Best Reasons To Visit Key West
Winter can feel endless, with storm after storm bringing wind, rain, sleet, and snow. And if it’s not the weather that’s bringing you down, it’s the long slog between the winter holidays and summer travel opportunities. Fortunately, a weekend trip to someplace warm and sunny can break the winter blues, and Key West is the ideal spot. Start planning your getaway now.
Key West is the last of the string of small islands that trails off the Florida peninsula, extending south from Miami. It’s been long-loved as a retreat for the wealthy, but within the last several decades, it’s gained widespread popularity, and it’s so easy to see why. Key West is serviced through major airports so it’s only a few hours from nearly anywhere in the continental U.S. If you’d prefer to drive, it’s only about three hours from Miami, and there are multiple marinas in Key West, too, if you plan on boating there.
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Key West welcomes everyone, so it’s pretty easy to find the kind of lodging that fits your personal preferences, your travel budget, and your vacation style. Your choices range from high-end resorts where you can experience the utmost pampering by attentive hospitality teams to the most authentic campgrounds where Mother Nature shares her finest beauty with you. Lodging options include hotels and motels, plus short-term vacation rentals of whole houses or apartments. Many offer additional perks for guests, like happy hour, courtyard pools, bike loans or rentals, and all-day coffee and treats.
Whether you consider yourself a true foodie or just enjoy a delicious meal, Key West has plenty of opportunities for casual and fine dining. The vibrant history of the Florida Keys means that you’re just as likely to find restaurants dedicated to Spanish, French, Mediterranean, Peruvian, Mexican and Vietnamese cuisine as traditional American Southern dishes and the comfort food they provide. You’ll discover that almost every restaurant serves key lime pie, as it’s perhaps the most famous dessert in the Florida Keys. For a top-notch version that never fails to satisfy, check out Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. It’s where you’ll find key lime pie made from scratch every day. There are traditional pies as well as creative combinations like strawberry key lime. And if pie’s not exactly your preference, there are plenty of other key lime-themed treats here.
The Keys are also famous for their wide variety of seafood that’s brought on-shore daily. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Eaton Street Seafood Market for the catch of the day, plus tried-and-true favorites like fish sandwiches, grilled lobster, and conch fritters. Eaton Street Seafood Market has a convenient Old Town Key West location, and its on-site outdoor dining is always spacious and comfortable.
One of the biggest draws to Key West is the water sports, whether you’re actively athletic or see water as a chance to relax and restore your peace of mind. Fishing and snorkeling are popular year-round, and fortunately, there are plenty of chances to do that in Key West, whether you are a novice or experienced. All In Fishing Charters offers a wide range of trips for catching your own mackerel, grouper or mahi, just for starters. The captain’s a local who knows the waters around the island so you can feel confident that every trip is a great one. The friendly crew ensures you have all the gear you need, so all you need to bring along are items like your lunch, sunglasses or hat. For those who are successful in catching a fish, or several, you can find a few restaurants that offer a cook-your-catch menu option so you can enjoy the benefits of your own hard work and share it with your friends.
Dry Tortugas National Park is legendary, and it’s primarily because of the extreme clarity of the water around this small island off the coast of Key West. People come from all over because of how high the visibility is and how calm the water is. Snorkelers can explore multiple coral reefs and sunken shipwrecks. Because the tiny islands that make up Dry Tortugas are highly protected, access is limited. That said, there is a daily ferry that runs between the park and Key West. You can book a seat on the ferry, but be sure to do so as soon as you know you’re heading here. Seats are very much limited, and they book quickly.
A quick trip to Key West is the antidote to your winter blues. There’s so much warm hospitality here, along with summertime activities you can enjoy practically year-round, it feels like a world away from the low temperatures, high winds, and wintry slush you have to deal with every day. When it gets to be too much, make your way to Key West to warm up and soothe your soul.
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