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8 days in Florida, finishing in Naples

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8 days in Florida, finishing in Naples

I wonder if you might have some advice about a 7-8 day trip to Florida in January 2017. We are a mum and 2 adult sons, heading to Naples to visit my sons friends. We fly into New York from Australia and I was thiking of flying to Orando but heading to Cocoa Beach where we could spend a few days visiting Kenndey Sace Centre and 1 or 2 theme parks. From there we would like to see Miami for a few days. My boys can go to Naples (by bus??) and I might head to Key West, or even a 2 or 3 day trip to Bahamas (it seems so close), before we meet up somehwere (dont know where) before flying back to New York for 10 days together. If I am solo for a few days, is it 'safe' in either Key West or the Bahamas? I guess I am wanting something scenic to look at, gallerys/ shopping, easy access to food and transport. Many thanks, in advance, for any feedback or suggestios. Tripadvisor area experts are just so knowleadgeable!

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1. Re: 8 days in Florida, finishing in Naples

Key West is safe for single travelers. Find a hotel or B&B in Old Town so you can walk everywhere. With only 7-8 days, it sounds like you may be covering too much. For a couple theme parks and Kennedy Space Center, you need at least 4 nights. If you add a few in Miami and then back to Naples, I don't really see where you have time for The Keys.

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NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
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2. Re: 8 days in Florida, finishing in Naples

Cocoa Beach would work as a base for both KSC (most of 1 day) and a couple of theme parks (2 full days), but January is the coldest month of the year, so having a good beach day is possible, but risky. There are some beach days in January, but also some cold spells. The average high temperature for that month is around 71 (22 C) degrees, but overcast skies and breezy days are more common. If you are more interested in just having a room overlooking the ocean surf and walking the beach instead of going in the water, then the weather isn't as critical.

The main gates of both Disney and Universal are about an hour's drive from Cocoa Beach, and KSC's visitors' center is about 25 minutes via highway SR3. Although I would normally recommend Cocoa Beach as a good base for your selection of activities combined with beach days, January is probably the least desirable month to do it because of the risky weather.

The surfers will be out on all but the most stormy days, but in January, they will wear wetsuits on the colder days. The pier is the best spot to watch surfers.

An alternative for a January holiday would be to stay in Orlando, where the theme parks are about 20-30 minutes away, and then choose the day with the best weather for a day trip to Cocoa Beach, getting to KSC right at the 9 a.m. opening and then leaving for the beach around 2 p.m. After a few hours at the beach, have an early dinner at the cruise port to watch the big ships sail out, and then end up at Ron Jon's Surf Shop (open 24/7).

Edited: 06 June 2016, 21:10
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3. Re: 8 days in Florida, finishing in Naples

Thanks SDT for info on Key West. I will take your info on board and think I would rather miss a day of theme parks than a day at Key West. I will be staying in Key West whilst my boys go to Naples so perhaps I can join them to fly out from Naples on the last day of our trip.

PhotoTravels your comments are very helpful. As we live close to the beach here in Australia, the beach and weather are not a factor when we to travel to Florida. My boys want to see Kennedy Space Centre and their mate in Naples and I am just along for the journey, enjoying some sights by myself whilst they are in Naples. I am thinking Cocoa beach for 3 days for 1 theme park only, KSC and then down to Miami for 2 days and then me solo to Key West whilst they head to Naples, where I will catch them on day 7 or 8 or 9 (we have some flexibility) so we can fly to New York.

Any suggestions for the best way to get to Miami from Cocoa Beach? And the the best way to get to Key West from Miami? And then on to Naples? Lots of queries, I could look in the forum as there are probably already answers to these?

Many thanks for all of your comments :)

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4. Re: 8 days in Florida, finishing in Naples

If you want to do any Orlando theme parks you should stay near the parks not in the Cocoa Beach area.

Florida is best toured using a rental car.

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5. Re: 8 days in Florida, finishing in Naples

Although there is bus service from Orlando and the Cocoa Beach area, and train service (Amtrak) from Orlando, I agree that using a rental car is the most convenient method of travel. The rental car would also be very helpful in getting around Oralndo, Cocoa Beach, and to and from the KSC.

The trip from Cocoa Beach to Miami is easy. Just take Interstate 95 south. It's about a 3-hour drive, but traffic will get heavy as you enter Broward County and approach Miami, so it is usually faster to switch to Florida's Turnpike (a toll road) around Jupiter.

The Turnpike splits just south of Hollywood -- one part rejoins I-95, and the other, an extension, goes farther south towards Homestead, the route to Key West. However, the extension portion uses "cashless tolling", which requires an available electronic transponder in your vehicle, because there are no manned toll plazas and no cash is accepted (the portion of the Turnpike north of the extension does accept cash, at least for now).

You can learn about cashless tolls by searching for "Sun Pass", which can be purchased fairly cheaply. Most rental car companies offer a cashless toll payment transponder or similar program as an option, but the terms vary from company to company, and may not always be a good value.

Edited: 07 June 2016, 02:50
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6. Re: 8 days in Florida, finishing in Naples

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