Florida North America USA

What not to miss on your trip to Key West

My boyfriend and I started our new adventure two weeks ago! Starting off in Miami and already moving on to Mexico a week from now. It’s about time to share some of my first adventures with you! One of the things we have done while in the US is a trip to the Keys. In this post I will focus on what not to miss on your trip to Key West.

About the Keys

The Keys are located in the south of Florida and consist of approximately 1.700 (!!) small islands. The cool things about the Keys is that many of them can be visited by car as they are connected by several bridges. The word Key comes from Cayo (meaning: small island in Spanish).

For this trip we rented a car as we would only spend one day on the Keys and we wanted to move around freely. Many people stay a couple of days or even a week, but as the islands are quite expensive, we decided to make it a day trip. With a larger budget I would really recommend you to spend at least one night on the Keys.

The trip to Key West

From where we are staying it takes around 3,5 hours to get to Key West. We took off early and made some stops at beaches along the way. The drive is quite long yes, but definitely worth it as you get to cross beautiful islands, over 42 bridges with stunning views and clear blue water. We even spotted some wild dolphins! The water was a lot bluer than in Miami itself, as the Keys have the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other.

The first island on the Keys is called Key Largo. This is the biggest of all Keys. The last island is Key West. As the drive is quite long I would recommend you to make some stops on the way at:
Key Largo: where you can find the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This Park is the only living Coral Reef Park in continental US. Definitely worth a visit if you love diving or snorkeling;
Islamorada: consisting of 6 islands, Islamorada is great for fishing and for trying some local (sea) food;
Marathon: with it’s great 7-mile bridge that offers stunning views.

Something that really surprised me is that some parts of the Keys are still being reconstructed after Hurricane Irma (that took place 2,5 years ago). The hurricane hit the Keys twice and left a devastation.

1. Southernmost point of continental US

At Key West you can visit the Southernmost point of Continental US. From here it’s only 90 miles to Cuba! A little too far to see Cuba from sea-level, but still quite special and definitely worth a visit. In the past there used to be many ships going from and to Cuba. Unfortunately Trump made some changes and in order to get to Cuba you will now need to take a plane.
Address: Whitehead Street & South Street, Key West

2. Earnest Hemmingway’s house

Famous American writer Ernest Hemmingway (1899 – 1961), who is know for his books The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man by the Sea used to love the Keys. He spent almost 10 years of his life in Florida, of which 8 in Key West. We didn’t enter the house as tickets were quite pricey, but it’s nice to walk by as you can see the house from outside. Make sure to pay a visit to the lighthouse, which is located right across the street. Unfortunately the lighthouse was closed when we were there, but it is said to offer great views!
Address: 907 Whitehead Street, Key West.

3. Duval Street

The Duval Street is running from North (Gulf of Mexico) to South (Atlantic Ocean) Key West. If you have time it’s a great walk going from South, starting at the Southernmost Point of Continental US to North where you end the day at Mallory Square (see below). It’s a walk of about half an hour through a street full of shops, bars and restaurants. Quite touristic, but part of the experience!
Also quite funny: you will find chicken (called Gypsy chicken by the locals) walking around freely all over the island. There are different stories on how these chicken came to Key West. Some say they escaped from backyards when no longer used as a meal, while others say they were freed when cockfighting became illegal.
Address: Duval Street, Key West.

4. Mallory Square and the Sunset Celebration

The Sunset Celebration was one of my favorite parts of the trip. This daily celebration is being held at Mallory Square and is a must-go-to when visiting Key West. The celebration starts more or less 2 hours before sunset, so make sure to get there on time. Several street artists are performing and one can buy drinks, snacks or souvenirs while finding a nice spot to watch the sundown.

I hope this post gave you some more insights on what not to miss on your trip to Key West. If you have any cool South Florida tips to share, then please let me know!

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More stories on Miami soon.

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    Love the website– extremely individual friendly and whole lots to see!

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