the swim with the dolphins which may have been the highlight of one of the trips down ther.
edit: avoid driving down on a Friday/Saturday (I would not even consider it on a Holiday) or driving back on a Sunday, although I suspect if you got an early start it wouldn't be too bad coming back up.
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:45 AM
 
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If your boy likes baseball, then check out the marlins new stadium
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
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Watch out for cops when you're driving to the keys. You'll grow accustomed to driving like a person from Miami, and the realize the cops on the keys will pull you over if you're doing 7 over.

If you want my personal opinion, if your son is 14 years old, skip the keys alltogether, and take a trip up to tampa to go to busch gardens. Great Amusement park with really fun roller coasters.

There are not a lot of "attractions" per say that you could bring a 14 year old to, but south beach is definitely something to check out. There are so many things to do in the area, bunch of small restaurants and places to buy things (if you want).

There's an outdoor mall in Coconut Grove called Coco walk, there's not a ton to do , but I suppose you could check it out one day and grab some food there. If he's a Miami Hurricanes fan you could check out the university.

I am heading back to Miami next week for the first time since I moved away and can't wait. Miami is a great place and you'll surely love it.

By the way, don't miss out on the downtown. It is a cool place, just make sure you go during the day because everything shuts down around 5:00 or so.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burgler09 View Post

If you want my personal opinion, if your son is 14 years old, skip the keys alltogether, and take a trip up to tampa to go to busch gardens. Great Amusement park with really fun roller coasters.
Good to know, however, he is not your typical 14 year old... He's well traveled, visited more than 12 foreign countries on a few continents... Sight seeing and enjoying the nature will be high on our list, as we can visit an amusement park while at home (they're all more or less the same). Good tips on the speeding and the rest. Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,411 posts, read 26,228,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAVC View Post
Good to know, however, he is not your typical 14 year old... He's well traveled, visited more than 12 foreign countries on a few continents... Sight seeing and enjoying the nature will be high on our list, as we can visit an amusement park while at home (they're all more or less the same). Good tips on the speeding and the rest. Thanks!

If he really does ACTUALLY like that stuff, then you should get a guide through the everglades, that should be really cool to see and he'll be able to see crocodiles.

Obviously in Miami you should eat Latin American food. Go to Versailles which is right on calle 8.

There's a colombian restaurant downtown at the corner of SW 1 and SW 2 that I used to love eating at. Don't miss out on trying San Cocho, Bandeja Paisa or Ajiaco!

There's a cheap little pizza place on sw8 (calle 8) close to downtown but their pieces are HUGE. Might be kind of cool for your son, I know we used to always go there after nights of drinking.

I can't give much advice on the keys, I've never been much of a fan, but I also haven't really spent much time there.
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
4,241 posts, read 8,080,146 times
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I would rec'd/consider an air boat ride: several good operations just due west of Miami, in the real tall grass glades. One hr, 2 hr, various trips. We have done a couple, but CD won't allow a commercial link. Easy to find on net. Straight west out the Tamiami Trail.

Your son sounds like he would enjoy adventure and outdoor stuff: maybe a snorkel trip or some bone fishing: either Key Largo area, (many dive/snorkel operations), or on your way down to KW, stop and/or spend a night in Islamardo, Marathon or Big Pine Key. All have snorkel set ups, fishing, beach, water, etc. Low key, no pun intended, relaxing, and not packed. Most joints will have any equip you need, to rent, so you don't have to pack it. Maybe spend a night or two going 'down', or a night on each leg down and back.

My son and I have done several Scuba/fishing trips along the keys, but even snorkeling is fun.

KW itself is 2 nights max, and that's a stretch for a teen, imo.
My son-in-law's ex-biz partner runs a cab co. in KW, and I have his list of joints, stuff to see & do...if you want the file, drop me a DM and I'll zing it to you.

That's my 50Cts...hope you have a great time with your son. Enjoy the time; my son is almost 41 now, and it flies by like the blink of an eye. ;>)
Best Regards,
mD
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:53 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,914,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burgler09 View Post

There are not a lot of "attractions" per say that you could bring a 14 year old to, but south beach is definitely something to check out.
The above quote stuck out for me, because I remember the first time we brought our boys (now grown, in their 20's) to Miami's South Beach. The South Beach neighborhood feels very international, walking along Lincoln Road you'll hear many different languages spoken. Wild parrots will squawk overhead.
Don't miss seeing some Art Deco architecture. Collins Avenue is a good place for that.

When we went to the actual beach and saw strolling topless women, I thought my boys' eyes were going to pop out of their heads. (They tried to be nonchalant, but this was definitely something they had never seen in Denver, Colorado.)

Everyone has offered genuinely good advice about the Keys, they are a special place and different from the rest of Florida. Key West is definitely worth seeing but I agree about two nights max.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,411 posts, read 26,228,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillowPlate View Post
The above quote stuck out for me, because I remember the first time we brought our boys (now grown, in their 20's) to Miami's South Beach. The South Beach neighborhood feels very international, walking along Lincoln Road you'll hear many different languages spoken. Wild parrots will squawk overhead.
Don't miss seeing some Art Deco architecture. Collins Avenue is a good place for that.

When we went to the actual beach and saw strolling topless women, I thought my boys' eyes were going to pop out of their heads. (They tried to be nonchalant, but this was definitely something they had never seen in Denver, Colorado.)

Everyone has offered genuinely good advice about the Keys, they are a special place and different from the rest of Florida. Key West is definitely worth seeing but I agree about two nights max.

Right, those are cool things to do, but they aren't attractions. There are no historical sights, buildings to go into the top, amusment parks etc etc... Hanging around South Beach, seeing all the hot women and eating the food are great things to do and an awesome way to spend your time but they really aren't attractions. That's really all I meant by that.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:32 PM
 
Location: "The Gorge"
905 posts, read 3,068,147 times
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Great advice from everybody.

While in Key West check out the sunset at Mallory Square. I have been to Key West several times and always enjoyed the sunset circus. Loads of fun.

Visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum Key West, see all kinds of sunken treasures.

Another option is the Dry Tortugas National Park.


Kudos to you for exposing your son the the world!

Last edited by CRock; 02-28-2012 at 09:41 PM..
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