I’m in a Key West state of mind…
Bye, bye Miami, hello the Florida Keys!
We left Miami Beach in the morning and started our road trip towards Key West. The road leading to the Florida Keys was long and straight and there was not much to do along the way, so we were left to admire the gorgeous views that accompany you on your way to the last of the keys – the Key West. After the mandatory stop at Robbie’s where you can feed the giant tarpons that linger around the property for hours a day, we were then ready to hit the road and head to the southernmost point in the United States.
Life after hurricane Irma
Driving along the Florida Keys, we could still see all of the damage that was left behind the hurricane. At that time Key West was open for a few weeks for tourists and when we arrived. Everything seemed normal as we didn’t know much about Key West prior to this travel. But the locals know a lot of trees had been torn down, the sand from the beaches swept away… The extent of the damage is much more visible as you drive past other parts of the Keys. There you can really tell that it must have been terrifying.
Welcome to Key West
In the late afternoon, we arrived in the south and immediately fell in love with the beautiful houses that welcome you to the old part of town. Key West is magnificent!
Already from the beginning, it was clear that Key West was a town that celebrates life – countless bars, restaurants, live music at just about every corner… If anything, it’s clear right away that people over there know how to enjoy and have fun. After a quick stroll around town, we sat down at DJ’s Clam Shack for a delicious plate of clams that we chowed down with some local beer. As we licked our fingers, we couldn’t help but feel a little bit at home. There’s an ease about Key West that makes you feel welcomed right away.
This was our first evening but we couldn’t possibly go to sleep just yet. So we visited the local French bakery La Grignote and enjoyed some local goods as we strolled from one end of town to another.
Let’s explore Key West
As the evening turned into the night, we were talking about life in America and the generally higher prices, but at least this time around, we got to talk about it while enjoying ourselves in one of four pools at the Simonton Court hotel (read more where we stayed right here). For a cherry on top, this one pool even had warm water, which is especially nice in the evening hours and on colder nights.
After a lovely breakfast by the main pool, it was the time that to head into town. This time we decided to do it on bikes and just drive around all day long and see where the day would take us. We rented our bikes from the Island Safari Rentals – they brought the bicycles over to our hotel and we were ready to go!
This town is so relaxed that it is almost unbelievable. We drove around on our bikes and enjoyed all the main tourist sights and more. We visit the very famous Southernmost point in the USA where we stopped and took photos (and btw, depending on the hour you arrive there, you might be standing in line to take the photo at this popular tourist spot). I suggest you come by early in the mornings before the other tourists wake up 🙂 or the evening hours and enjoy the sunset as well.
Key West is known for its gorgeous sunsets, so make sure to do that. Although, if you prefer less tourist-packed places to enjoy a romantic sunset, continue reading.
After visiting also the Hemingway house and the local lighthouse, it was then time to stop for a quick lunch – this time around we grabbed a lobster roll and a mahi-mahi taco. After we refuelled our bodies, it was time to jump back on our bikes and continue exploring the surroundings. In the afternoon we visited the Fort Zachary Taylor historic state park. This is the place where you can enjoy beautiful beaches and lovely sunsets. But even more, this is the spot to come to if you’d like to snap a photo for your ‘memory box’ by the famous Key West wooden signs.
Unfortunately, the hurricane destroyed a lot of trees and washed away the sand from the beach. Since then, the new (less rocky) sand has been brought in. Fort Zachary Taylor is Key West’s hidden gem. This is the place you come to if you want to enjoy a lovely beach, where you can swim, snorkel or have a picnic by the water – there are picnic tables hidden in the shade of the palm trees.
NOTE: There’s a daily entrance fee, but it’s only 2.5 dollars per person and you can leave and reenter the estate as you please.
Where it’s at
The Duval street is the main street, where everything happens. It is packed with bars and restaurants and it is considered a food and drink paradise of the Florida Keys. In the late evening hours, the live music can be heard from every corner, and fine dining and partying go hand in hand on the Duval street. People often compare it to the Bourbon Street in New Orleans but say it’s nicer and a more clean version of it.
(hint: Speaking of food and drinks, if you’re ever in Key West, don’t forget to try their famous Key Lime pie.)
Art galleries meet fancy restaurants that mix with cheap bars and fast food stands. This is a place where the elderly come to relax and the gay community comes for the partying.The nighttime scene is dictated by the drag queens and the young lovers on their honeymoons. It is a mixture of many different things, lifestyles and people but somehow everything seems to work just fine. Welcome to Key West, Florida!
Thank you for stopping by and I’ll see you soon!