Hey everyone! I had the pleasure of getting a much needed break from school at the end of April to go to Key West AKA the southernmost point of the continental US. I thought I would share with you all that my boyfriend Joe and I managed to get done in just one day, as well as some tips for getting the most out of your trip.
Unless you plan on going through the Keys and stopping other places, take the Key West Express! It leaves from Fort Myers as well as Marco Island. Tickets go for about $155 round trip but are $125 roundtrip if you go midweek.
However, many people wait to purchase their tickets during their Holiday Voucher sale, where you can get the tickets for $99. These tickets have no black out dates and are good for the entire next year!
From Ft. Myers to Key West was about a 4 hour ride. We left at 8AM and got there around 12PM. Then the next day, from Key West to Ft. Myers was about a 4.5 hour ride. We left at 5PM and got there around 9:30PM.
Bike instead of walking or driving. Driving a car would be very annoying since everything is so close, you would constantly be getting in your car and moving it. Parking is not cheap and there are not a lot of spots available. However, walking would be really tough on your feet and a waste of time if you only have one day. This is why I would definitely recommend renting a bike! We asked our guesthouse about rentals and the owner rented us bikes for $12 each, which was about $8 cheaper than the other places I had looked at. Key West is only about 6 square miles of land and I never had to bike more than a mile and a half to go anywhere.
Wear sunscreen! Even if you are only there for a day like us. I haven’t been this burnt since I spent all day at a music festival with a tank top a few years ago. I peeled so bad for days and now have an ugly tan on my shoulders. Please wear sunscreen and reapply it!
Travel in May! The weather is much cooler than it will be the next month and the tourist season has died down so there isn’t as many people around and hotels/bungalows will be cheaper.
Since we didn’t start our “first day” until 12 and had to end our “second day” around 3, I’m counting our trip as one full day in Key West. I will be splitting it into what we did in two days though!
We started off by walking from the Key West Express to Garbo’s Grill Food Truck. We got the cayo style yum yum shrimp tacos and they were so good. I also got a Boylan Bottling Co. black cherry pop to go with it. For two tacos and a pop it came out to around $13!
Next we went and checked into our guesthouse. We stayed at Angelina Guest House and I would highly recommend it! They had cheap bike rentals, fresh cinnamon rolls in the morning, a warm and nice pool in the back, great location, not to mention a cute and friendly house cat! They even let us store our bags there past check out on our second day so we could enjoy our time before having to go to the boat. Our room had a full size bed and we shared a bathroom and since we came in May, one night was about $114. Joe and I became close friend with the house cat.
Then we went and got a photo with the iconic Mile 0 sign. It’s one of those touristy things that you just have to do.
After that we headed over to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. It was only $5 for the two of us to go in since we biked there. I would recommend biking or walking because parking can be $7+ if you have more than two people in the car. We took the bike path and found a hidden beach area. From there, we checked out the actual fort. There’s a lot of iguanas running around over there. If you’re into history, they have a lot of info (personally I didn’t read anything). Then we went to the beach! This is the only natural beach in Key West. The other beaches are man made. The water is stunning and I would definitely recommend taking a few hours to go here.
Once we were done there, we headed home to clean up and then we went to Duval Street and ate at the famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar. We got the original sloppy joe sandwich and the sloppy joe fries. With tip it came to about $25 and we were so stuffed. We didn’t even finish everything.
After that, we went to the Smallest Bar in Key West. Literally. It’s about the size of a jail cell. I got a cute pineapple drink. It was $18 + $2 tip. #noragrets tho amiright. I was on vacation and it made for a good Instagram photo. I’m over it. I couldn’t tell ya what was in the actual drink but it wasn’t strong!
Since we finally had room for dessert, we went to Kermit’s Key Lime. Lots of people told me different places had the “best” Key Lime, but I went with Kermit’s because their’s was also dipped in chocolate. We tried one normal and one chocolate dipped and both were really good. I think each slice was around $3. They also sell a ton of key lime items there so it’s perfect for finding a unique gift for someone back home.
It was sunset so we headed over to Mallory Square. We went there for two reasons. One, the sunset is gorgeous, especially with the sail boats going past. Two, there are a ton of different street performers and there are a lot of really great acts. Two I would recommend that I watched were Dominique and his Flying House Cats and The Red Trouser Show. There are a lot of different food and drink vendors around there as well.
Since it was pretty dark, we decided to head home and call it a night.
We started our day around 8 or 9 and tried to get some of the iconic tourist attractions done with. First, we went to the Southernmost Point. I would recommend going early in the morning because the line is a lot shorter. Then, we went and saw the Key West Lighthouse. We didn’t pay to go into the museum next to it though.
We went to Pepe’s for breakfast but didn’t end up staying there. We headed across the street to the Cuban Coffee Queen and got some amazing coffee. They also have a super cute Key West postcard mural on the side of their building. While there, make sure to take a picture of the sign posts with the different locations. We didn’t see the other one that is located at Fort Zachary. Then we went to Blue Heaven but we didn’t end up eating there either (we’re cheap haha). It was around lunch by them so we went to Duetto Pizza and Gelato. We each got two huge slices of pizza and a drink for around $8.
Joe and I are a little weird. So, we decided to go check out the Key West cemetery. Being from Minnesota, I haven’t seen a whole lot of above ground graves and I gotta say, it was weird. We tried to hunt down the iconic “I told you I was sick” gravestone and found it. Directly above it there is another one that says, “I’m just resting my eyes”. We spent almost an hour here walking around.
We cured our sadness from the cemetery by going to Glazed Donuts and getting a glazed donut, of course. Also cold brew, because who would I be if I didn’t get coffee.
We parked our bikes and decided to be classic tourists and walk on Duval Street. To sum up Duval: tourist shops, boutiques, ice cream, food, big name brand stores. We walked far enough to see the rainbow sidewalk and then we walked back. Before calling it quits for the day, I got some awesome s’mores ice cream from Kilwins.
And just like that, our time in Key West came to an end. We grabbed some snacks and headed over to get back on the Key West Express. I had a great time in Key West and I feel like one day was the perfect amount of time to spend there. I would highly recommend a trip to Key West if you want a quick vacation! After all, “The lower the latitude, the better the attitude”.
Places I didn’t go to but were recommended to me:
Caroline’s Cafe (get the fish sandwhich or conch fritters)
Better than Sex Dessert Shop
Half Shell Raw Bar
Camille’s Cafe (go for breakfast)