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#570630 - 04/07/18 08:30 AM Florida Keys next Winter  
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Dave R Offline
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Wife and I are contemplating a visit to the Florida Keys with our 25 foot cuddy next Winter. The plan is to trailer it down, launch it and leave the truck and trailer parked, then do a 5 night cruise with a mixture of transient slips and quiet anchorages for the overnights. The boat draws 39" of water. I have never been to the are and would love to hear some recommendations of must-see places and must-do activities. Marina and boat ramp recommendations would be great too. We would like to keep our daily distance traveled by boat to under 75 statute miles, but can handle more if there's a good reason for it. We prefer to have shore power while in a slip, but it is not necessary, so we would consider any transient dockage that can handle our draft, the cheaper the better; showers are a must though...


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#570631 - 04/07/18 11:52 AM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Dave R]  
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captkevin Offline
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Sounds like a great adventure. Not really familiar with the keys but have always wanted to check it out. We are on the gulf side of Florida right now & looking into some boating options for next year. Weather has been beautiful 85 degrees every day. Going home to snow does not sound that exciting.


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#570638 - 04/09/18 03:23 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Dave R]  
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tpenfield Offline
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Dave,

You always plan the best trips. Sorry I cannot offer help in the planning, but looking forward to seeing updates when you go.

Hauling the boat that far may be tiring. You planning on about 3-4 days to get there? How did you get so much vacation? idn


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#570639 - 04/09/18 07:18 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: tpenfield]  
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Dave R Offline
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Originally Posted by tpenfield
Dave,

You always plan the best trips. Sorry I cannot offer help in the planning, but looking forward to seeing updates when you go.

Hauling the boat that far may be tiring. You planning on about 3-4 days to get there? How did you get so much vacation? idn


Thinking of maybe moving the cruise north a bit to the FL gulf coast around Tampa where transient slips are much cheaper, but anyway, it's a 22 hour drive to Tampa from my house. I'd take two days to do it. My truck is ridiculously comfortable and tows with such ease that 11 hour days are a breeze.

I have 34 years of service at my job so I get 6 weeks vacation plus personal days. My wife has accumulated a an extra week of days off by not using all her vacation tme over the past couple of years, and gets an extra week for hitting 7 years service at her High School job this July, so we are making plans to use the time on the boat.


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#570641 - 04/10/18 07:36 AM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Dave R]  
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My wife and I went to Key West about 14 years ago for our 2nd anniversary. We flew down and stayed at a hotel with a shuttle to downtown. Not familiar with the boat ramps however we did visit a marina in KW that should be able to accommodate your needs. Reach out to Cattailspa who is on this board as he and his wife visit the keys often. Keep us posted on your journey so we may come along virtually.


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#570645 - 04/10/18 07:56 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Dave R]  
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Originally Posted by Dave R


Thinking of maybe moving the cruise north a bit to the FL gulf coast around Tampa where transient slips are much cheaper, but anyway, it's a 22 hour drive to Tampa from my house. I'd take two days to do it. My truck is ridiculously comfortable and tows with such ease that 11 hour days are a breeze.

I have 34 years of service at my job so I get 6 weeks vacation plus personal days. My wife has accumulated a an extra week of days off by not using all her vacation tme over the past couple of years, and gets an extra week for hitting 7 years service at her High School job this July, so we are making plans to use the time on the boat.


I think moving the cruise north to the FL gulf coast would be a good idea. The Keys are cool, but spending more than a few days in the keys would get boring for me. Here is my take on the keys.. The Northern Keys are great for Snorkeling and Diving, and you could probably keep your truck and trailer at John Pennecamp state park in Key Largo. Islamorada to Marathon are the middle keys and the fishing headquarters of the Keys. Lots of Marinas, small hotels, one or two big hotels, Restuarants and homes in this area. You could probably find a spot to put your boat in here and store your truck and trailer.

Bahia Honda Key is the last key before the 7 mile bridge, and there is another State Park here. You could store your boat and trailer there, they have a small harbour where you can stay aboard your boat, boat ramp and all that, campgrounds, etc.

From the 7 mile bridge to Key West are the boondocks of the keys. There isn't much on each key. Once you get to Key West you reach stuff again. There are a lot of Historic Bars, Museums, Aquarium, Restaurants, Navy Base, Mallory Square. I think after you spent a full day or a full day and a half in Key West, you will have seen all there is to see. So unless you are planning to just get drunk and stay drunk in Key West, or celebrate alternate lifestyles then a day or so is plenty in my opinion.

You might consider leaving your boat along the Gulf Coast and taking a day or two and just drive down through the keys, or drive your boat down to the keys from Fort Myers or so, but make it a short 1 or 2 day part of your vacation.

Just my thoughts on the keys. Feel free to drop me a line now or when you are down here. We live in Melbourne, just a little bit south of the Kennedy Space Center.

Ryan "Rip"


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#570649 - 04/11/18 01:55 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Dave R]  
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Capn Morgan Offline
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Quote
or drive your boat down to the keys from Fort Myers or so, but make it a short 1 or 2 day part of your vacation.


If you do venture to SW Florida (Best of Florida IMO). Leave the boat in Fort Myers, plenty of slips and storage facilities there, then
rather than taking your boat (only good on the perfect day) take the Key West Express ferry down to KW. We did that a couple years ago
and it was great. You can spend a day or two on KW ( agree, more than enough time on KW) then take the Ferry back to Fort Myers
and do some exploring there. Should be a fun trip no matter where you decide upon.. Have fun.


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#570650 - 04/11/18 01:58 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Dave R]  
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captkevin Offline
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Yikes just looked at the map & that would be one seriously long tow.

Last edited by captkevin; 04/11/18 02:48 PM.

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#570651 - 04/11/18 08:23 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: captkevin]  
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Dave R Offline
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Raymond NH
Originally Posted by captkevin
Yikes just looked at the map & that would be one seriously long tow.

22 hours each way...


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#570652 - 04/12/18 09:10 AM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Dave R]  
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captkevin Offline
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How many miles?


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#570654 - 04/12/18 06:38 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: captkevin]  
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Dave R Offline
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Originally Posted by captkevin
How many miles?

1400 each way.


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#570659 - 04/13/18 09:39 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Dave R]  
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Frantically Relaxing Online content
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Change out those trailer bearings afore ya go laugh


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#570678 - 04/16/18 05:37 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Frantically Relaxing]  
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Dave R Offline
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Originally Posted by Frantically Relaxing
Change out those trailer bearings afore ya go laugh


I am a master of swapping wheel bearings and keep a few spare sets on hand all the time. I have two trailers that use the same bearings and it pays to have them handy with 6 hubs to maintain. I probably change 3 sets a year on average. I have yet to find a reliable solution to water intrusion and if they show any signs of water, they get replaced. I am also changing one of my axles as soon as the new one arrives in a week or two (the original went out of alignment and wipes out tires pretty quickly).

Last edited by Dave R; 04/16/18 05:42 PM.

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#570688 - 04/17/18 07:13 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Dave R]  
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There used to be a guy on this board or TBBB about 13 years back who trailered his bowrider from DC (I think) to Key West every year. A lot of time was spent on the trailer from what I remember. Anyone else remember him?

In my experience being to Key West about 4 times, the most recent driving down from Miami, it is not the best place in the world to boat. I agree that seeing more of the keys is a better way to go...if you had a smaller boat or even a waverunner, you'd probably have more fun. Lugging a biggish trialer boat down there would be quite a task and you'd miss out on a lot of deals at nice places other than KW. Best deal we got was Lime Tree Inn in Layton. I disagree that one day in Key West is plenty. There is a LOT more to see than Duval st and the bars. History abounds there. forts, Hemingway House, old cigar factories, butterfly museum, and we did the seaplane trip to Dry Tortugas the last time we were down, which was the trip of a lifetime. Plus there are events in KW that keep it different. We went down for FantasyFest and it was a riot...if you're into that sort of thing...we are.

My niece just moved down there 3 weeks ago (permanently). Her husband is a boater, but not sure he has one at the moment. I'll ask around and post what I find.


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#570747 - 04/27/18 06:50 PM Re: Florida Keys next Winter [Re: Dave R]  
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Dave, if you're going to do like Capn Morgan says and take the ferry from Ft. Myers to Key West, check out places to stay on VRBO dot com or AirBnB dot com.

We've used both and have good luck finding nice places to stay in private homes and at lower prices than you'll find at hotels.

The last one we stayed at was a home with a separate quarters out back with 4 or 5 rooms for rent. Not ultra plush, but they had a swimming pool out back and the free bar was open at 5:00. How do I know that? When we were putting our stuff in our room I heard a female voice yell "What time is it?" Someone else yelled back "It's 5:05" and the first voice (we found out later was the owner) yelled "Its 5:00 and the [censored]!ng bar is open!"

She had a free bar set up by the pool and you could drink as much or as little as you wanted. Great old gal about 70 that looked about 85 with her leathery skin from the sun, but what a fun gal. Her place was only a block or so off Duval St.

We stayed there a week and saw all there was to see in Key West.


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