Key West – Cheap Beer, Cool Cats & Heavenly Food
It’s only 150 miles from Miami and 90 miles from Havana, but the Florida Keys, and especially Key West, are not like anywhere else. Yes, life in the Conch Republic is different, to say the least, but it doesn’t take long to get in the swing of things.
This is our second visit to The Keys and I can say without a doubt…it won’t be our last. We didn’t shoot a video last time because we were unsuspecting first timers who came down with a serious case of Keys Disease. I’m not sure we’ll escape it this time either but at least it won’t catch us off guard.
We’re surrounded by pastel-hued houses and an eclectic mix of fishermen, spongers, cigar makers, and Parrot Heads. It’s truly the end of the road and there’s nowhere else to go, so people take it easy here. The attitude is a laid back and it’s one of those no shirt, no shoes, no problem kinda places.
Key West is a destination that needs to be experienced. So, grab your sunglasses, a cold beverage and kick your feet up for this one.
Pretty interesting place right!?! We’re no Keys experts by any stretch of the imagination but we do have local friends who have turned us onto some fantastic places and given us some great tips. Here is our unofficial and incomplete guide to Key West.
Avoiding Cruise Ship Traffic
Key West can get overwhelmingly busy for a 4-mile x 1-mile-wide island but if you want to avoid some of the chaos…go on a day with no or few cruise ships. We didn’t check and just went off of hearsay about the cruise ship schedule. Turns out is super easy to check and see if a ship is docked here: http://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov/department/calendar.php
Sips and Bites
Much like any popular destination there are some overpriced tourist traps and then there are some seriously good eats. Here are some of our favorites:
- Blue Heaven – 729 Thomas St.
- Nine One Five – 915 Duval
- B.O.’s Fish Wagon – 801 Caroline St
- Square Grouper – 22658 Overseas Hwy
- Conch Republic – 16699 Gulf Blvd (4-6 pm Happy Hour with by one get one free craft beer)
- Fanci Seafood – 22290 Overseas Hwy (spot to pick up local seafood and cook back at camp)
There are plenty of options for camping in the Keys (with or without an RV), but one thing is for certain: Sites are expensive and hard to come by, especially if you don’t plan in advance. That said if you don’t mind staying a few days here and a few days there it is doable without reservations…but I won’t say it’s easy. Here are a few recommendations that we like.
- State Parks – These are the best and least expensive ($38.50 per night) but you will have to plan in advance or check the website daily waiting on someone to cancel…which does happen all the time.
- Bluewater Key – This is a pricey option at about $120 per night but it is the swankiest spot in The Keys and close to Key West.
- KOA – This is the only campground we’ve stayed at and it was a great location and a non stop party (in a good way). As far as price goes it was average at about $95 per night.
Get On The Water
If there is one BIG piece of advice we can offer from our few experiences down here it would be GET OUT ON THE WATER! Sandy beaches are far and few between but the water is everywhere. No trip to the keys is complete without a little time spent on the beautifully scenic shores or deep in the ocean catching, diving or just floating around.
Our Other Keys Experiences
- Kamping Key West – A Party at the End of the Road
- Winter in the Florida Keys – The Disease and the Cure
- Sailboat Shopping Stinks, Let’s Go To The Keys
- Catching Florida Lobster is Easy…or NOT!