A list of Key West recommendations for the various travelers in all of us.
Traveling with my three girlfriends to Key West was an adventure in and of itself, but with all of our varying personalities, I worried that it would be hard to please everyone. But that’s the fun thing about travel is how it can be customized to every type of person. We have the adventurer, the party girl, the beach babe, and the foodie. We knew we would have to come up with an epic itinerary that kept everyone pleased. Below are four different travel personalities that Key West caters to.
Regardless of what type of traveler you are, I would recommend that every visitor to Key West rent a bike. You’ll be the fastest thing on two wheels, able to easily cycle the roads around popular Duval Street. My girlfriends and I were able to cycle from our hotel to the southernmost point, and then all the way across town to make our snorkel and sail adventure by the pier. Bicycle shops are littered around town and most hotels offer bike rentals to their guests. It shouldn’t cost you more than $25 for a day rental.
Speaking of water activities, intrepid souls will love Key West’s Ultimate Adventure. This six-hour water sports tour thrills its guests with a catamaran ride, snorkel experience, and all-you-can-eat picnic. But wait, there’s more. Afterward, kayaks, jet skis, sunbathing, and parasailing are all up for grabs. Bring your bathing suit, sun block, and little else, since beer, wine, meals, and snorkel gear is all included.
Duval Street is made for the party animal in all of us. While there are eclectic bars on every corner, I suggest straying off-the-beaten-path and trying something a little new. If the Florida humidity has you wanting to rip off your suffocating clothes, head to the Garden of Eden bar located on the rooftop deck of the Bull and Whistle. Clothing is optional at this risque watering hole, though truth be told, the majority of patrons in their birthday suits aren’t exactly pin-ups. While it’s no Playboy Mansion, it’s sure to drop a few jaws and offer an experience you won’t soon forget.
Viewfinder Tip: One thing you can’t whip out at the Garden of Eden is your camera. The attentive bouncers will make sure that no incriminating photos will be taken.
The best way to get a feel for a place is to explore. Jump around Duval and duck into any place that catches your eye. With the wide range of watering holes, there’s sure to be one to please everyone in the group.
Sand lovers won’t have any trouble finding a warm spot to sun those buns. Fort Zachary Taylor Beach is perfect for a relaxing afternoon spent under the rays of the sun or working off those key lime pies in the water. There’s a small admission fee depending on whether you’re coming in on foot, on a bicycle, or in a car. Pack a picnic lunch, kick back, and hang out with the gang. Also of note is nearby Higgs Beach.
Key lime pie and Key West are synonymous with one another. Sure, this tangy dessert can be found alongside popular Duval Street and in many different forms (frozen, on a stick, or for the purist in all of us, chilled on a plate), but there are two spots that have been named the key lime pie masters. Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shop and the Key Lime Pie Factory are the two local haunts that have its visitors screaming for more. Try a slice at Kermit’s on your first day, let your taste buds recover overnight, and then head to the Key Lime Pie Factory for another shot at taste bud euphoria. Die-hard key lime pie fans are split between the two. Which side will you choose?
But Key West is home to so much more than its famed key lime pie. For a meal that’s not comprised solely of dessert, check out Caribbean food spot, Paseo. While the dining might be casual, the food is dressed to the nines in flavor and spice. The Cuban pork sandwiches reign supreme and the perfectly grilled corn on the cob will have your mouth watering for more. Healthy eaters can find a variety of delicious menu items, including gluten-free entrees. The best advice I can give you is to try Paseo on your first day in Key West. If not, you’ll be sad that you can’t go back for seconds before you leave.
Key West is the perfect spot to please every type of traveler. Relax in the sun, indulge at the local foodie haunts, snorkel in the crystal waters, and make a night to remember at the bars on Duval street.
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Chris and Tawny have had articles and videos published on USA TODAY TRAVEL, BBC Travel, Matador Network, as well as appeared as guest stars on TLC Asia's Fun Taiwan television series. When not on the road, you can find Chris and Tawny nestled in their home in Tacoma, Washington fueling up on coffee and cat cuddles while planning their future adventures. You can follow their travels on their blog, Instagram, and YouTube