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Passenger Trains > Amtrak Miami to Key West


Date: 02/07/09 16:29
Amtrak Miami to Key West
Author: Winnemucca

We are considering a vacation in Key West (or one of the Keys) next winter.

Assuming no changes to the current schedules, can anyone advise us as to the least expensive yet most reliable and convenient bus/van service (since Mr. Flager's RR no longer operated passenger service to the keys) between Miami Amtrak and Key West?

Thanks anyone for any input.



Date: 02/07/09 18:04
Re: Amtrak Miami to Key West
Author: a737flyer

Rental car. I am not certain there is even a bus, but you want to be able to stop along that beautiful road. Plan an all day trip to and from, and that might not even be enough.

Try this website. http://goflorida.about.com/od/floridakeys/a/kw_highway.htm

I did check for buses, but that's just not the way to go along that highway. I googled "travel from Miami to Key West"

I used to live in that neck of the woods and an occasional drive to Kew West was really beautiful.



Date: 02/07/09 18:11
Re: Amtrak Miami to Key West
Author: rresor

I'm pretty sure there is bus service, but a rental car provides more flexibility. For an interesting variation, I believe a ferry service operates from Naples or Sarasota to Key West. That may be an alternative to driving, but of course you can't get to Naples or Sarasota by Amtrak.

If you do decide to rent a car, I'd strongly advise you to avoid Miami. Get off Amtrak at Ft. Lauderdale, rent a car there, and head west, then south, on the Sawgrass Expressway to the Florida Turnpike Miami bypass. You'll avoid an awful lot of traffic and hassle and have a limited-access highway all the way to Homestead. From there, it's mostly a two-lane road but the scenery is great.

In Key West, I'd recommend the Casa Marina (used to be a Marriott; some other chain runs it now). The core of the hotel complex was built in 1912 by Henry Flagler's FEC. It's a poured concrete structure, and it's both historic and scenic, plus the hotel has one of the few beaches in Key West (which is a coral atoll).



Date: 02/07/09 20:05
Re: Amtrak Miami to Key West
Author: RevRandy

As a resident in Key West (who just officiated at a wedding at the Casa Marina tonight) I would be glad to help you with any details.

There are Greyhound connections from Miami but not good ones for the times of AMTRAK.

The rental car idea is an excellent one - and if you are talking Key West, you do a one-day rental each way, and then in town here just bike, walk, use local buses, scooters, whatever. Key West is only 2 miles by 4 miles.

There are also shuttle services and flights.

I have done them all.

Also, a wide range of accommodations are available.

Any TO members who are considering the Keys for a vacation (a great idea!) please be in touch by private message with any specific questions, and I can share more details above means, what might be along the way, and what's in town here.

Come on down!!! (Though, I have to admit we are in the midst of a cold spell by our standards - it is 11pm on Saturday night, and it is only 63F. And remember, even in the summer when the rest of the country is sweltering, we are in the low 90s at the highest with a great ocean breeze every day.)

Let me know how I can be of service.



Date: 02/07/09 23:31
Re: Amtrak Miami to Key West
Author: retengr

Your best bet for your Key West trip, I agree, is a rental car and I, too, suggest Fort Lauderdale.
You may have to pre-arrange because there are no car rental agencies at the station but a phone
call should get you one. Prices vary but at this time of the year you may pay a bit higher. I
suggest you arrange it in advance. The Miami Station does not have rental cars there either and it
is in a rundown section of Hialeah.
If you have to go to the airport, there is commuter train service from the Fort Lauderdale Amtrak/
Tri-Rail station to the Fort Lauderdale Airport station, one stop short ride and reasonably priced.
Hourly service Monday-Friday, every two hours on weekends. Free shuttle bus from the station to
the airport which is a short trip. Rental cars cost more at the airport so think off airport for
your car. Enterprise is all over the place and their prices are competetive if not the cheapest.
On your trip I suggest you pick up a good map of the Florida Keys and explore these interesting
islands a bit, I think you will be glad you did.
Noel Weaver



Date: 02/08/09 05:11
Re: Amtrak Miami to Key West
Author: billio

rresor reports:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ....a ferry service operates from
> Naples or Sarasota to Key West.

Don't know about them, but can attest to ferry between Ft. Myers Beach and Key West. Because I've ridden it.

Problem: nearest true Amtrak station stops at Tampa (excluding bus connections) are on the East Coast (Ft. Lauderdale/Miami). There is a bus connection to Ft. Myers, but it provides massively inconvenient access to the ferry, so I'd advise forget it.



Date: 02/08/09 06:32
Not the best beach destination
Author: Cameraman

One Key West detail I will point out. If you are heading to the Keys as beach destination you may be disappointed. The Keys are mostly coral islands with little beaches and of the beaches I visited they are on the low end of the scale.

Not at all what I expected on my first visit. Still a great destination for fishing and my favorite, scuba diving.

Enough of the FEC bridges exist to still do some railfanning even without trains.



Date: 02/08/09 08:47
Re: Not the best beach destination
Author: livesteamer

If you happen to be active duty military or a retiree, don't pass on the Navy Lodge at Naval Air Station-Key West; great facility and very reasonable in price as compared to the commercial hotels on Key West.

Marty Harrison
Knob Noster, MO



Date: 02/08/09 14:01
Re: Not the best beach destination
Author: Lackawanna484

Cameraman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One Key West detail I will point out. If you are
> heading to the Keys as beach destination you may
> be disappointed. The Keys are mostly coral islands
> with little beaches and of the beaches I visited
> they are on the low end of the scale.
>
> Not at all what I expected on my first visit.
> Still a great destination for fishing and my
> favorite, scuba diving.
>
> Enough of the FEC bridges exist to still do some
> railfanning even without trains.

Islamorda and Marathon have excellent beaches, but I definitely agree that Key West could use a lot more beach space. There is a beach on the south (Cuba) end of Duval Street, but it can get very crowded.



Date: 02/08/09 21:03
Re: Not the best beach destination
Author: retengr

Key West is a wonderful and interesting trip from Miami/Fort Lauderdale BUT if your specific
interest is the beach, I suggest you consider Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood or South Beach (Miami) or
something in between rather than Key West. From what I have seen of beach areas around Key West
they generally do not compare favorably with Fort Lauderale and the area just south of there.
Noel Weaver



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