U.S. 1 is lined with chain hotels in all price ranges. In the Upper Keys, the best moderately priced option is the Key Largo Ramada, off U.S. 1 at MM 100, Key Largo (tel. 800/THE-KEYS [843-5397] or 305/451-3939), which has three pools and a casino boat, and is just 3 miles from John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Another good Upper Keys option is Days Inn Oceanfront Resort, U.S. 1 at MM 82.5 (tel. 800/DAYS-INN [329-7466] or 305/664-3681). In the Middle Keys, the Siesta Motel, 7425 Overseas Hwy., MM 54 in Marathon (tel. 305/743-5671; www.siestamotel.net), offers reasonably priced, very clean ocean-side rooms.

Because the real beauty of the Keys lies mostly beyond the highways, there is no better way to see this area than by boat. So why not stay in a floating hotel? Especially if you're traveling with a group, houseboats can be economical. To rent a houseboat, contact Houseboat Vacations, 85944 Overseas Hwy., Islamorada (tel. 305/664-4009; www.floridakeys.com/houseboats). Rates are from $1,112 to $1,350 for 3 nights. Boats accommodate up to six people.

If you'd rather stay on land and do so for an extended period of time with a bunch of friends or family, consider the Getaway Cedar Chalet (tel. 586/909-4553), a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom home located on a cul-de-sac right across from the ocean in Islamorada. The home features panoramic ocean views, a big gourmet kitchen, tropical landscaping, lofted wood ceilings made of Dade County Pine, lower level rec room and private cabana suite with kitchenette and full bathroom. Rates range from $2,500 to $2,800 a week.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.