Key West travel
January 15, 2006 8:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm planning a trip to Key West. Any suggestions on lodging, entertainment, dos or don'ts?
posted by prairiepmb to Travel & Transportation around Key West, FL (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I asked this a while ago. Though I have no idea what time of year you are travelling there, it may still be of some help.

Also, enjoy conch fritters! They're divine!
posted by itchie at 8:57 PM on January 15, 2006

It's been a few years since I've been there, but our favorite restaurant was Mangrove Mama's on Sugarloaf Key. It looks like a corrogated shack, but it has cute garden seating out back and the food was phenomenal.

Since we knew that we'd be out a lot, we decided to save money by camping all week. If you're at all inclined, I'd highly suggest it.
posted by jrossi4r at 9:00 PM on January 15, 2006

Just for atmosphere check out key largo.
posted by Mr T at 9:13 PM on January 15, 2006

I've heard Hemingway's house is worth seeing. Captain Tony's bar is an absolute must. There's a woman buried in the bar(!), and a manuscript of Hemingway's was found in the safe a few years ago. Extra points for getting a coin in the fish's mouth. The beaches are rocky, so don't go there expecting sand. Definately check out

Check out some of the galleries for great art. Avoid Jimmy Buffet's restaurant. Too touristy.
posted by bananafish at 9:43 PM on January 15, 2006

Yes, please avoid Jimmy Buffet's restaurant but do check out the restaurant that inspired a Jimmy Buffet song Blue Heaven (song Blue Heaven Rendezvous ).

The key lime pie at Blonde Giraffe is amazing and you should also try conch fritters and something made with hearts of palm at some point during your stay.

Dennis Pharmacy Luncheonette has good and cheap lunches with an eye toward local food but it really shines with breakfast menu. It you like a great greasy spoon first thing in the morning the check it out for sure.

One of my favorite things in Key West is the Begin/End point of US1, but then I love US1, I'm not sure that would appeal to everyone.

My biggest piece of advice, though is to drive the entire distance of the Keys and make a morning and afternoon of it. You can drive from Miami to Key West pretty quickly but you will be rewarded if you take some time to wander around all the areas passed along the way. Stop at the visitors' centers you'll pass, particularly at the Islamaroda one, they'll be happy to chat you up and tell you where to go.
posted by smash at 5:40 AM on January 16, 2006

Since the island is only about 3 miles long by 1 mile wide, you can get almost anywhere you need to go on bicycle. There are wide bike paths along most of the perimeter of the island. We were able to rent some bikes (albeit not very good ones, but they were sufficient) for only $35 / week. Our typical day was bike around in the afternoon, go back to the hotel, then get ready for some night life. We'd take the public bus to town and then usually just drunkenly hailed a cab back.

If you're into Kayaking, definitely don't miss the opportunity to explore some of the amazing mangroves and private "secret" beaches a few islands up. We went to the visitors center and looked at all of the kayaking brochures to find that most of them had comparable, expensive rates. However, there was one kayak place that had insanely cheap rates (I really wish that I could remember their name). Anyway, we called them, they came and picked us up at our hotel, shared some local dining wisdom, and they went on and on about how it makes them so upset that so many of the kayak places are so expensive. He said something along the lines of, "Kayaking is an amazing sport, a lifestyle, that should be accessible to all -- that's why we're so cheap. On slow days we go down to the youth hostile and see if there's anyone there who'd like to go out for a few hours for free." They were truly amazing people, and they gave us this great map of the islands, mangroves, beaches, etc. Definitely try to track them down. Their brochure will stand out.
posted by TurkishGolds at 6:04 AM on January 16, 2006

Tell me more about what you want to get out of your trip, and I can give you good advice. I grew up there. My family owned a bar there and my boyfriends family has a bar there, too. Camping, real camping, is out of the question on the island, and there are a myriad of hotel and food options.
posted by bilabial at 6:06 AM on January 16, 2006

and at it's widest points, we say that the island is 2 by 4 miles. Depending on who you ask, the highest point about sea level is between 8 and 16 feet. That would be the solaris hill neighborhood near the cemetary.
posted by bilabial at 6:08 AM on January 16, 2006

the Sunset.

Locals and tourists gather at the wharf at the west end of Duval Street each evening to cheer the sunset. It's a carnival- like atmosphere. (Musicians, jugglers, contortionists, etc perform foe tips)

Great kickoff to the party ahead!
posted by dkippe at 6:14 AM on January 16, 2006

My favorite restaurant in KW is Seven Fish Restaurant.
posted by ericb at 7:36 AM on January 16, 2006

Thanks for the responses so far.
I will be going at the end of April. I am looking into staying at the Sheraton Suites. Any info on that?
I would like to relax during the day and party at night. Nothing too "teeny bopper" as I and the others going are 30 somethings!
posted by prairiepmb at 7:39 AM on January 16, 2006

Oh, and anywhere that has live music is a big plus...
posted by prairiepmb at 7:41 AM on January 16, 2006

Go to Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas. It will take up an entire day, but it is totally worth it. You can even camp on the island if you are so inclined.
If you like Cuban cusine, El Siboney will knock your flip-flops off, and rather cheaply, too.
B.O.'s Fish Wagon has a great laid back atmosphere (well, it is Key West) and a kick ass fish sandwich. Yum!
The Green Parrot didn't seem too ran afoul with tourists, in case you were looking to drink with some crusy locals. If I recall correctly, I didn't hear a single Jimmy Buffet song the times I've hung out there.
posted by NoMich at 10:18 AM on January 16, 2006


Uh...that should've been, "crusty".
posted by NoMich at 10:20 AM on January 16, 2006

Duval Street --

Captain Tony's -- where Hemingway hung out; live music.
Hog's Breath -- live music.
Schooner's Wharf -- live music.
Sloppy Joe's -- another Hemingway hangout; live music.
Virgilio's -- live jazz on weekends.
posted by ericb at 10:22 AM on January 16, 2006

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