Key West is about as far south as you can get without a passport. We went for the sun and stayed for the Key Lime Pie.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at 24 North, so named for the latitude of the island. It was a little far from all the downtown action, but there was a shuttle that ran every hour during the day and every half hour at night. Our room had an ocean view, but there was a fairly busy road between us and the water. The pool was nice, if not a little small.
My biggest complaint is with the towels. When we arrived our room had two towels for four people. We asked for more and they brought them to us after about twenty minutes. The next day, they didn’t come to clean our room, meaning there were no clean towels. So we had to ask them to bring us towels again. And on our last day there, they left us with two towels again.
A Starbucks, a food truck, and a pool bar were on the hotel property, which was nice since there weren’t any other food options near by.
Where We Went
The Ernest Hemingway House
Our first day on the island we went to the Hemingway House. It was a beach to find parking near it, so I would recommend getting there by other means if at all possible.
It was $10 for adults, but they had a $6 Spring Break Special for students.
When you enter the house, they give you the option to explore on your own or to wait a few minutes for a guided tour. We opted to wait. I always find tour guides and more knowledgeable and interesting than the info cards. I remember the little tidbits they incorporate, but I don’t often remember the stuff I read. The swimming pool story was my favorite. Rusty, our tour guide, was also able to tell us the names of all the six-toed cats around the property.
Lazy Dog Rentals
We rented kayaks to hang out in the mangrove trees for the morning. The rental was for four hours, but we only ended up using them for about an hour and a half. The trees created a bit of a noise barrier and made it feel like we were in our own world.
Avenue Q at Waterfront Theater
My dad has a way with people that stems from a disregard for social conventions. In this case, the norm that in order to see a play, there must be a scheduled performance to which you buy tickets. So, he walked into a theatre the night before they opened and asked if they were doing a dress rehearsal. They were, but just for friends and family. He asked if anyone in the cast needed a friend. The director gave in and said that we could watch. It was a good show: high quality puppetry and signing.
The musical begins with a question: What do you do with a BA in English? Well, for starters, you write a travel blog.
Where We Ate
Cuban Coffee Queen
I saw this place all over pinterest when doing my Key West research. I had the ice coffee with vanilla and a Cuban bagel. The coffee was fantastic. The ice cubes were made of coffee so it didn’t water down in the sun. The bagel is not something I ever need to eat again. Essentially, it was a cream cheese sandwich covered in honey with everything bagel sprinkles.
Blind Pig Food Truck
This food truck is permanently parked outside our hotel. We had breakfast one morning before heading out to go kayaking. My goat cheese omelette hit the spot. It was super convenient and not crowded.
At our first attempt at Blue Heaven, we decided we were too hungry for the hour long wait, so we went across the street. I had the house speciality: a buckwheat galettes with avocado and goat cheese. It was surprisingly delicious (the word buckwheat made me suspicious).
Another pinterest pick. There was about an hour long wait for a table, but they text you when your table is ready so we were able to walk around during the wait. I had banana pancakes. Delicious.
Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen
We ate at Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen on the way from the Fort Lauderdale airport to Key West. I started looking at yelp as soon as we got in the car, but we didn’t want to eat until at least Key Largo. Mrs. Mac’s is right on highway 1, so it was the most convenient and the highest rated on yelp. I had coconut shrimp and key lime pie. Both were great. The pie was a little frozen in the middle: a perfect midday treat.
This was right on the water in Mallory Square which made it prime retail at about 7:41pm. We got there earlier than that to take a table and reserve our view of the famed sunset. I had shrimp and lobster fettuccine. Turns out I prefer shrimp to lobster. We also shared the Mississippi Mud Pie. The only bad thing about Key Lime Pie is the lack of chocolate dessert options.
I was shocked that this place was practically empty. It is in the original administrative building for PanAm International. We sat outside in the courtyard. The fish tacos were great and the perfect size after some appetizers earlier in the night.
El Meson De Pepe
We went here before we saw Avenue Q. They didn’t have very many vegetarian options (I’m not vegetarian but my sister is). I had the Ropa Vieja, shredded skirt steak, which was okay. I really enjoyed the plantains though, and the roaming chickens.
Where They Drank
Hemingway’s old haunt and now a Key West staple. We had some nachos before heading over to see the sunset in Mallory Square. They had live music which was nice, but too loud to try and eat a meal there.
We had some Key Lime Pie. The atmosphere was less than special. I wouldn’t recommend bothering. Again, live music was a nice benefit. They weren’t playing Jimmy Buffet though which felt like a wasted opportunity. Read the room, guys!
Located between Sloppy Joe’s and Irish Kevin’s, I didn’t eat or drink anything here, but we did listen to the live music. Every song they played was sung along to by the crowd. This was by far my favorite live music experience in Key West. They would add rap verses to the songs and play mashups, which kept it interesting.
What We Saw
There was a bit of a line when we went around midday, so I would recommend going earlier.
He was just chilling in that tunnel you can see in the bottom left corner. At first, I thought it was a fake since it wasn’t moving. Fun Fact: Manatees come up to breathe every 3-4 minutes.
Do you have any Key West tips? What’s your favorite Spring Break Destination?