Our trip in July started from Madeira Beach, St Petersburg on a Sunday. We started off about 8am and travelled south via the sunshine bridge to Fort Myers. We located the departure point for the jet boat very easily (by luck more than good map reading). At the reception we enquired about accommodation, they gave us a brochure for a motel right on Fort Myers Beach with a 10% discount for boat travelers. The location was perfect, the room was clean, neat and the staff were great. We spent a delightful afternoon and evening on the beach where there are plenty of restaurants and bars. We arrived at the wharf bright and early next morning. All the staff were helpful and friendly. The journey to Key West was perfect; the sea conditions were flat calm and beautiful sunshine. In three and a half hours we arrived at Key West. We found a neat little hotel which was advertised at the quay (they will take your cases to the hotel).
We spent three days at Key West exploring the sights, you don't need a car at Key West as local transport is very good, you can also walk to all the locations of interest. We had a great time. It's very different from the rest of Florida and well worth a visit, with all the chickens running around and the unique galleries and bars (some bars are not suitable for children). For children the conch tour train is great, stopping at all places of interest, you can leave the train at any point and catch the next train. We took the old town trolley and our guide was Welsh and had lived about six miles from our home!
To travel by car to Key West from Fort Myers can take about 8 hours! The Key West Express has an average journey time of three and a half hours from either Fort Myers or Marco Island (in season). There is another start point at Miami. Travelers can lounge around on the sun deck spotting dolphins, sea turtles and flying fish, or relax in the heated/air-conditioned lounge cabins. Cocktails are available from the full bar, food can be bought from the galley and there is even a souvenir shop! The high speed fleet is jet powered with computer controlled stabilizers, extra long hulls, wave piercing technology and broad beams to ensure a comfortable and smooth ride. This has to beat a car journey?
Fares from Fort Myers are currently showing at $128 for an adult round trip, $118 for seniors and $68 for children. Under 5's travel for just port charges and surcharges.
Tim Hubbard http://www.carhireflorida.net