17 Nov Florida Keys Trip Recap
Colby and I got back last night from a week long trip to Florida. While we were there we realized this was our 3rd trip to Florida this year — clearly, we love the beach!
We almost cancelled going because of Hurricane Eta, which hit the Florida Keys, the exact area we were going, just two days prior to our trip. Thankfully the Keys received little to no damage and the rain that was originally forecasted didn’t happen. The whole week we were there, it only rained 30 minutes total while we were at the beach, which I will call a win.
We had the same routine every day: Colby would make us breakfast and coffee, we would pack our stuff up and head to the beach (see more about which beaches we went to below). While we were at the beach we would read, play football and frisbee, go on walks, people watch, and relax in the water. We actually stayed at the beach until sunset every night, which we don’t recall doing on any other trip.
Once leaving the beach, we would grab dinner before heading home and getting in bed! We ended up doing something we only do on vacations — watched tv from our bed! We don’t have a tv in our bedroom at home and we never watch TV at home, but this quickly became our nightly routine while in Florida. We watched a lot of Shark Tank and HGTV and we decided at the end of the week that we watched more TV then we had in the past two years combined! So that was our daily routine, day in and day out – all week!
I shared more about each beach we went to below including the parking situation at each one. Each of the beaches offered umbrellas and chairs for around $40, but we did something we also never do, and that was check in a suitcase. We never do this because of the time it takes, but since we flew Southwest and the bag was free we decided to bring a suitcase dedicated to beach gear. So we brought our own tent for shade, chairs, towels, tarp and more (see links below).
We left Dallas in the afternoon and flew in to Ft. Lauderdale. After picking up our rental car and grabbing dinner we stayed in South Miami for the night.
After checking out of our hotel we drove to Key Largo where we went to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park beach. Upon arrival, we were told it was free to get in due to the holiday, which we were grateful for. The beach here was small but not many people were there, so it worked out well for us. After spending a few hours relaxing, we left mid-afternoon to make the drive to our condo in Key West.
We stayed at the Laureatte which I found through a google search. Once we arrived, they told us they upgraded us to a 3 bedroom/3 bathroom suite – what a gift. We felt so spoiled and loved the place we stayed. The inside was very nice, the lobby was gorgeous, the staff was wonderful and I think Colby especially loved it because they offered cookies, daily! It was by far his favorite part. The nice thing about the condo is there were plenty of restaurants and groceries nearby and all the beaches were within a 15 minute drive.
I ended up getting sick in the middle of the night, food poisoning maybe, so we moved very slow the next day. Around noon we finally made it over to George Smathers Beach, which was a fun beach to hang out on. We ended up realizing that unlike so many beaches in Florida, the beaches in the Keys are very small, in other words, you can’t walk down them forever. The good news is, there weren’t many people there so it wasn’t crowded at all.
Parking for this beach was right on the street and they charged $4/hour.
The next day we went to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach, which we were able to book a pass online for just $7/day for the two of us. This was by far our favorite beach of the trip. We loved all the trees, which gave us lots of shade and Colby the opportunity to use my hammock! The price was extremely affordable too!
We never go to the same place twice, which is why we beached hopped during this trip. On day 5 we went to Higgs Memorial Beach Park, which was probably our least favorite beach. It did have a pier, which some people probably like, but the beach was surrounded by more cement and wasn’t as appealing to us as the other beaches. Regardless, we spent the whole day there and had a great time. One thing to note about this beach is it did have a parking lot right next to the beach with free parking.
I know, I just said we never go to the same beach twice, but we loved the Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach so much, we decided to go back for our last day in the Keys. For just $7/day, we couldn’t beat it! After we left the beach we made sure to make a stop at the Southernmost point of the US for a quick picture!
On our last day we got up, packed our things, checked out of our condo and drove to Sombrero Beach in Marathon Key, which helped break up the drive back to Ft. Lauderdale. We spent several hours at this beach and I really liked it! I would absolutely recommend it again. We had to leave mid-afternoon to make the 3 hour drive back to the airport to catch our flight back home.
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Our Prior Vacations:
I didn’t start sharing our traveling adventures on the blog until the end of 2013, but you can see some of our vacations below. You can also see our best tips for traveling on a budget here!
Western Caribbean Cruise
South America: Argentina
South America: Torres Del Paine
South America: Lake Region
South America: Santiago + Coast
Costa Rica: Manuel Antonio
Costa Rica: Santa Teresa
Costa Rica: La Fortuna
Caribbean Cruise – Grand Turk + Dominican Republic
Caribbean Cruise – Aruba + Curacao
Colorado Ski Date #2
Europe: The Netherlands
Europe: Montenegro + Greece
Colorado Ski Trip #4
Northern California + Lake Tahoe
Yosemite + Napa
Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Grand Turk + San Juan
Eastern Caribbean Cruise: St. Kitts + St. Maarten
Colorado Skip Trip #5
Utah: Zion and Bryce National Parks
Utah: Arches National Park
Florida Trip Recap
Western Caribbean Cruise
Colorado Trip #6