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Keys Virgin...How and where should I spend a month in the Keys?

Spending February in the Keys this year...looking for a vacation rental. Was considering maybe doing 2 locations...looking for recommendations. I have a 23ft bay boat that I'm taking and dont intend to leave any stones unturned. Of course I dont know what type of fish are around that time of year and will likely hire a guide to learn each new area.

Where would you go and why?

PS - Yes, I'm searching every forum and board I can find.

Many Thanks!



  • razorreilly09razorreilly09 Posts: 8,401 Admiral
    Lower keys- big pine west will have more bay options and places to get out of the wind if its present. Check out google earth
  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,751 Captain
    X2 on BP. A caution. Find a rental that has good access to BOTH ocean & backcountry. Lots of places don't. Good luck with your search & hope you find something. BTW Big Pine fishing lodge is popular & Palmers on Big Torch is very boater friendly.
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,494 Moderator
    For that long, I'd rent a house in Venture Out on Cudjoe. Good access to both sides, usually a dock behind the house, local ramp.
  • flbluerunnerflbluerunner Cape CoralPosts: 723 Officer
    Take a look at Vacation Rentals 13929.
    Pool, dock, quick access to Atlantic and FL Bay.
    Great central location.
    John :USA
    2006 38 Luhrs IPS600, A true 38, the only one made with IPS!
    2001 23 Parker

  • keylargo359keylargo359 PSN / KEYLARGOPosts: 1,353 Officer
    Islamorada has as much to offer as any where in th keys. Ocean and reef fishing. All of Everglades National Park for back country and the added advantage of easy access to Florida Bay.
    The worst day of fishing is still better than the best day of work:\
  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,751 Captain
    Jack. Well said. Are you familiar with VO?
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • RAPNJARRAPNJAR Posts: 108 Officer
    Thanks all...that's what I was looking for.
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 5,494 Moderator
    Sparse I've stayed there once about 3-4 years ago - a friend bought a week at a CCA Banquet and invited me to be his guide as he had never been to the Keys. Very nice place and easy access to both Gulf & Atlantic. I used to live in Homestead and would make weekend trips to the Keys, moteling in Islamorada or KW or staying with friends. Key Largo was close enough for day trips. Now when I visit, I go all the way down to the Yankee Capts and stay on the floating bus, or stay with friends in Islamorada.
  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,751 Captain
    Thanks for that Jack. I do live there & thought you might use the place on occasion. Thanks again.
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • TeamTekeTeamTeke Posts: 993 Officer
    I would not delay making a decision. Many of the rentals for the prime months of January-March are reserved a year in advance. With the bay boat I agree that the lower Keys would serve you well. Perhaps Islamorada should be on your short list also. Middle Keys- Marathon, Key Colony Beach & Duck Key also offer solid bay and bridge fishing, some flats and a moderate run to the Everglades.
    Happiness is the journey, not the destination.
  • BonerackBonerack Posts: 47 Deckhand
    Jeff and all, thanks for the replys, am also looking at lodging in the keys at about the same time. flbluerunner can't find anything on vacation rentals 13929, any other info on this? Will be traveling mid Feb- mid March with 17' C C wife and small dog. Most rentals already reservered and larger then what we're looking for ( 2 to 6 bedrooms), pleasekeep posts coming. HJG
  • SearcherSearcher Posts: 25 Greenhorn
    I've stayed throughout the keys, and have to say Big Pine (especially Doctor's Arm area) is hands down my favorite: laid back, friendly people, less developed, if you pick the right place you will have easy access to the bay and oceanside for fishing. Assuming you have boating experience, the water around Big Pine is relatively easy to navigate for a first timer. My wife and I just spent August/September there and really enjoyed it. My second choice would be Islamorada or Marathon. If you want to be close to Key West, but not right in the middle of all that is Key West, then Big Coppit would be a good choice.
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