Travelers head to America's most popular archipelago for a variety of reasons: Snowbirds take up a second residence to escape the winter's chill; anglers stream down for the excellent opportunities afforded by the surrounding shallow emerald waters; and families of every ilk go to be pampered in any number of outstanding resorts dotting this series of islands. You can find plenty of information in our online coverage beginning at and at the official tourist site at In the meantime, consider these deals that should certainly appeal to any budget traveler.

Liberty Travel (tel. 888/271-1584; has a variety of air and hotel combos to Florida all available and easily found through the site's search engine. You just choose the dates you want to travel, and out pops several choices options. For a Thursday through Sunday weekend from September 15 to September 18, 2005 with air, hotel and a rental car based on travel out of Charlotte, the lowest price we found was for $482 for accommodations at the Banana Bay Resort and air travel with American Airlines. The Banana Bay Resort, an adults-only property, specializes in weddings and is considered a more romantic, tranquil, getaway. For approximately $518, the same three-day air/land trip without a rental car can be yours with accommodations at the Hawks Cay Resort. The Hawks Cay is a 60-acre resort set on island with on-site dolphin feeding and other ocean and land activities including a heated freshwater pool and tennis courts.

If you need to get away as soon as possible, then taking advantage of Travelocity's (tel. 888/872-8356; "Last Minute Deals" to Key West might yield some great returns on your travel dollars. A two-day air/land trip from New York City that departs Saturday, July 30 and returns Monday, August 2, 2005 starts at $492 per person with double occupancy travel. Hotels included at this price are the Radisson Hotel Key West, the Sheraton Suites Key West, and the Crown Plaza La Concha.

Packager eLeisurelink (tel. 888/801-8808; has a three-night jaunt with airfare and accommodations at the tony Cheeca Lodge and Spa starting from $435 for departures out of New Orleans (the rack rate for your room alone would easily top this price for three nights' stay). Located on Islamadora in the Upper Keys, the Cheeca is a four-star, 27-acre, environmentally friendly resort on the ocean with a large outdoor pool, a full service spa and great facilities for all kinds of water and land activities. Costing approximately $465 out of Baltimore or $455 out of Boston (other U.S. gateways are available), travel for this trip is good through August 31, but you must book by August 16. Air security fees and departure taxes are not included in the price of this or any of the above packages.

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