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Jul 23, 2012, 9:55pm   #1
mashza's Avatar
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mashza
Cowdog up bishes!!
Hi all,

DH and I are heading to Florida in November for two weeks. Flights are booked, but we haven't made any plans hotel-wise yet. He thinks we should just play it by ear and find somewhere to stay once we are there. I'm worried that it may be difficult......especially as I would prefer to find somewhere nice but reasonable, and use the extra money for shopping!

Anyone know how busy it is in November? Is booking in advance important, or would spontaneity work? And does anyone have good hotel suggestions for Miami / South Beach and Key West? Or would there be other areas you would recommend staying in instead? (we are planning on being in the Miami area for 6 nights and in the Keys for 5). TIA!!

ETA: also any must-see or must-do or must-eat suggestions would be greatly appreciated as well!
Jul 24, 2012, 11:07am   #2
LeeMiller's Avatar
LeeMiller
Member
Wow, you're close to the season down there. I personally wouldn't risk it. It is pricey in both locations for a hotel and I'd hate to see you stuck in a super expensive option.

Icebox Cafe is super cute and a favorite of Oprah's. I enjoy having breakfast there.

You should try Cuban food. If you like strong coffee have a cafe Cubano.

Joe's stone crab is really cool. FYI the cafe is a nice cheaper, more take out option. Good key lime pie.

There is of course high end shopping if you're into that.

Snorkeling in the keys is my favorite. You can
go out on a charter boat and rent equipment but it may be a little chilly in November.

Sunset on the pier at key west and the Hemingway house are popular but I haven't been in years.
Jul 25, 2012, 7:12am   #3
marina230's Avatar
marina230
Member
I would use homeaway.com or vacation rentals to book a room using an actual owner. A lot of great hotels are condos as well. For example, Trump, La Meridian or just a beautiful condos.
Jul 25, 2012, 2:38pm   #4
mashza's Avatar
Thread Starter
mashza
Cowdog up bishes!!
Originally Posted by LeeMiller
Wow, you're close to the season down there. I personally wouldn't risk it. It is pricey in both locations for a hotel and I'd hate to see you stuck in a super expensive option.

Icebox Cafe is super cute and a favorite of Oprah's. I enjoy having breakfast there.

You should try Cuban food. If you like strong coffee have a cafe Cubano.

Joe's stone crab is really cool. FYI the cafe is a nice cheaper, more take out option. Good key lime pie.

There is of course high end shopping if you're into that.

Snorkeling in the keys is my favorite. You can
go out on a charter boat and rent equipment but it may be a little chilly in November.

Sunset on the pier at key west and the Hemingway house are popular but I haven't been in years.
Yikes, exactly what I was worried about. Guess we will look into options now! Would you recommend staying somewhere like Coconut Grove instead while we are in Miami? For the amount if time we'd actually be able to spend on the beach, I think we could stay elsewhere if it saves a lot of money. DH wants to stay right on the water but I think I could talk sense into him if needed! Are there any of the Keys that are nice but may be a little less expensive to stay on? We've never been to Florida and can't wait!! Thanks for the restaurant suggestions, I'd heard of Joe's but the Icebox Cafe is one we'll have to check out (love Oprah :))
Jul 25, 2012, 2:40pm   #5
mashza's Avatar
Thread Starter
mashza
Cowdog up bishes!!
Originally Posted by marina230
I would use homeaway.com or vacation rentals to book a room using an actual owner. A lot of great hotels are condos as well. For example, Trump, La Meridian or just a beautiful condos.
And that's a fantastic idea! I'm sure booking a condo for a week can be more affordable than hotels all the way......thanks!
Jul 25, 2012, 3:10pm   #6
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LadyEnoki
Member
Hi I live in south Florida. You should take some time and explore some other cities other than Miami. Jupiter is really nice and Jimmy Buffet filmed Its Five O Clock Somewhere at a waterfront restaurant called the Square Grouper. Downtown West Palm Beach is where I live and it's so nice here on the coast. Palm Beach Island is right next door with Worth Avenue where you can find LV and Chanel and anything you want. Billionaires have their summer homes here. Downtown Delray Beach is very nice too for a warm friendly and relaxed vacation. Always free events going on in both these places.

I hate Miami for many reasons but it's ok for tourists. Bal Harbor area and Lincoln Road are the shopping and walking areas. Stay on Miami Beach and just use the bike sharing Decobike system to get around the horrible HORRIBLE traffic jams and congestion. There are some older resorts inbetween the mega hotels on the beach that are cheaper or look at airbnb for people renting their apartments. It's a good site. That's how we found our place to stay in Amsterdam. Coconut Grove is shady because literally it borders the hood. It's like night and day. And the rest of the monster metropolis of Miami sucks and just don't even go there. Try La Moon if you want the best hot dogs of your life. They were featured on No Reservations on the food network. Joes stone crab is good. Le Pouchon de Grove is a good French restaurant in coconut grove.

As far as the Keys if you go to Key West you have to go to Blue Heaven. It's hidden on some side street. You really have to try to find it but they have an amazing environment and near sunset they have roosters that jump on the table umbrellas and start shrieking and they have to knock them down with poles it's funny. Jimmy Buffett wrote Blue Heaven Rendezvous about this place. The beaches suck there. But you can ride bikes everywhere and there's no shortage of beautiful bed and breakfasts. The Banyan Tree is a nice one. If you arrive in the last week of October be prepared for FantasyFest. Its like Mardi Gras. Costumes nude painting drag queen contests you name it it's there. If you go in April you can see the Conch Republic Festival which celebrates the time the Florida Keys tried to secede from the Union and hence call themselves the Conch Republic. You can google the whole story.

Stop at Key Largo and snorkel John Pennekamp state park reef. They have an underwater hotel. Stop at Bahia state park where there's a famous remnant of the overseas highway.

And watch out for all the feral chickens. They WILL wake you up at 5am and you will hate them if you just went to bed from too much partying and drinking at Sloppy Joes. Which is awesome btw.

There's a touristy Conch Train you can buy tickets for that tours you around the city. It's not a real train. They have a similar one in St. Augustine FL which you should visit too as the oldest city in North America.

Eat Key Lime of everything. Do go to Mallory Square for entertainers and a nice sunset view. There's a cute dog in a costume. Do go to the aquarium there. And there's plenty of dinner cruises.

Sorry for the long rant. Let me know if you have questions lol.
Jul 28, 2012, 11:28am   #7
onesmallchimera's Avatar
onesmallchimera
Member
I personally think Key West is the only key worth going to, unless you're really into nature.

In Key West I'd check out Zachary Fort (best beach in the keys). The Hemingway House is nicely preserved and fun to tour. Food wise, Peanut Butter and More is probably my favorite place ever. Ever dish has peanut butter in it or on it.
Jul 28, 2012, 4:21pm   #8
LeeMiller's Avatar
LeeMiller
Member
No I would definitely not stay in coconut grove! It would just be boring in my opinion. If you're just about the beach yeah fl has plenty of beaches but I like Miami? Shrugs.
Jul 29, 2012, 12:03pm   #9
h
habanerita
Member
Hi, I have lived in Miami for many years and travel to Keys and Key West often. Coconut Grove would also be a great place to stay, if ypu pm me your email address if you want, Ill gladly send you lists of places to stay that we love in Both Miami and the Keys, places to go, restaurants etc.
You'll love traveling down in November, weather is great! In Key West, we stay at a time share we rent fo the week, I can give you all the info.
Aug 16, 2012, 7:02am   #10
p
perrycarter12
Member
Wow it’s really cool that you are moving to Florida. Miami and Florida are the best places, I have ever seen in my life. You can enjoy the Beautiful clean beaches and natural beauty of Florida. There are many luxurious condos and beach house available to stay in Miami.
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