J and I just returned from a
great, fantastic, GLORIOUS trip to Key West, Florida! It was 5 days of sunshine, time spent on the ocean, sightseeing, and reconnecting with each other after a crazy busy past few months. Absolute perfection!
We stayed far away from Duval Street, which is where most of the bars and partying take place. Personally, this was a great choice for us. The hotel we stayed at (Marriott Beachside) offered a shuttle to and from Duval street, so it allowed us to go there whenever we wanted, while not staying in the super crowded, super loud part of town. In addition, the entire island is only 4 miles long and 2 miles wide, so we easily could have walked the whole place if we wanted to.
After arriving late Wednesday, we grabbed dinner at the hotel restaurant (Tavern n’ Town), which was quite good! We both eat vegetarian/vegan as much as possible, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity for fresh seafood, so I got the scallops and shrimp. It was delicious, and their homemade sorbetto was a perfect dessert. We passed out early, tired after the all-day travel.
Thursday was a full day at Dry Tortugas National Park. It was such an interesting place to visit! Built as a military installation, yet never finished, the Park holds a lot of the brick structures that would have been in place back in the 19th century. There is no potable water on the island (one of the reasons why the fort was never completed), so it’s strictly “carry-on/carry-off.” Pretty much, if you bring it on the island, you’d better take it off with you! But, they had lots of areas for camping, so you could easily stay overnight if you wanted. After touring the island, we snorkeled for a bit, before getting back on the ferry and heading back to Key West. The ferry was really nice, they provided breakfast and lunch, and it was a comfortable 2 hour trip to and from Dry Tortugas!
Friday and Saturday we spent touring the island. Shopping on Duval street and checking out the various art galleries was a really good time. We pretty much ate our way through that entire island! Some of our favorite restaurants were The Café, Square One, and Bien. All were SUPER delicious, and The Café had some fantastic vegetarian and vegan options! We’d definitely go back to each of those, if we travel back to Key West in the future! We also did a sunset cruise, which offered a wine tasting as part of the cruise. I discovered a few new favorites on that boat!!
Sunday was our last full day on the island, so we did a dolphin tour (with Dolphin Watch: Rob is AMAZING!) and more snorkeling! We saw several wild dolphins and watched the come up to the boat and play around with each other. It was so much fun to watch them interact with each other, especially the mother with her baby! The tour guide was also super knowledgeable about dolphins, which made the trip that much more interesting and fun! After watching the dolphins for a while, we hopped into the water for more snorkeling. Watching tons of brightly colored fish and a few
large ENORMOUS barracuda fish rounded out our time in the water, and after nearly a full day out, we headed back to the hotel.
Monday we made the long drive back to Miami to catch our flight home. The drive between Miami and Key West is really pretty, with tons of smaller keys between Key Largo and Key West. I mistakenly thought it was just one giant bridge over water, but most of it is on dry land. Even with that in mind, it was still worth the drive. We rented a convertible (Chevy Mustang!) and rode with the top down, which was a treat compared to my usual mode of transportation, which is a Prius. Well worth the splurge!
All in all, it was a short, but fantastic vacation! Sunny, full of colorful sights (and a few lizards), and plenty of amazing food! If you’re looking for a slice of paradise right here in the US, be sure to check it out!