Don't expect to see great beaches in the Florida Keys as there are not many sandy beaches in the Keys. In my opinion the best sandt beach is in the lower keyas at the state park at Bahia Honda.
WE have been many times to the Keys and find it very different to other parts of Florida, but now we have children I do not feel it is worth the joutney when there are better resorts all down the Gulf coast.
Sorry, early post reposted with corrections:
Don't expect to see great beaches in the Florida Keys as there are not many sandy beaches in the Keys. In my opinion the best sandy beach is in the lower keys at the state park at Bahia Honda.
We have been many times to the Keys and find it very different to other parts of Florida, but now we have children I do not feel it is worth the journey when there are better resorts all down the Gulf coast.
I would suggest you keep the FL Keys in your itenerary. You will enjoy the Sarasota beaches and the keys will be a different but great experience for your family.
There are still many things to do in key west to fill your day while avoiding the night scene - day trips, charters, dry tortugas, state parks up & down the keys, etc.
On Marathon there is the Marathon Lady where you can get half day reef fishing trips with the kids. Price is good (a lot cheaper than a deep sea fishing trip), and the kids will have fun.
We always stay at the Hampton Inn @ Islamorada. Outback right there and a wonderful restaurant right next door...it is a way to Key West but with little ones a day in Key West might be plenty.
orlando is worth 6 days with kids.
key west is a wild party place, its true, but we went there with our small children, and had a great time. we stayed for one or two nights half way down the keys, in islamorada at hawks cay, fun w/kids. they have condo like places to rent too. they have a dolphin swim there as well.
in key west, we went on a day trip on a catamaran, and went snorkeling, had lunch on board (they have half days too), there is a great pirate museum in key west. when we went there was a live pirate (looked JUST like jack sparrow) sitting on a chair near one of only a couple original jolly roger flags, posing for photos with visitors. you do different things with kids than you would without, thats all. there was a place we ate lunch that had turtles all around (live ones). its true not too beachy, but there are other ways to experience the water, and the island. there is a cool shipwreck museum too. i would not forgo the keys. it will also be warmer down there in february than in orlando or sarasota. how about 3 days at hawks cay resort, and 2 days in key west? ocean key resort is very nice, and has a dock, with wave runners to rent.
i already responded about sarasota....(in an earlier post).
Thanks again for alle the amazing advices! We are planning our vacation with all of them in mind :o)
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