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Road trip! Toronto to The Keys in July 2013

Discussion in 'Florida' started by mbitton, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. mbitton

    mbitton Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Toronto, Canada
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    I'm in the midst of planning a road trip from Toronto, Canada to the Florida keys.

    My idea is to drive to Key West, spend 2-3 days diving and doing tourist stuff, then start the drive back North. I'll stop in Marathon for 2-3 days and then Key Largo for 2-3 days.

    This will be our first dive vacation since being certified. Is it unrealistic to assume we'll dive 6 days out of 14?

    If not, how would you go about planning something like this? Currently I'm researching dive sites then looking for recommended charters.

    And lastly, if you we're taking this road trip with us, what would be the top 3 dive sites you had to dive in Key West, Marathon and Key Largo?

    Any additional info is much appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    50,229
    5,429
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    Damn I hate long drives. :mad: If you really want to a 3300 mile road trip, I'd find a nice car rental deal that allowed unlimited mileage and no restrictions on US states traveled. That might be difficult as the companies have wised up to such, but it's possible, cheaper than the mileage wear on your car, and if you break down along the way - it's their problem. 25 hours of driving each way wouldn't give you a chance to see the states you drove thru.

    You know you can fly from Niagara Falls to Ft.Lauderdale for $215 round trip each on certain date pairs with Spirit, includes taxes, plus luggage charges? Be in Florida after a 3 hour flight, arrive at 5am, clear I&C, rent a car and be in Key West for lunch?

    I dived the Keys several trips in my early years and it can be great, but I'm sure the hotels and Ops have changed a lot so you'd want to ask around our Florida forum. Key West is not great diving but I often wished I'd spent more time exploring the historical sites, and for your first dives - you'll love it. I do like your idea of a few days on Marathon, then a few on Key Largo.

    Be sure you are well covered with DAN dive insurance and have a great trip. And check the hurricane forecasts the day before you leave. :eek:
     
  3. koozemani

    koozemani Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Tucson, AZ
    2,086
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    I like Dandy Dons idea about flying. At that price you can't go wrong.

    available dive sites will be dependent on conditions. I used Conch Republic in Tavernier(outside key largo) and stayed at the island bay resort. If you're the first one to sign up on a given day through their online scheduler you get to pick the site. Well not really the site as much as the type of site, unless you book a specific wreck. As new divers, the shallow reefs would be ideal. 20-30 feet, blue water, turtles, sharks, lotsa fish. They run AM and PM dives so you can potentially get in 4 dives a day. Book a night dive, great experience.
     
  4. ctiffin

    ctiffin Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Toronto
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    Your trip sounds amazing! switch it up with some ocean kayaking and hiking and you'll have the best 2 weeks - make sure to finish it off with a day at the spa :wink:
     
  5. caribbean-diving.com

    caribbean-diving.com Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: Caribbean
    24
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    If you dont have a particular reason to go to the keys then I would book a vacation for diving. Save the driving time. If your driving because you want to take equipment then its not a great plan. Dont forget a cruise can allow you to dive every day as well. From Toronto I think you have a few destinations in the caribbean that you could get to direct depending on the season of course. Roatan springs to mind and will be perfect for your level of diving.
     
  6. Doppler

    Doppler Dive Equipment Manufacturer

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    I drive from the Toronto area to North Florida to cave dive often... it's a bitch but doable and a 24 hour run... but my longest Florida drive was to Orlando for DEMA and that was puntuated with a stop at Dutch Springs to run a course. It was a very boring trip for the most part. Florida is a BIG state.

    Anyhow, the point is with a two-week holiday, you are going to be on the road for a huge portion of it... in the summer there are some fabulous places to stop and take in the scenery but that is a loooong road trip.

    As for the diving at the end of it, you will have to make some allowances for weather and my fear would be getting four days of diving in... maybe five. If that's acceptable, then go for it.

    All that said and done, you should also ask your self why the Keys? Don,t get me wrong, there are great dives there... but all the ones i am familiiar with are beyond your experience level... why bother. Jump on a plane in Toronto and fly to the Caribbean. 10 days of diving... better odds.

    For better deals on airfare and cheaper parking , drive to Buffalo and fly out of there.
     
  7. CanadianTravelAgent

    CanadianTravelAgent Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brighton, ON Canada
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    To each their own! I would skip the drive and fly! You only have 2 weeks, why spend a good portion of it in the car!? So many places to dive, so little time!
     
  8. mbitton

    mbitton Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    39
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    Its funny that everyone is focusing on the driving! I actually don't mind the driving. I think it adds to the memories...stops along the way, the foods, etc. I've driven from Los Angeles to Miami!

    The girlfriend and I have always wanted to visit the keys. We've tried driving there a few times and always quit half way...its a long drive. There's a ton of options for us to go diving, we just want to accomplish a task we've tried a few time and the diving aspect is whats going to push us.

    I've planned some stuff in the Key Largo area, still looking for recommendations in Key West if anyone wants to chime in.
     
  9. koozemani

    koozemani Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Tucson, AZ
    2,086
    671
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    The turtle hospital tour was worth it. A wine and fine sunset cruise. Good eating and drinking.
     
  10. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    50,229
    5,429
    113
    If you like driving, touring, stops, fine. I'd spend a week going each way tho making the stops...
     

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