Your Top 10 Key West Florida Guide

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Ever have a passion for beach music, deep sea fishing, and a toes-in-the-sand-drink-in-my-hand? A fitting destination to match this is Key West in southern Florida.  We spent about a week there recently and here’s my fun recap of 10 things I loved about the island.

1. Key Lime Pie

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I tried all kinds of key lime things–chocolate dipped ice cream pies, key lime cocktails, key lime crepes, key lime cheesecake–but my favorite was the original key lime pie from the Six-Toed Cat cafe.  Hint: I asked local shop owners where the best pie on the island was, and this is where we were directed.  I couldn’t have agreed more!

2. The Conch Train

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I always make a point of jumping on a tour when visiting a new place.  Key West’s tour de force is the Conch Train, a guided trolly tour that takes you all around the island, sharing bits of history, trivia, and insider’s knowledge along the way (how much do you love garbage cans used only for coconuts?!)  Bonus: with the temperature situated around 80 degrees, the open-air trolly provided a breezy and comfortable alternative to walking!

3. The Hemingway House

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The famed writer Ernest Hemingway spent many years on the island, nestled in his writing studio (pictured above) every morning at 6 am, hitting 700 words or lunch, whichever came first.  A visit to the house comes with a guided tour, featuring lots of anecdotes on the writer’s life, and many wives, too!  You also get plenty of opportunities to pet descendants of his original 6 toe cats.  And yes, the offspring got the 6 toe gene, too!

4. Sidewalk Poets

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Outside the Hemingway House sits local poets, who you can hire (at whatever donation you choose!) to compose a poem for you or a loved one on any topic you choose.  Such a cool concept (and the poet was REALLY good–I had her write a love poem to the hubs back in NYC, which is now framed in our living room!), and makes for a much more interesting souvenir than say, a Key West shot glass.

5. Cuban Coffee

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We started each day with the stuff that fuels the locals: Cuban coffee.  It’s all over the island, but my very favorite place to get it was 5 Brothers.  Get yourself a small coffee and egg and cheese sandwich, and you’ll be set for a full afternoon of lounging on the beach…or anything else that may come your way.

 

6. The Southernmost Point

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When in Paris, Eiffel Tower.  When in NYC, Empire State Building.  And when in Key West–the Southernmost Point Buoy!  This is the spot that marks as far south as you can go in the continental states (well, that tourists are actually allowed to visit–the true southernmost point is on a restricted naval base!)  There’s even a live streaming webcam that shows the incredible line of people waiting to take their photo by the buoy!

7. Smathers Beach

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Unlike the Hamptons where a day pass on the beach can easily set you back $50, this gorgeous beach in Key West is absolutely free to the public.  Plenty of sun, and palm trees, as well, to enjoy a full day of swimming, reading, and napping.

8. Live Music, Everywhere

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You couldn’t walk down a main street in Key West without hearing bands and musicians playing–Duval Street being the most famous (complete with its own webcam, too!)  I really dug Sloppy Joes, but I promise, just follow the music and there’s no way to go wrong.

9. The Cutest Houses You Ever Did See

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Entire afternoons can be spent strolling up and down the residential streets in Key West, taking in the adorable gingerbread-like houses, complete with brightly painted shutters and orchids growing everywhere.  Rent a bike for an afternoon and take it all in!

10. Little White House

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President Truman first started using this “little white house” as his winter retreat back in 1946, and today it’s been restored to its original glory (read: exactly how it looked when Truman was using it, so cool!), and opened as a museum to tourists and locals.

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Have you ever been to Key West?  What were your favorite things?

A very special thank you to the wonderful folks at Historic Tours of America!

Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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3 Responses to Your Top 10 Key West Florida Guide

  1. Stephen Garone May 16, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    Spot on with the key lime pie! The beach at Fort Zachary Taylor’s really nice, too. And the butterfly experience near the Southernmost Point is always fun.

  2. PetTalkNews May 20, 2015 at 5:15 am #

    I LOVE Key West and been many times but I’ve somehow missed the Key Lime Pie on a stick. Thanks for that info!

  3. Travel/Food/Events May 20, 2015 at 6:25 am #

    Thanks PetDogNews & Stephen – we love southern Florida!!

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