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Any suggestions for hanging out at the beaches in Coco, Nassau & Key West?
We are used to driving a few hours to Destin, FL during the summer to hang out on the beach. We decided to do this cruise instead.
Normaly on cruises we like to do many "adventure type" excursions. This cruise we are looking to hang out on some nice beaches. Is there any RCCL or Private bookings that we should do in order to have a nice beach experience?
We did a multi-featured excursion on Freedom in Jan.08 and it ended at "exclusive beach" type resort. It was a few hundred feet of beach that was over-packed with chairs and over-booked with people.
The 2 beaches in Key West closest to the pier area are Fort Zachary Taylor and Higgs Beach, There is a third beach, Smathers, that is located closer to the Key West airport.
Zachary Taylor is a state park area near the naval base that is popular among the locals. Restroom facilities, but no bars, restaurants, etc. Higgs Beach is next to the Casa Marina hotel - It has restrooms and a place to buy refreshments. The other beach in Key West, Smathers Beach, is closer to the airport and also has restroom and snack facilities and (sometimes) water sports vendors.
I've been to Zacary Taylor and Higgs, but not Smathers. Zachary Taylor is larger, popular among locals, and has a state park feel to it. Higgs is your standard beach. In all honesty, as far as beaches go, I wasn't overwhelmed by either, and don't know you'd find them superior to Destin.
Other recommendations for spending a few hour in Key West away from the tours would be to rent bikes or scooters, or as we did on our recent Radiance cruise - finding an out of the way retsaurant to enjoy a relaxing brunch. We went to Blue Heaven in Bahama Village area - great Bloody Marys, incredible Lobster Benedict, and lots of locals in a laid back outdoor setting. A nice break from the craziness of Duval Street.
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Last edited by OPSoccermom; May 22nd, 2008 at 12:58 AM.
When you get to Coco Cay, go as far down the beach as you can walk. There are beach chairs there but really no one else. We saw maybe 15 people the entire day when we did this. Its a farther walk to the bar, but its worth it.
Key West- Zachary Taylor State Park...not that great and quite a hike from the ship...I would try Smathers
Nassau- We went to Atlantis and toured aquarium and were able to use their beach...a worker directed us up a path and to beach...not beach in center of main resort...food, beverages and chairs all were there...it was beautiful! Have fun!
Last edited by leepep; May 22nd, 2008 at 10:41 AM.
In Nassau, I usually go to Cable Beach. Take the #10 jitney, cost $1 each way. Get off at the Wyndam. For $15 you can get a day pass that allows you to use their pool and beach.
DITTO! i was there the first week of may we went in through the wyndham and walked over next door to the sheraton, which i thought had a nicer pool. we sat under the tikki hut & 2 lounge chairs, no one even asked us for the $15 we ordered drinks at the bar and then right between the wyndham & sheraton ropes there was a guy selling drinks in a coconut, we love this so his friend walked over and sold us" yellow birds" for $5 and $3 refills and they had other drinks too under their umbrella, needless to say we took a cab back to the ship the property and the pools are awsome a the sheraton.......
If you have not been to Paradise Island, I would go there instead of Cable Beach. Last time we were there, we took a water taxi just off the ship (it was very rickity (sp?) looking, but there are probably better ones. We then walked a short distance from the drop off to the Sheraton (I think its RIU now); had lunch; lounged by their pool & beach. I know Atlantis charges a daily fee, but if you haven't been there, it might be worth it.
Key West: I definitely don't think the beach is worth much time. Maybe consider a boat or snorkeling trip. Otherwise, I hear the conch train tour is a nice overview & just walking downtown is an adventure.
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Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West does have a refreshment stand where you can buy snacks. Or you can buy food at the convenience stores in town or restaurants t and take it with you. The park has picnic tables and little grills. I don't know if you can grill now because of the severe drought conditions much of Florida is expereincing now.
The beach at the park has just been refurbished with fresh sand and new trees and scrubs have been planted. The park sits on a corner of Key West, so you can get views in two directions of the harbor. It is a great place to watch boats of all kinds coming and going.
There is a fee to enter the park, but it is good for the whole day. It is such a relaxing place to spend the day. The Australian pines offer shade and breezes rustle through them.
On the way to the park or leaving it, check out the Eco-Science Museum which has displays of Florida's reefs and coastal areas. It is free, but isn't open every day of the week.
On Coco Cay, do what has been suggested previously; walk as far to the right as you can. There is a very special area of palms and Australian pines with hammocks, lounge chairs and a lovely beach. Not many people frequent thsi area. I can't imagine why not. Maybe they don't want to walk that far, but it is truly worth the extra effort.
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If you want to go swimming in Key West stick to a pool or take a boat and go snorkling. The beaches are not made of sand as you know it. It is more like muck and when you venture out into the water it sticks to you like cement (they make concrete blocks out of the stuff).
The sand at Paradise beach is soft and powdery and the water on a good day is crystal clear.
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Nassau: Something different...you can go to the local free beach on Paradise Island. Either take the water taxi ($3 pp each way) or taxi ($6 or 8 pp per way). If you take the water taxi, here are directions by which to walk from where they drop you off to get to the beach.
Click on the picture so you can view it in a larger size so you can see the directions I made on it.
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