Key West, FL
*This was originally posted on January 20, 2017
DAY 1: Monday, January 9 - Travel Day
So we got an insanely good deal on airline tickets to Fort Lauderdale. Like $80 round trip each. But it meant that we were going to have a really long day of travel to get from Fort Lauderdale to the Keys. We flew from New Orleans to Fort Lauderdale, missed our shuttle by FIVE minutes so we had to wait for the next one to arrive a couple of hours later. It ended up working out fine because we met a couple leaving Key West that suggested a really great happy hour spot. We got on our shuttle sometime around 2:00 and arrived in Key West around 7:00.
We camped at Boyd's Campground on Stock Island which was awesome! However, I am totally biased because Andy is friends with the family who owns the campground - they're incredibly sweet and were so helpful while we stayed in Key West. We got dinner with them at Hogfish Bar & Grill which seems to be the most popular restaurant in the area.
*If we go back to the Keys we're considering flying into Fort Meyers and then taking the ferry that runs to Key West.
DAY 2: Tuesday, January 10 - Our first full day in Key West we did literally everything on our list for the week and then some (with the exception of Dry Tortugas). When I say Key West is tiny I mean it is TINY.
We started the day with breakfast on Stock Island at Dolphin Deli which was super close to the campground. After that we picked up bikes for the week at We Cycle - it was only $10 a day for a beach cruiser which was the best deal we could find online. We biked along the south side of the island on Roosevelt to get to downtown and ended up casually finding things we wanted to see.
We biked further down South Roosevelt to find West Martello Tower. It's free to roam around the beautiful gardens.
Next we biked to Whitehead Street and went to the Key West Lighthouse ($10 admission). There is a small museum but the fun part is going up the lighthouse and getting a 360 view of the city.
Then we biked to the Fort Zachary State Park and spent time at the beach there. If I remember right it was $2.50 each to get in walking or biking. For whatever reason we never actually went to the Fort in the State Park but I've heard it was really nice!
After hanging out at the beach we biked back to Whitehead street to check out the Hemingway House. It was $14 admission - cash only with no ATM nearby so be prepared if you go. I wish I would have gone on the tour of the house but instead we just wandered around the property and pet the six-toed cats.
We biked around Mallory Square and one of the art museums where they were installing a new sculpture in the front of the building!
We went to the Boat House for their Happy Hour which runs from 4:30-6:30 to fill up on half priced appetizers and drinks. It was AWESOME. Easily my favorite place we got food in Key West.
We were pretty excited to find out that you can get your drinks in to-go cups and have an open container while you walk around the city. After that we met some friends at the Brewery for more happy hour specials. Then walked around Duval to check it out. Biked back to the campground and called it a day!
DAY 3: Wednesday, January 11 - Relax Day
We wore ourselves out the first day in Key West so the second day we slept in and then started the day off with a late breakfast at Cuban Coffee Queen. They have two locations but we went to the one on Margaret Street next to the docks - it has this awesome mural on the side of the building. I also really liked the gift shop next door - it was super touristy but they had a cute map of Key West postcard and this sea sponge monster in the front that I didn't take a picture of.
Anyway, it's really just a food truck so there's only benches and not a table to sit and eat. So we walked to the dock and ate our breakfast sandwiches and drank our cafe con leches while looking at the fishes.
We liked the State Park we visited the day before so much that we decided to go back but this time with our hammock! I don't know why I didn't own one of these sooner. They are seriously the most cozy amazing thing ever. We spent most of the day napping here.
It was also at this park that I realized I haven't been wearing sunscreen since we started the trip and I could feel a sunburn coming on. They had some at the gift shop but like everywhere in Key West it was expensive and I wish I would have bought it ahead of time at a grocery store.
After spending the majority of the day lazying around we needed some coffee and a place to charge our phones. We went to Key West Cuban Coffee on Truman Avenue. It felt like a total hole in the wall place. I opened the door marked restroom and it was a laundry mat. But they made a damn good coffee and I would totally go back.
We really didn't feel like biking anymore so instead we decided to walk around Duval and check out some of the shops during the daytime. Most of the shops on the island are all filled with tourist junk that have either "Key West" or "Southernmost Point" slapped on all their merchandise. But, there was two shops that were super cute that I liked: Tucker's Provisions and The Little Red.
We stumbled upon the post office somewhere off Duval. It was super cute to see everyone sitting outside writing letters and postcards to send back home!
We ended the day by checking out sunset at Mallory Square. It's basically like a circus every night. You can see street performers and vendors set up selling their goods for all the tourists who flock here to watch the sunset every night. My favorite was the crazy French man and his cats. I can't even describe his weirdness you just have to see it for yourself.
DAY 4: Thursday, January 12 - Dry Tortugas National Park
So there are basically two ways to get here: sea plane or a ferry. We took the ferry which was the cheaper option at $170 each. They do feed you breakfast and lunch and they have snacks available for you to purchase on the way back. Me and Andy both took dramamine, the motion sickness medicine, on the ride there and back which was like $1 at the ferry terminal. The ride out is about 2.5 hours so we pretty much napped the whole time. It did get really rocky on the way back - like they started handing out puke bags kind of rocky.
The island is incredibly beautiful. I didn't realize before hand but you can camp there and it's only $6 bucks a night. I think it would be cool to do for a night maybe two but after that I think I would get a little restless being somewhere that remote.
There is a lot to explore on the island. You can go almost everywhere around the Fort except for one portion where the Park Rangers live. There is a guided tour and also a walking tour that you can download on your phone. We did neither and just wandered around on our own. You can also snorkel with gear that the ferry boat provides for you. The water is crystal clear and super cold.
DAY 5: Friday, January 13 - SUPER lazy day & Andy's B-day!
By Friday our butts wore sore from riding roughly 15 miles on the bike everyday and we were so drained from spending everyday all day in the sun. This was our super duper lazy day. We spent the whole day at the campground and ventured out a couple of times to grab something to eat at restaurants nearby.
Our friends were sweet enough to take us out on their boat that night for Andy's birthday to see the sunset!
DAY 6: Saturday, January 14 - The last day
We started our last day bright and early to return our bike rentals before the bike shop opened at 9:00. From there we walked along North Roosevelt to get breakfast and then to pick up our rental car. Once we had a vehicle we were so happy that we chose to ride bikes most of our trip. In a car you can get everywhere on a small island pretty quickly so you don't really get to take in all of the scenery along the way like you do on a bike.
Our first stop of the day was at the Botanical Gardens. I can't remember the admission - it might have been somewhere around $10-$13 each. It was a really pleasant walk around. My favorite was the Cuban palms.
Next on the list was to grab food from Garbo's Grill. I read about them in a blog when I was researching our trip and their tacos looked amazing. They were a little hard to find even with their address in hand. They are a food truck located behind a bar so you definitely don't notice it from the street. We grabbed the tacos to go so that we could eat them at Smathers beach in our hammock.
We ended the day by meeting one of Andy's friends from the Navy at the Seafood Festival going on at Bayview Park - the park was really nice but the festival itself was pretty small and didn't really have that much going on.
DAY 7: Sunday, January 15 - The Long Drive
Our very last stop in the Keys was to grab coffee at Baby's! My sister had been to the Keys and loved their coffee so I knew I had to make a pit stop here. Their coffee is pricey but so is everything in the Florida Keys.
The drive really wasn't bad for us and we left with plenty of time to make it to the airport but I've heard that the traffic in Miami can get crazy.
We had brunch in Fort Lauderdale next to the airport at Foxy Brown which was soooo good. We split doughnut holes, chicken and waffles, and a side of potato cakes. All of which was delicious.
That's all! We managed not to lose our minds spending a week in a tent together.