*By: Megan Deppen*
In mid-July, after a long year and a half without being able to travel due to the pandemic, I was very excited we were finally going on vacation! A group of friends invited us to go to Key West, Florida. Neither my husband or I have ever been there, so we were looking forward to not only a long-awaited get away, but to also explore a new destination.
Overall, we enjoyed the trip, but it wasn’t our favorite place. However, I’m still happy we were able to experience it and remember that everyone has their own opinions, so perhaps, if you visit, you will love it. Here are some must-do’s if visiting Key West is in your future.
Duval Street – If you like to party, then Duval Street is for you! This is definitely the party street of the island. It’s the equivalent to Bourbon Street in NOLA. It has numerous bars and restaurants with live music and the good news is you can keep the party going all night long, since most places are open until 4am.
Southernmost Point – Key West is the southernmost point in the continental United States, making it 18 feet above sea level and 90 miles from Cuba. You can stop and take a picture at the concrete buoy (see our picture below). I recommend getting there in the early morning to avoid lines. If you go early, it should be a pretty quick tourist attraction stop.
Mallory Square – Mallory Square is a neat waterfront square with many restaurants and shops. It is known for the place to go to take in the beautiful Key West sunsets. It also has the Key West Shipwreck Museum & Key West Aquarium. The shipwreck museum contains numerous artifacts of shipwreck salvage in the Florida Keys. I recommend walking to the top of the tower, where you will see gorgeous views of the island. If you like aquatic-life, check out the The Key West Aquarium. It features many different animals, such as sharks, turtles, eels, fish, etc.
Sunset Key – Latitudes – If you’re looking to get dressed up for a fancy dinner and eat some fine cuisine, check out the American Restaurant, Latitudes, on Sunset Key Island. You will have to take a ferry to get to the island, but it only takes a few minutes. After dinner, take in the beautiful sunset and walk around the quaint neighborhood that has many gorgeous island properties.
0 Mile Marker – This is a popular photo-op for tourists. This marks the beginning/end of US HIghway 1.
Food – There is lots of good food around the island and if you’re a seafood lover, than Key West is your place. If you like lobster rolls, try DJ’s Clam Shack. They were featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives and their lobster rolls are amazing!
Key West is also known for Key Lime Pie, so if you enjoy this pie, try Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. They also have Key Lime Pie dipped in chocolate on a stick and if you can’t live without Kermit’s Key Lime Pie, they also ship their pies around the country.
Getting Around the Island – One of the best and most fun ways to get around the island is by renting scooters. Yes, you can legally drive scooters and golf carts on the road in Key West. I have to admit, at first it was a bit scary riding on a scooter for the first time on a highway, but the good news is the top speed limit is 30 miles per hour on the highway for automobiles and it’s a wide highway, which is a plus.
There were also some destinations we didn’t get a chance to see, but would probably be worthwhile to explore if you are in Key West.
Hemingway House – Ernest Heimingway was an American writer and lived in this house in the 1930s. If you’re interested, here is some more information about it. Also, if you’re a cat lover, this is a must-see, since the house is home to nearly 60 cats!
Key West Lighthouse Tour – In 1823, this lighthouse served as a way for the U.S. Navy’s vessels to navigate the shallow and murky waters of the Florida Keys. If you visit today, you can explore this history as you climb 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse to see the island’s beautiful views. Read more about the lighthouse here.
7 Mile Bridge – Check out a little history of this bridge here. This was about an hour from where we were staying and we just didn’t have enough time to do this. However, it’s something I would definitely like to experience at some point in the future.
Check out some photos of our trip below.
Have you been to Key West or are you interested in traveling there? Leave us your comments below!