Key (Wild,Wild) West
Reading Time, 3:00
Howdy, partners! This edition of GG is all about my voyage to the land of Key West, Florida last week. Affectionately called "Key Weird," this island city is located right in between Miami and Cuba. I spent 3 days there which felt just right for this golden girl 👌
Standing on the pier, watching the boat traffic that's non-stop during the day in Key West.
My journey started in South Beach, Florida where me and my crew boarded our boat and headed south on an 8 hour passage until reaching the very last island of the Florida Keys. There's so much history in this small city, and I was able to fill my days with lots of adventure... I tried really hard to pick out my faves for you, so without further ado, here's my awesome travel guide to KEY WEST!
When To Go...
Spring and Fall are fantastic times to visit Key West because it's far less humid. The temperature stays pretty consistent throughout the year (hot!). I would avoid hurricane season in the summertime 😳 There are a couple popular events hosted in Key West
including Pride Fest and their epic Halloween party called Fantasy Fest. I barely missed Fantasy Fest (maybe that was a good thing? lol) ...but was there for Halloween and still got to see some amazing costumes.
A couple dressed in full Halloween getup, strolling through Mallory Square.
There are LOTS of hotels in Key West! I stayed on our boat, which we docked at the Galleon Marina (perfect location, just a 5 minute walk to Mallory Square) which also has a resort attached to it. However, if you're planning on flying or driving down to Key West and want a total resort experience, there are more "magical" places to stay...
Casa Marina is a grand, historical building conceived by American railroad tycoon Henry Flagler. The resort was intended to accommodate wealthy customers of Flagler's Overseas Railroad, which spanned from Key West to the Florida mainland (now these impressive railroad bridges are paved for the motor vehicles of today).
Casa Marina overlooks the largest private beach in Key West, which is very rare because there are not many sand beaches on the keys! (Weird, right?) I literally saw trucks carrying in sand to fill a beach one day. This resort is also just steps from the Key West Aquarium and Ernest Hemingway's house... and minutes from the infamous Duval Street (AKA Key West's main drag).
Eat & Drink This...
Umm, so I think my whole "diet" went right out the window as soon as I saw the fried Conch Fritter stand at Mallory Square LOL. I had SO many yummy meals in Key West! There are two meals that stuck out to me the most, so I'll tell you more about those... and a couple nut job bars I found 😜
I highly recommend renting a bike to explore the town with! Tan lines AND exercise? Yes, please!!!
Reason number one: it's plopped on a gorgeous public beach. Two, the food is to die for! What more could a golden girl ask for?! I ordered the fresh catch fish sandwich (that day it was grouper) and gulped down several iced teas while I sat and people-watched for an hour or so. Talk about an afternoon delight!
Oh, and this place is SUPER picturesque 😉 (also necessary!)
Seriously, what is NOT to love about this place?! They even make AMAZING cocktails like their Key West Lemonade! Apparently their breakfast is to die for (alert: homemade pancakes), but I guess I'll just have plan my next trip back so I can try some.
Alright, next: libations. Enough about food, let's talk about some bars! Because, believe me, Key West is in no short supply of them. I wasn't aware that Key West has a HUGE Jimmy Buffett following. One of my fave spots, Captain Tony's Saloon, had a "Parrot Head" cover band dedicated to Jimmy that played several nights a week.
You must, must, must stop into Sloppy Joe's while you're in Key West. It's just a really historic and famous bar, and it's usually the hot spot to be at night. Ernest Hemmingway spent quite a bit of time in this establishment during his time in Key West, too.
Sloppy Joe's offers an eclectic atmosphere, great people-watching, and usually a pretty sweet band to keep you entertained for at least one cocktail.
Rent a bike. DO IT! It's by far the best way to see Key West! And it's really cheap. Then, grab a map and pick out a few museums to see each day because there are PLENTY! I'll tell you about a couple of my faves.
There's also a funny little train tour that you can go on called the "Conch Train," and it tours the entire town.
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum was already on my list before I got to Key West. It was worth the $14 entry fee to go in and explore this great American author's mansion where he spent so much time writing his novels in. Although he is no longer living, there are still more than FORTY cats that live here! 😱
I loved this museum because they provide so many little interesting facts about both Hemingway and Key West. I spent about an hour here reading, seeing, and snapping some photos... then I hopped back on my bike for the next fun adventure... (PS- there's an epic lighthouse across the street you can climb up to get a spectacular aerial view of the town!)
At the top of the Key West Lighthouse that is now a museum. It's a hike to the top, but it's worth every step to get this view!
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum holds a haunting tale, and some stunning precious treasures. I learned SO MUCH at this museum! If you aren't familiar with this story, (I wasn't before I went) Mel Fisher was an expert diver and treasure hunter. He finally struck gold off Key West when he found the treasure from the sunken Spanish Atocha galleon that sank in 1622.
It's crazy how perfect the gold jewelry and silver coins look after centuries of sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. This museum seriously sent chills down my spine!!! There are also some crazy artifacts in the museum like sewing kits containing the smallest pins and needles. This place will blow your mind!
One last place to wander through in between your museum peeping is Mallory Square. There's always some action going down here, including the best of Key Weird's performing artists.
If anything, you HAVE to spend one evening here just to grab an ice cold beer and catch the perfect ocean sunset ❤️
1. Be prepared to get hot and sweaty! I'd recommend wearing a hat during the day. But, I was wearing sweaters out at night because the temp drops dramatically after sunset.
2. I rented my bike from JG Scooter Rentals right next to the Galleon Marina, and they were soo nice. Bring a pair of your best walking shoes, too!
3. Despite what happened to the rest of the Keys, there wasn't any visible damage to Key West from this year's hurricane season... but there were lots of sunken boats in the water. The people of Key West are fully ready for you to come and experience their crazy, extraordinary city!
Well, I think this was one of the funnest GG blogs to write for you guys. Key West was such a funny little island city! I'm so grateful for everything and everyone I experienced while I was there. Once again, I didn't even get close to squeezing in eeeeverything I did, but I think this is a solid travel guide for anyone looking to visit someday! Until next time... this is GG signing off ✌️