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March 2018 trip w/ 18yo nature/snorkel-hotels, where, what?

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March 2018 trip w/ 18yo nature/snorkel-hotels, where, what?

Planning a 10-day road trip from Virginia the last week in March. Target destinations are Key Largo (for coral reef snorkeling), Everglades and Sanibel Island. We want to do as much nature focused activities as possible - turtles, snakes, gators, birds, dolphins, etc.

Plan to power drive straight to East Coast South Florida first. (Night 1) - stay near Homestead to save on cost, then head to Key Largo in morning and explore? (Nights 2/3) on Key Largo - Marriott or Hilton points can cover accommodation fees, so I need suggestions on good Key Largo hotels from those brands. Or is it worth going all the way to Key Largo immediately and staying for all 3 nights??

Know that we want to snorkel in Pannekamp. But there's so many options. What else do we want to do to take in the nature? We're not going to spend time at the pool soaking up sun. We want to be out to experience the wildlife, etc. Is Biscayne National Park a worthwhile destination? Lingering Hurricane Damage? Wild Bird rehab center? A drive down to Bahia Honda, which I'm hoping might be open in 3 months?

Then leaving for West Coast and cross state via Route 41 and do airboat rides, boardwalks, etc en route to Sanibel Destination. Is having one full day to cross the Everglades and do some basic activities enough time?

I've read through all the posts. You guys are great, and I'm hoping you can help me narrow down the Key Largo leg of our tip. Please let me know if you don't think it's worth it if we can only do 2-3 nights on Key Largo. We can always come back from a longer stay on Key Largo, but we have to spend time this trip in Sanibel. We can always make a day trip of the Everglades from Sanibel and go back and stay in there too.

THANK YOU and Happy New Year!!

Sarah

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Biscayne National Park
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6 replies to this topic
Marathon, Florida
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1. Re: March 2018 trip w/ 18yo nature/snorkel-hotels, where, what?

The reef is great off Marathon too. We have a new Marriott in town as well. It can be chilly as well as very busy at that time. VERY busy.

I don't know what kind of time line Bahia Honda is looking at - haven't heard much in awhile, but it was messed up pretty good. Sombrero Beach is slowly coming around. Curry Hammock is open as is Coco Plum beach. Curry Hammock and Crane Point are good for your nature fix too. (It also has a wild bird center) Turtle Hospital is also here (be sure to make reservations if you are interested).

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Marathon
Marathon
Florida Keys, FL
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2. Re: March 2018 trip w/ 18yo nature/snorkel-hotels, where, what?

Look at Playa Largo resort in key Largo and also the Marriott bayside resort at mm104. Both nice, but Playa Largo is the big fancy new resort owned by marriott.

If you have the points I'd just head on down to the Keys - staying in Homestead/FL City isn't very exciting.

For wildlife, check out visiting the Turtle Hospital in Marathon and also you might enjoy looking for Key Deer on Big Pine key. Aquarium Encounters in Marathon might appeal to you as well.

To me, the wild bird center in Key Largo is a stop-when-passing rather than a planned destination. You'd want an hour there tops, unless you really love the birds and want to hand out there longer.

Edited: 31 December 2017, 15:14
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Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection
Playa Largo Resort...
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Key Largo, FL
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3. Re: March 2018 trip w/ 18yo nature/snorkel-hotels, where, what?

Hampton Inn key largo- it's "almost" across the street from pennekamp state park. If you can, read my review for HI. I'd totally take my 16 year old there for same reasons you listed. Have fun - sounds like a really good time!

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4. Re: March 2018 trip w/ 18yo nature/snorkel-hotels, where, what?

I forgot, there's a Courtyard by Marriott at MM100 on the Marina also. Your points might stretch a lot further there than Playa Largo ! It's a good location too with snorkel/dive/glass bottom and fishing trips from right next to the hotel. You can also walk to a number of restaurants/bars from there. It's pretty much the only walkable location in KL.

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Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection
Playa Largo Resort...
891 Reviews
Key Largo, FL
Hampton Bays, New...
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5. Re: March 2018 trip w/ 18yo nature/snorkel-hotels, where, what?

Pennencamp snorkeling is great! We were disappointed with Bahia Honda. The beaches were covered in stinky seaweed! This was in March 2017.

Hampton Bays, New...
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6. Re: March 2018 trip w/ 18yo nature/snorkel-hotels, where, what?

Pennencamp snorkeling is great! We were disappointed with Bahia Honda. The beaches were covered in stinky seaweed! This was in March 2017.

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