Florida

Why Go to Key West for the Summer

Beautiful beaches, warm sunny days, small little shops and a lively night life — Key West has so much to offer crowds of all ages.

From spring break vacations for college students to a girls weekend out, if you are looking for a bit of paradise for the weekend, then I definitely recommend taking a trip to Key West.

Key West is an island city considered to be Florida’s southernmost point and only 90 miles north of Cuba. This unique paradise is full of cultural diversity and historical sites, making this an amazing place to explore.

My last trip to Key West was with one of my closest friends. She had come from France to visit her family in Miami and decided it would be fun to go to the Keys. Being a travel junkie, I couldn’t say no. So I made my way down to Miami and from there we were on our way to the Keys. The trip from Miami to Key West is usually a 4 hour drive, depending on the car speed and how many times you end up stopping. If you live nowhere near Miami and are planning a trip to Key West, then here are a few suggestions on transportation.

 

  • If going on a plane, avoid going directly to the Key West airport. Try booking the trip to Miami and then driving down to Key West. This will be a lot cheaper.
  • Although I love the idea of driving a car down, it can get quite expensive with the tolls and gas. Instead use a bus, which is only $58.00 round trip with this service.

 

Lucky for me, I didn’t have to drive, but we did stop a few times for gas.

Being a touristic place, Key West is full of expensive hotels and can get even worse if booked at the last minute. However, this can be avoided by doing the following:

 

  • Book during low peak season
  • Use Airbnb (I found prices as low as $80/night)
  • Use Tingo to get a price drop refund
  • Book a hostel (Cheaper than hotels)

 

I didn’t get the chance to do any of these and therefore ended up in a $180/night hotel. The total for 3 days and 2 nights was horrendous, but that’s the normal price of a hotel in Key West.

Aside from an expensive hotel, I had a lovely stay in Key West and even found a few good spots to enjoy some Key Lime Pie and frozen goods.

Ice Cream Key Lime Pie

It’s easy to walk around parts of Key West, but if you do need transportation and do not have a car with you, then try their public transportation. Depending on where you are going, a one day pass can cost anywhere from $4-$8.

There are other methods of traveling such as motor scooters, ferries and taxis. I wouldn’t recommend the taxis as they can get quite expensive.

While in Key West, I did a lot of activities. Mostly, out of the water, but I did get to see a lot of their landmarks.

San Carlos
San Carlos Institute

The San Carlos Institute was founded in 1871 by Cuban exiles. This became a historical landmark because it is considered to be the cradle of Cuba’s independence movement. When it was first founded, it was used as an educational and patriotic center.

 

STRAND
Strand Theater on Duval Street

The Strand Theater opened around the 1920’s. This theater could fit 800 people and became a popular place to watch movies. However, it went out of business in the late 80’s and was later bought by Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Around 2002, it was bought once again by Walgreens, who has kept most of the theater appearance intact.

 

Mallory Square
Mallory Square

Mallory Square is the center of Key West. A plaza full of shops, restaurants, museums and live entertainment.  This is a great place to walk around and even see the sunset celebration.

 

Sunset Celebration
Boat around Mallory Square

This is the area where the sunset celebration usually occurs. People gather together to watch the boats and the sunset as well as enjoy the live performers.

Performers
Mallory Square performers

This area is usually filled with people and performers for the sunset celebration.

 

Meson de Pepe
El Meson de Pepe

Around Mallory square, my friend and I were fortunate to find El Meson de Pepe, which is a Cuban restaurant. What makes this place stick out is the live music, the rustic look and the amazing decor inside.

 

Key West Museum
Key West Museum of Art & History

Completed in 1891, the Key West Museum of Art & History used to be a custom house and an old post office.  This historical landmark displays amazing statues such as the ballroom dancers shown above.

IMG_2603IMG_2522

Aside from the landmarks, I was also able to meet one of my travel goals. To make it to the end of US 1 – Mile Marker 0. Of course, I wasn’t on the official route U.S. 1 road trip, but its always neat to see the beginning and end of a major highway.

End of US 1

Key west has a variety of things to see and do. If you are looking for an ultimate adventure full of relaxation, snorkeling and summer fun, then you will definitely enjoy Key West.

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