Dive beneath the surface in the Conch Republic in 48 hours…
Where to stay:
Finding affordable accommodation in Key West can be a struggle. Most AirBnBs (in a decent price range) are on boats, which personally my sea sickness didn’t love that idea. For the best location and price value mix, it’s best to stay at an inn or bed and breakfast off Duval Street. I stayed at The Cabana Inn – a block away from Duval Street. This Inn is the perfect location, and walking distance from everything on the island. The architecture is very Key West style, with a pool, complimentary breakfast and happy hour. Other accommodation suggestion: The Mermaid and the Alligator.
Flying: Key West International airport is about 15 minutes from the city center.
Ferry: Key West Express – there is a ferry from Ft. Myers and Marco Island to Key West.
Driving: From Miami, it’s a straight shot on Route 1 through the Keys, all the way down to the southernmost island, Key West. It’s a one way road, and if you don’t hit any traffic is about 3.5 hours. If your hotel doesn’t offer parking, there are a few parking garages on the northern side of Key West you can park in over night, which are about $15 per night.
Everything on the island is walking distance, so you won’t need your car. There are no Ubers, but there are plenty of car taxis and bike taxis when you want one.
Debatably the best doughnut in Florida. This doughnut shop bakes new flavors daily, and also have great island flavors like key lime and pina colada(YUM!). It’s best to go earlier in the day because they do sell out.
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
In a town not known for its beaches, Fort Zachary Taylor Park is a beauty which sits on the western side of the island. It has the cleanest beach and clearest waters in Key West. Umbrella and chair rentals are available ($25 all day for 2 chairs and 1 umbrella).
Get there early to secure a front row seat to watch the sunset and sip on a pina colada. Try the conch fritters for some local eats.
Featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives on the food network, this food stand serves eclectic, inventive takes on tacos, burritos and burgers. Located behind a bar, Grunts. Perfect spot to have a drink and stuff your face with tacos.
Better than Sex
This dessert bar offers an extensive menu of decadent treats in an intimate environment. Be sure to indulge in the dipped wine glasses. With my champagne obsession, I ordered the Kiss Me Katie which is sparkling wine with a carmel sauce dipped glass(drooling just thinking about it). Be sure to make a reservation, this place fills up fast!
This landmark marks 90 miles north of Cuba. Tip: Go at night to avoid the crowds and line of tourists waiting to snap a picture in front of it. It’s very peaceful sitting on the ledge overlooking the water.
Firefly Key West – delicious Southern restaurant, perfect for brunch and blood orange mimosas. If the heat is bearable, sit upstairs on the terrace.
Alternative spot: Blue Heaven
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Now a U.S. National Historic Landmark, this literary icon’s house is filled with his original furniture and memorabilia. The garden is remarkable, and one of my favorite parts. The house is swarmed with cats, have their own Instagram account(celeb status), @hemingwayhomecats. $13 admission for adults.
Key West Light House
The light house is located right across the street from the Ernest Hemingway House. The climb up the 88 steps is steep and constricting. Although, the 365 degree views at the top are worth it. $10 admission for adults.
A street over a mile long filled with bars and restaurants. It’s definitely a tourist hot spot, but you can’t avoid going there. Tip: make your own bar crawl (day or night). My favorite spot is Fat Tuesday, a.k.a. frozen drink heaven.
Bahia Honda State Park
Add this beautiful state park to your list for some beach time and crystal clear waters. It’s about an hour drive north from Duvall Street.