How to Get the Best Military Discount in Key West
The Navy Gateway Inn and Suites (NGIS) has Vacation Rentals available for active duty military members. These are 3 bedroom, fully furnished townhouses that house up to six people. Here’s how you book them:
- Go to the NGIS Key West Website
- Enter your stay information
- Select “Key West Vacation Rentals”
- Enter your information to book the stay
- For questions you can call 1-877-NAVY-BED
Getting Past “This Website Is Unsafe”
As you’re probably well aware google chrome does not play well with antiquated military websites. Sometimes this site gives the “this website in unsafe” page. To get past that you click anywhere on the page and type thisisunsafe. I didn’t believe this either the first time I heard about it, but it applies to any military website you are trying to access.
How Good is the Key West Military Discount?
Although Key West is in Florida, it’s island vibes feel worlds away from the rest of the United States. That’s what makes this small island an incredibly popular destination. High demand in a small place translates into an expensive trip if you’re looking to go. In fact,the average prices of a hotel room and Airbnb are:
For reference, the average hotel in New York City cost $258/night.
So what are the current rates for a fully furnished, 3 bedroom townhouse operated by NGIS?
Less than half the rate of a hotel room. Better yet, the NGIS generally has at least one of these townhouses available. If you book a few months ahead of time there are usually no availability issues.
Where are these vacation rentals located?
These rentals are located on the edge of the NAS Trumbo Pt. Base. They are 1.5 miles from Green Parrot (and the bars downtown) or about a 15-20 minute walk.
The island isn’t big, so you’re never more than a few minutes by car from wherever you need to go.
What to Do in Key West
There’s a ton to do in Key West. Since you’ll be saving hundreds of dollars in lodging cost and can sleep up to six people, here are some of the more unique experiences to try.
1. Floating Tiki Bar
Talk about a unique way to unwind with friends. Trips start at 2 hours and you can join as an individual or rent out the entire bar (up to six people). Experiences range from evening sunset cruises to swim stops. Learn more here.
2. Visit Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most remote National Parks in the US. Located around 70 miles away from Key West, it’s home to incredible snorkeling on the Great Florida Reef and a colonial fort. Because it is a national park, admission is free for service members and up to three people with you.
Ways to Visit Dry Tortuga National Park
There are two primary ways to get to Tortuga National park.
- The Yankee Freedom ferry boards only 1/2 mile from the NGIS Vacation Rentals. It leaves daily at 7:30 AM and returns at 5:15PM. Included are a fort tour and lunch. Active military rate is $180 and adult fare is $190.
- A Seaplane can be chartered through Seaplane Adventures. It’s more pricey at $361/ half day. Though expensive, it does provide an incredible experience:
- Complimentary Snorkel gear
- 40 Minute Flight at 500 ft
- Beat the ferry to the island and have it all to yourself
Planning Your Trip to Key West
Though you now have a solid place to stay and some idea of what to do, you’ll still need to plan travel to/from Key West. This location is unique because the drive to Key West is incredible. Some ideas for driving:
Fly To Miami Then Drive
Miami International is a 3.5 hour drive from Key West. It’s flights tend to be cheaper than Key West with much more connections because it is significantly larger. It also has a Centurion Lounge for Amex Platinum Cardholders.
Here are the flight prices for a hypothetical 5 day visit in May. The airports shown are Washington, San Diego, NYC and Dallas .
Over my years in the military, I have used CheapOair for my travels. I generally find them to have better search results than google flights and very affordable trip insurance. They also don’t charge any cancellation, refund, or ticket change fees to military or veterans. Between that and the trip insurance, they greatly reduce anxiety when planning a trip with an unpredictable work schedule.
Renting A Car
We get it, car rental prices have skyrocketed. But if you use the following companies they have offices in both Miami airport and Key West.
Using these companies allows you to take an unforgettable drive that’s part of the Key West experience. It also allows you to grab groceries and get setup once you arrive. At that point, you can easily walk or Uber everywhere which allows you to reduce cost by only renting on days you’ll be driving.
Pro Tip: For Tolls
There are some tolls on the way to Key West. You can make this a non event with Uproad. This is an app that automates tolls for you. Once you make an account, it will automatically pay any tolls for you. You do not have to go through the cash lane either. You can also plan out trips and it will estimate your tolls. Here’s their estimate for this trip, most of the tolls are accrued in Miami.
Flying to Key West
You can also fly to Key West directly. Though more expensive many connections are available. Here is the same hypothetical 5 day trip in May from Washington, San Diego, NYC and Dallas and landing in Key West.
Cancellation Policy For NGIS Vacation Rentals
There are no cancellation fees if you cancel 14 days or more prior to the stay. Within 14 days a fee of one nights stay applies.
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