questionswhat is the best reasonably priced vacation spot…

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It would help a lot if you'd give some parameters about what you consider to be "reasonably priced" as well as when you're thinking of taking the birthday vacation.

Based on my own standards, I don't think there really is any reasonably priced place in the Keys these days, but if it were a special event being celebrated my standards would pretty much be out the window. The entire state is going to be warm (or at least warm-ish) until mid-October and South Florida will be comfortably warm till close to Thanksgiving.

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Based on the reviews, I think I found exactly the right place! Book soon, while it's still warm there, though.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g35668-d121285-Reviews-Executive_Inn-Belleville_Illinois.html

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As stated, you have not given us your "reasonable" definition. I personally like Marathon Key which has a couple of reasonable (for me meaning on the water and clean and near good food), which is close to Key West which I do not like for anything more than a stop on a cruise. Too busy, crowded, and expensive. Give us an idea of what you would like to do, what time of year, and type of budget, and perhaps we can be of more help.

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I'm a fool for the Keys. I LOVE it there! Have stayed in Key Largo (1 night), Marathon, actually Grassy Key at the Rainbow Bend many, many times. My favorite. Though, I've stayed on a house boat there, too. Wonderful experience. The DEA had a boat parked next to the houseboat. Interesting.

Key West? Oh, yes! As I recall, it was at the Holiday Inn on the south side of the island. (Might be mistaken, not going to check.) You simply MUST go to Key West, if you're going to the Keys. It is a riot! Go to Hemingway House to see where he lived & the six-toed cats. (I had 2 of those FROM there.) The street scene is unforgettable. Obnoxious? Yes. Fun? Without a doubt. Lots of places to stay there...depends on what you want to spend.

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@magic cave: I actually live in Florida, and yet I am thinking I might have to stay at the Executive Inn. I bet a lovely winter vacation there would be nice, since it is so close to shopping and entertainment: “The only ammenities there were prostitutes and speed.”

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As previously admitted, I AM a fool for the Keys. Have stayed at Sugarloaf several times - it's right before Key West. Had the breath-taking pleasure of actually feeding Sugar - the resident dolphin there. Years ago you could swim w/Sugar, then, by accident a swimmer was wearing watch that put out one of her eyes. Swimmers no longer allowed. But, watching that beauty 'perform' was incredible! Twice a day.

Do not know if Sugar is still there, I think not. Precious memories for me. So hope to go to the Keys again! Many times. The water is beautiful - various shades of aqua. The atmosphere - laid back. I know, I know! A very hackneyed phrase. It really is there. So beautiful. Relaxing.

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Sorry, I could have given more details. Looking at going around the end of October or the beginning of November. Looking to spend around 150-300 per night (depending on what it includes). I was actually looking at Hawks Cay in Duck Key. Stay 3 nights, get the 4th free would come to about $1100 for 4 nights, but that's for a 2 story villa (900 square feet). Anyone ever been there, or do you know of a better idea? Thanks for all of the responses so far... much appreciated!

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@jlmarier: That one, eh? Never stayed there...thought it SO overpriced. If you're going to spend that much, please consider The Casa Marina in Key West. Haven't stayed there, but the last time I saw it, it was lovely. It was a "Flagler" hotel at one time, sister to The Breakers in Palm Beach. (Now THAT is luxury, well worth the price!.) Also, do remember that the stated room price does not include a lot of extra fees.

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We stayed at (I think) the Curry Mansion Bed and Breakfast a few years ago and it was lovely. There is also a Curry House B&B so I might be confusing the two, but I'm pretty sure it was the Curry Mansion we liked. The room was small, but authentic, which a lot of B&B rooms are not. The breakfast part of the B&B was wonderful! It was only a block off of Duval St. MTV was filming one of their summer events while we were there and several of the performers were staying at Curry Mansion while we were there, but the rooms were so private and the management so efficient that we didn't have a clue they were there.

It's been about 10 years since we've been there, I think, but I see that they still get good reviews. Definitely romantic. currymansion.com

Oops! Rates are posted as within your range. http://currymansion.com/index.php/rates/

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@pickypickypicky: I'm glad to learn I'm not the only one here with the discerning taste and eye for quality necessary to spot a true bargain such as the Executive Inn. Here in North Florida we have little that would compare to it, although some of our Motel 6 establishments have been improving their meth manufacturing and distribution centers to the point that they may soon reach the standards set by the Executive Inn.

Still, I have to admit that birthday celebrations might be enjoyed more fully with the broader range of entertainment available in the Keys. If nothing else, the Keys offer the well-known and highly prized spectacle of sunset -- every single day of the year! And buskers! I think I'll have to defer to the really terrific sounding accomodations already recommended by other wooters.

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@magic cave: Ah, jeez. Maybe I've just been not observing the obvious. Have never seen anything 'out of the ordinary' (& what might that be??) in the Keys. Did hear a dock master say that he blew smoke (a different kind) into his dog's ear. According to him, the dog was...shall we say...happy? Other than that, it's always been simply 'laid back' there. I so love it. Would move there in a heartbeat. Wish I could afford it.

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@gmwhit: Ms. Picky and I were simply exchanging pleasantries about the standards of hospitality at the Exectutive Inn in Belleview, Illinois. Although it has many unique features, according to those who've stayed there and reviewed it for TripAdvisor, in the end I had to conclude that the Keys would be better suited for the sort of getaway being discussed.

The daily Key West ritual gathering to watch the sun set is still a Thing To Do, but those seeking the real Key West have alternatives, at least according to this more or less recent news article http://www.tampabay.com/features/travel/florida/article998295.ece