It has been a long time coming, I know. I've been home from Key West for almost two months, so my apologies for the delay in getting this final post up.
I've shared a few Key West recap posts, along with some of my favorite parts of the trip. But there's so much more to do and see than Jenn and I could have possibly accomplished in just four days. So I wanted to throw together a travel guide to share some of the other things we did on our girls vacay, as well as a few things we didn't get around to. I'm by no means a Key West novice. This was my first trip! Thus, this post is merely my opinion. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below if I missed anything good!
Happy travels if you're heading to The Keys soon! And if you want even more inspiration for your trip, be sure to checkout Jenn's Key West Travel Guide.
How to get there: Drive from Miami
- This was the first post I shared when I got back from DC, and probably the most important. There are two ways to get to Key West. You either fly on a puddle jumper into the island, or you can fly into Miami or Ft. Lauderdale and then drive. Jenn and I chose the latter of the two. It was so much more fun to rent a convertible and enjoy the gorgeous ocean views on our drive in. You can read more about how we did the drive, here.
Where to stay: The Inn at Key West
- There are many places to stay within Key West, but the common theme among them all is a strong focus on the outdoors. Luxurious indoor spaces is hard to come by, while the pool area and man made beach accesses are what's more important. There's no reason to stay indoors anyways. The best pool access is definitely at The Inn at Key West. You can visit for the day even if you're not a guest. It's definitely worth the trip for a relaxing afternoon under a cabana.
- If you're looking to be closer to the action, I highly recommend checking out places located on or near Duval Street. That way you can get by without having to drive or taxi most places.
- If luxury in and out is something at the top of your list, checkout the Casa Marina by Waldorf Astoria. It has the most gorgeous man made beach I've ever seen. Seriously. It was like I stepped into another country or something.
Where to eat
- Mangoes // Jenn and I dined here the first night we were in the Keys. The food was rather good, and the location is great for kicking off a night on Duval Street. I had a shrimp dish, while Jenn had the fish.
- Latitudes at Sunset Key Cottages // a perfect place for a romantic beach dinner. Located on the Sunset Key island, you'll have to take a ferry to get there. But it's one of the top places to dine in the Keys!
- Blue Heaven // a wonderful place for breakfast or brunch! Jenn and I unfortunately never got the chance to eat here, but it came highly recommended to us by many friends.
- Louie's Backyard // another place that came highly recommended to us! It's more on the pricey side, but we've been told the food is well worth the cost.
- Southernmost Beach Cafe // a great lunch spot right on the water. There's a public beach access just steps away, so this was the perfect place to enjoy the ocean with some great food. Before you leave the area, definitely walk down to the Southernmost Point to get your photo taken with the famous landmark.
- Wine-O // whether you're looking for just a pre-dinner glass of wine, or a full meal, Wine-O is a wonderful place to start your night. Their shrimp small plate was one of the best dishes I've had in years. The seasoning and char on the shrimp was impeccable.
- Cuban Coffee Queen // apparently this is a popular spot to go! They have a really cool postcard type mural outside that makes for the perfect photo-op.
- BO's Fish Wagon // we asked several locals where the best seafood on the island was and every single one named BO's Fish Wagon the best! Jenn and I didn't have time to try the food, but we walked through the outdoor shack looking restaurant and we smelled exactly what people were talking about. This is at the top of my places to visit next time I'm in Key West!
What to do: Water activities
- Fury Water Adventures // on our second day in Key West, Jenn and I did the All Day Ultimate Adventure with Fury Water Adventures. If you're looking to make the most of your time and money, I highly recommend this option. You board a catamaran that takes you out for a day of water activities. We started the morning playing in the ocean on water inflatables, kayaking and jet skiing. We then got to parasail, which was my first time! We even saw sea turtles while we were in the air! After lunch we headed out several miles to snorkel in the world's third largest barrier reef. We saw all kinds of large fish, coral and ocean critters. I faced my biggest fear of deep water, and I'm so glad I did. It was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had on a vacation! We then boarded the boat to head back while enjoying some desserts and cold beer.
- Note that everything is included in the price! Activities, food, beverages and water gear. So it's well worth the price for the all day excursion. Just don't forget to tip the staff! They work off their tips and they were all very kind and hospitable!
- Sunset Key Beach Access // I shared a lot about our day on the beach on the blog a few weeks ago, but wanted to make sure to include it in this guide as well.
Best way to see the islands
- Via jet ski!! Barefoot Billy's offers a 27-mile water tour around the entire island. You start at the beach access of the Waldorf Astoria Resort. You get to see a lot of the island, as well as take a nice 30 minute or so break for "free" jet skiing. They take you out to this huge area where you're free to rev it up. Try to throw your partner off, slow down to see the sea turtles or cruise in a few circles to just get a feel of the water. It's whatever you make of it! You'll also learn a few facts about the island, and figure out the "southernmost point" isn't exactly the southernmost point anymore.
Other fun Key West attractions
- Top Spa at La Concha Hotel
- Southernmost Point // a famous landmark that makes for the perfect photo-op!
Where to go out
- Sloppy Joe's // really fun place with live music!
- Irish Kevin's Bar // probably my favorite place to go out. They had a wonderful live band and it's a great atmosphere for large groups!
- Better Than Sex Dessert Restaurant // now before you go and freak out, it's a dessert bar. It's an ideal location for a couple or romantic start or end to the night. Jenn and I were told we had to check it out, simply because the desserts were that good, and the wine glasses were dipped in chocolate. Dessert, wine and chocolate?! Sign me up! We went with our new friends we met on our sunset sail cruise. We had the best time laughing at the names of the desserts, and enjoying some great company with our new friends.
- Fat Tuesday // there are many beach locations of this popular frozen cocktail bar. When you walk in there is a wall full of frozen cocktail machines, all filled with different flavors. Be sure to buy the souvenir to go cups because you can walk around Duval Street with them!
- Durty Harry's | Rick's Bar
- Senor Frogs Key West // if you've been to the Bahamas, you've probably visited their location of this popular bar. There's also one in Key West!
Best place to catch the Key West sunset
- Free // head over to the colorful Sunset Pier at Zero Duval Street and grab a seat at one of their tables. You can order a few drinks while you wait for the sun to set. It's the ideal location to see the infamous Key West sunset, but you have to get there early to get a seat. It's first come, first serve. While this place is perfect for an evening out, it's not the most ideal place for food. I had probably the worst meal I've ever had on vacation, but the drink specials were wonderful. So it gets my vote for the best place to post up at night after dinner.
- Worth the money // want an unobstructed view of the sunset, surrounded by close friends or your special someone? How about from the ocean, complete with wine and appetizer pairings? Danger Charter Sunset Cruise is 100% worth the money. You set sail around 6:30 p.m., and cruise around the ocean via a gorgeous sailboat. The captain puts you right in the ideal line of sight for optimal sunset viewing. No one in front of you to block that perfect Instagram shot. It literally is the best way to see the sunset.
- Some things to note. I recommend eating beforehand. The appetizers aren't very filling, but the wine is definitely not lacking. So we accidentally got a little tipsy from the lack of food in our bellies. That may, or may not be a bad thing depending on what you're looking for, ha!
Thank you to The Inn at Key West and the Key West Tourism Authority for hosting Jenn and I for a wonderful weekend on the island. While our trip was sponsored, all photos and opinions are my own.