Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Our Visit To Key West

Recently I was lucky enough to visit Key West on a trip to Florida.

Key West is an island at the southern most point of the United States. To get there is it is a 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive from Miami along one scenic road called the Overseas Highway and it is approximately 8 hours from Orlando.  


We saw this lobster on our journey

It is part of the Florida Keys, a collection of little islands known for their laid back charm, beautiful beaches, fishing, snorkelling and amazing seafood.




The Southernmost House

However I wasn't quite sure what to expect about Key West before we went. It is the largest island in the area, and I heard it is known as a partying town. Would it be suitable for families I wondered?

Well all my worries were laid to rest when we arrived. We all totally loved it there!



Sunset in Key West

The main street is Duval Street which has many restaurants, shops and bars and leads down to the beach. There is also Mallory Square where everyone gathers at sunset to see the beautiful views and the street entertainers.

Key West has a laid back attitude and culture and celebrates diversity. It has a large gay community and has a number of gay and drag bars as well as one or two strip clubs but all are discrete, although you may have one of the drag queens welcoming you into the bars.

There are also a large number of bars playing live music with a great atmosphere, almost all being family friendly. Many had happy hours for that delicious cocktail at half the price of normal too. We found a couple of nice wine bars as well and would recommend Vinos on Duval street.

We felt very safe at night and saw lots of families enjoying the town. In fact it was much nicer than a night out in Cardiff that's for sure. There are other places to visit in The Keys that are quieter but we liked the buzz of Key West.

The beauty of the place is in the architecture. Small white wash buildings add a European feel to the area. We saw the odd chicken roaming around the old buildings. It is really that laid back. Many compare the architecture to New Orleans.



The Shipwreck Museum

Attractions include The Shipwreck Museum, Ripleys Believe It Or Not, The Lighthouse Museum, The Ernest Hemingway Museum, The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum and The Conch Train Tour. 

Key West was the richest town in the United States in the 1800's per capita due to the town being built around the business of salvaging ship wrecks. The Shipwreck museum explained the history of the island, and was very entertaining. Highly recommended for children.





Fort Zachary Taylor Beach

Watersports include paddle boarding, fishing, snorkelling and many others. We found an amazing National Park called Fort Zachary Taylor. For a few dollars we parked the car and used the facilities all day. The beach is rocky but beautiful. We took water shoes which helped with the rocks. The water is warm and clear and brilliant for snorkelling. The park has a cafe, rest rooms and picnic areas as well as an historic fort.




Fort Zachary beach and National Park

There is a large range of places to eat from cafes and pubs to lovely restaurants and you can find a wide range of food from simple salads and burgers to the freshest seafood and steak in Florida. In Key West I had some of the best seafood I have ever eaten and the prices were reasonable too. For those who like restaurants that they know there is The Hard Rock Cafe and a Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville as well as lots of independent restaurants.

We loved Key West and would love to go back in the future. The weather is very hot in the summer and very pleasant and warm in the Winter. We stayed at the Orchid Key Inn, a beautiful hotel, on the quiet end of Duval street, with excellent staff, and extras including breakfast and drinks every day.




Wonderful lobster at the Southern Most Beach Cafe

Best family attraction - The Shipwreck Museum
Best restaurant with a view - The Southern Most Beach Cafe
Best shopping - Coach Outlet
Best local food - Key Lime Pie and lobster
Must Do - day - Visit the southern most buoy at the southern most part of the USA
Must Do - evening Watch the sunset go down on Mallory Square and see the street entertainers

Tell me have you ever been there? What do you think of my review? Would you like to go? 

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42 comments

  1. I have never been to Key West but we did visit Miami many years ago. It was fantastic and I had my first fresh lobster there. If we ever go back (hopefully one day) we will make a detour to Key West, it looks just as amazing.

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    1. Fresh lobster is so delicious. I would advise you to go to Key West if you ever get a chance. There are quieter islands too if you prefer a slower pace of life like Islamorada.

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  2. Wow, it looks amazing and that lobster looks divine and I want some now! This is somewhere we would love to visit one day

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    1. It is a lovely place and has lots to do.

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  3. I was waiting for a mention of Key Lime Pie! The seafood looks amazing.

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    1. I had Key Lime Pie with an Oreo cookie crust. I may just make it on my blog soon. It was divine!

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  4. WOW! This looks so amazing and I love the picture of all the signs. I would love to visit. Glad you have fun x

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    1. It was great fun, you can do as much or as little as you would like there.

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  5. Sounds divine - wonderful place to visit!

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  6. Oh my goodness!!! I would love to visit somewhere like this!! It looks and sounds amazing!!

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    1. Hopefully one day you will get a chance to visit.

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  7. Those photos are stunning... though the lobster one kinda piqued my anxiety a bit, scary as hell!

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    1. I know it's a bit scary, at least it wasn't real though.

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  8. I've never been anywhere in the USA, but hope to one day face my fear of long flights and make it across the border. Although we speak the same language, everything in the states seem so, so much different from over here! To their beautiful beaches, and delicious looking food, and of course let's not forget their thrill seeking theme parks!

    Spud is Disney obsessed, and I too am a huge Disney fan, it's our dream to one day visit Disney World, I should try to remember Key West for when our dream one day becomes a reality! I'm a big History fan, so much so it was my favourite subject in school, and most probably the only one I actually really enjoyed and wanted to participate in, with so many museums, I can find myself just getting lost! x

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    1. I don't like flying either. I do love travelling though! I have written a post on planning a holiday to Orlando if you are interested.

      http://www.thediaryofajewellerylover.co.uk/2013/12/top-ten-tips-planning-holiday-to-orlando.html

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  9. So glad you enjoyed your time at Key West! I left my heart there last year, such an amazing chilled, laid back place.
    I'm longing to go back from the minute we left!
    I would add my recommendation for Mattheessens cake and fudge shop on Duval street, they do the best Key Lime pie and peanut butter fudge cookie I have ever tasted!

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    1. I saw that fudge shop but didn't buy anything there, and now I wished I had! It is a lovely place, I totally agree with you Michaela.

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  10. My Dad got married here and I am desperate to visit myself. Your photos are amazing!

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    1. Thanks Kara. It would be lovely for you to visit the place where he got married :)

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  11. Wow that lobster is actually a little scary! Looks like a great trip though
    Last Day to Enter our August Giveaway

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  12. I would love to visit Key West, especilly as my favourite dessert is Key Lime Pie. Yum! Looks like a lovely trip.

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  13. My Hubby is always going on about going to the States for a trip and this seems like a great place to visit! I think it would definitely be on our list of destinations.

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  14. oh wow! I'd love to visit Key West some day! x

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    1. It is a lovely place Fritha, you would love it there.

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  15. Looks like a great place. I love the sound of the chickens roaming around and wow, that beach looks gorgeous.

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    1. Yes it has a laid back charm but still plenty to see.

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  16. We went to Florida last year but stayed in Orlando to enjoy the theme parks. I've never been to Key West but it looks gorgeous and I'd love to go one day.

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  17. It looks amazing. I've never been but if I ever got the chance I would jump at it

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    1. It was a lovely place Angela. You have to go one day if you get a chance.

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  18. Key west is somewhere I'd love to visit. I was lucky enhough to visit Miami & Orlando as a child and it was amazing. Would love to go back one day x

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    1. I hope you get the chance to go back!

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  19. Oh the memories I have relived reading your post!
    We went to Key West before the children and had an absolute ball, it's one of my favourite places in the world because of that chilled out vibe you refer to.
    Thanks so much for linking up to the Time Traveller, I've really enjoyed your Key West post

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    1. It is such a relaxing place Mari, I totally agree with you and thanks for your kind comments.

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  20. Now here's somewhere I fancy visiting - sounds wonderful with the bars, architecture and atmosphere.
    I'm getting lots of ideas of where to go on future holidays with Mari's new linky.

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    1. The architecture is beautiful and such a great atmosphere too.

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  21. Oh I need to explore more of America, looks like a fabulous place to visit.

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    1. I loved Key West. America is so vast, I want to explore more too Laura.

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