Florida Keys

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Florida Keys: Sombrero Reef Underwater (Photo: iStockphoto/Christian Wheatley)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on August 22, 2010. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: airfare, Barbados, beach, CheapCaribbean.com, culinary travel, destination, Expedia, fall, Florida, Funjet, hotel, Hyatt, Indonesia, Jaclyn Liechti, JetBlue, Key Largo, Key West, Krakow, Lonely Planet, low season, Marriott, Nantucket, Orbitz, seasonality, Singapore Airlines, STA Travel, Travelocity, Warsaw.

This year marks the 50th birthday of the nation's first underwater preserve, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. What better way to celebrate than with an off-season vacation in the Florida Keys? While there are great savings throughout the season, hurricanes are a threat in early fall, so learn how to protect your vacation investment.

Begin by taking advantage of the Florida Keys' free companion airfare program, good with a minimum two-night stay at a participating property through September 30. Those wanting to book air separately will be glad to know that regular airfares are lower in autumn than during the peak winter snowbird season. I compared prices on flights to Key West on three popular routes and found savings of up to $100.

Departure Off-Peak Rate Peak Rate
New York $281 $303
Chicago $249 $349
Los Angeles $352 $377

Off-peak rates are based on travel from October 12 through 19; peak travel prices are based on travel from January 11 to 18. All fares were found using Expedia and include all taxes and fees.

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Hotel rates are also lower throughout the Keys. The Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa has posted a Fall Promotion with four nights for the price of three through the end of December. The area's Convention and Visitors Bureau also offers Keys Kash, which includes coupons for $200 off vacation home rentals, 15 percent off hotel stays, 20 percent off golf fees, and more. Value-added promotions are another off-season bonus, and travelers can nab resort credits at Ocean Key Resort and Spa, Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort, The Reach Resort, and others.

For more information about the Florida Keys, visit our Key West travel guide and Fla-Keys.com.

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