Travel Tuesday: Key West, FL

October 9, 2018 Key West, FL 33040, USA

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed some vacation-y posts lately. Sean and I joined 7 of our neighbors on an almost-weeklong trip to Key West and had a blast!

How we got there

Most of the clan booked flight inclusive packages through Expedia that flew them right into Key West. Sean and I used points from Southwest for a free flight into Fort Lauterdale (the credit card rewards are worth their weight in gold!), then rented a car for a scenic drive through all the Keys. I usually hate road trips, but this one was gorgeous and full of plenty of fun places for quick stops to break things up. Totally worth it!

Where we stayed

Between the 9 of us, 4 rooms were booked at the 24 North Hotel on Key West's "rooster row", a location closer to the airport than it is the action of Mallory Square and Duval Street. Between the hotel's free shuttle and 2 rental cars, we were able to get around easily to anywhere we wanted.

We had booked a standard room with a water view. Since we drove, we checked in last and the front desk kindly accommodated our request to be near our friends. Unfortunately, that put us in an obstructed view. While I certainly wouldn't have left a bad review for this (they did give us what we asked for, after all), I did mention that the obstruction was a bummer and they upgraded us to a top floor suite the very next day! It was one of many examples of incredible service.

The hotel never felt crowded and featured a gorgeous pool, fitness center, and restaurant/bar both inside and outside. In addition, 4 hotels in a row were sister properties, meaning we could hop about if we wanted (we're lazy. we didn't').

What we did


While there's water everywhere, Key West isn't exactly known for it's beaches. The more accessible Higgs and Smathers beaches weren't a hit with our group (most people wouldn't even go in the water), but for a small entrance fee, the beach (and fort) at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park proved to be a winner!


I'll be honest and say I was worried there wouldn't be enough to do. Thankfully, this wasn't the case and we managed to fill the time together:  Sean and I didn't even hit all the things on our list! Our favorites were the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Nancy Forrester's "Secret Garden" (a rescue parrot sanctuary), and enjoying the sunset from the Key West Cocktail cruise.

Home of Ernest Hemingway

The home is still home to dozens of siz-toed cats. You can see how wide the paws are on this guy.

Cockatoo friend Mr. Peaches (don't judge my humidity hair)

We also spent plenty of time exploring Duval St, tasting spirits at local rum distilleries, and forgoing the line for the popular Southernmost Point photo by taking it at night. Oh, and the girls got matching henna tattoos because why not?!


We ate Key Lime pie whenever possible (we thought the best was actually in Key Largo at Mrs. Mac's) and had decent food overall, but our favorite dinner hands down was the Cuban fare at El Meson de Pepe in Mallory square. We split a combination platter including 3 meats (hello, ropa vieja!), plantains, yucca, and rice and beans. I could have happily eaten there every night! On the flip side, the famous Sloppy Joe's bar was a spot I could have skipped. The expensive cocktails were way too sweet and the Key Lime pie tasted more like old glue. I know it's a tourist staple, but not one I'd recommend personally.

Final Thoughts

At the beginning of the trip, I was feeling the vibe that Key West was a nice place, but not one I necessarily needed to return to. As the week progressed, I actually found we were running out of time to try many of the "off the beaten path" options we'd listed ahead of time. Ultimately, we had a great, relaxing week and would certainly return to check some more activities off our list. While not your typical beachy town, there's certainly plenty to enjoy in Key West!

Have you been to Key West?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and favorite places and activities in the comments!

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  1. It's somewhere I really want to visit! Glad you had a good time.

  2. I haven't been, but now I want to go thanks to you!

  3. We went to Key West in 2011 and loved it! At some point we'll go back again.

  4. Looks like it was a great trip! We've considered visiting before but haven't made it yet.


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