At the southernmost point of the US lies a city filled with culture, nature & fun. The locals are friendly and quirky, the food is fresh and tasty & the nightlife is always hopping.
Key West is one of my favorite places to visit when looking for a warm spot in the winter or a weekend getaway in the summer. I have been going there for over 10 years and am never disappointed. It is a city that is full of delicious restaurants that can be family friendly or romantic, depending on your needs. Conch Republic is my “go to” spot when I arrive because it is on the marina, often has live music and is the best spot to order “Royal Reds”, which are sweet deep water shrimp that are peel and eat heaven. It is great for all ages and has lots of action, if you are wanting to try a trip on the Fury catamaran or walk the boardwalk and watch the fisherman cleaning their catch of the day. You may even see a shark or two trying to get a snack of their own, as the fishermen filet their fish.
Latitudes is my favorite spot to celebrate a special occasion or just to romance your honey. It is located on Sunset Key which is accessible by ferry leaving near Mallory Square. You must have a reservation and call weeks early during peak season. My suggestion is to arrive about 30 mins before sunset so that you can watch it from the island. It is truly magical!
For breakfast try the famous Blue Heaven to eat one of their incredible Eggs Benedict’s and to experience chickens running around under the tables. There is usually a wait but it is totally worth it and often there is live music to entertain while you wait. If you are too famished to wait, the Creperie across the street is a wonderful alternative.
I could go on and on about the food but there are other things to do other than just eat…there is a botanical garden, Hemingway’s House and a local theater to add some culture to your trip. You can even take the Ghosts and Graveyards tour which tells of ominous tales that have occurred throughout history in KW.
If time allows, a trip out to the Dry Tortugas is a fun day trip full of rich history if you want to explore the National Park. You can snorkel, fish or simply investigate the island. There are small planes and boats that can arrange for your visit to the islands, that are about 70 miles off the coast, but go when the weather is nice as there is limited shelter.
If you are looking for an adult party experience, Duval Street is your place. Duval has bar after bar to wet your whistle or dance with the band. Whether you go to the famous Sloppy Joes or Hogs Breath Saloon, you won’t be bored. The music is fun, the drinks are flowing and the people watching is top notch!
For a really special experience, arrange your adult trip during Fantasy Fest in October. It corresponds to Halloween and encompasses 2 weeks of chaos and debauchery. You will definitely want to dress up and if body painting is your thing, there are several options to indulge your fantasy. During the weeks, there are different themes at different bars so do some research before you go. The locals parade and the main parade are always a blast! You never know what you might see, so it’s not for the faint of heart or easily offended.
Key West is not known for its beaches although there are a few. Higgs Beach near Salute’ restaurant is a nice spot to work on your tan. However, being out on the water is the best and there are fishing boats a plenty if you want to try out your skills. One of my favorite guides for small fishing groups or families is Jeremy Hackworth with Zia Charters. I have never gone out with him and not had everyone catch fish. He’s very reliable and knowledgeable and can even stop at a sandbar to give you some relaxation time. If you want to try paddle boarding, there are several trips such as moonlight paddling, yoga on your board or day paddle adventures through Lazy Dog. They are very nice to work with and you can rent what you need through their shop near Hurricane Hole, which is great for burgers and beers post adventure:)
Key West is a small little place with a big personality. It’s a 3.5 hour drive from Ft Lauderdale or you can fly directly in. If you drive, do yourself a favor and stop at Robbies near Marathon to feed the Tarpon and grab a snack. It’s a fun experience and great for all ages.
I genuinely love Key West and hope if you have not tried it, that you add it to your list. The key to Key West is to simply have fun!