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Old 02-09-2013, 09:23 AM   #1
MikeAndNick
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What to do in Key West Florida?

We have a cruise booked in December that stops in Key West Florida. It is me (52 year old Dad) and my son (16 year old) that will be on the cruise. We do everything from historical excursions to snorkeling and ATV excursions.

I know everyone is different, I was just hoping there are a few people that have been to Key West and can give some advice on what makes Key West different than all the other islands we have visited.
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:23 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by MikeAndNick View Post
We have a cruise booked in December that stops in Key West Florida. It is me (52 year old Dad) and my son (16 year old) that will be on the cruise. We do everything from historical excursions to snorkeling and ATV excursions.

I know everyone is different, I was just hoping there are a few people that have been to Key West and can give some advice on what makes Key West different than all the other islands we have visited.
We love Key West...been there several times with cruise stops and several times as a land based trip. Key West is only about 2 x 3 miles so very small. They offer all the usual water sports, there is the Mel Fisher Museum (treasure from his ship salvages), the lighthouse, the trolley around the island, Hemingway house, beautiful buildings.

What I like about Key West is that it has that laid back vibe like the islands but you are in the United States. There are plenty of shops and bars and some shops display some pretty offcolor things in their windows (so if that sort of thing bothers you heads up). Many eclectic type people walk around Key West. Art Galleries, Mallory Square has many street performers. chickens roam free (they have a Chicken Officer)....someone who makes sure the chickens are not bothered by the tourists or locals.

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Old 02-09-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
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I'm with MJ! Love love looooove Key West! We've been there twice on cruise excursions and I went there when I was really little on a dedicated trip. On the bucket list is Christmas in Key West (dedicated).

The only other place I've ever been that had such a unique vibe-all-its-own is New Orleans which is what we loved most about it. You're in the US yet it's like you aren't. Very eclectic and fun. Something for everyone.

If watersports are what appeals you can get with Fury Watersports online and book one of their tours. We were going to do a jet ski tour on our recent visit but the temps were just a little too low for us to be confident that we'd stay warm enough to enjoy it. They also do parasailing and other things.

We've rented an electric cart and pittered around the island both times we were there. That was fun. We got away from Duval Street and all the touristy stuff and cruised around some of the neighborhoods which I thought was fascinating. They definitely live differently there and in a very cool way!

Our first port call last May on Key West we actually did a private sea plane tour for my hubby's 40th birthday. It was amazing! We used Key West Seaplanes, not the other company that does the runs to/from the Dry Tortugas. We had Nikoli as our pilot and he was exceptional. I've since seen him doing a charter on a Travel Channel show and nearly fell out of my chair. LOL! Highly recommend. We got to/from the airport via our electric cart and had a grand adventure. I'd do it again anytime!

Most anything you could want will be in walking distance. Lots to see and do that's different from everyday. That's what I love best.

Try to get by one of the two Kermit's Key Lime locations to try the famous key lime pie slices on-a-stick. It's dipped in chocolate! So yummy! Saw these featured on the Food Network. Highly recommend also!

A friend and her hubby rented a convertible and drove across the famous 7 Mile Bridge and back. I think that definitely has future possibilities for us, too.

We've done pics in front of the Southernmost Point. We hope to make time for the Hemingway House in the future. We homeschool so before we went to Key West the first time last year I had my teenage boys read 'The Old Man & the Sea' followed by some group research/reading on the life & adventures of Ernest Hemingway. Fascinating man.

So many possibilities. Do some digging around the internet. Look for island history. There's so much to see and do. It really is a very rich, culture-all-its-own place...past and present. Personally, I can't get enough. If the cost of living there weren't so high.........
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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A friend and her hubby rented a convertible and drove across the famous 7 Mile Bridge and back. I think that definitely has future possibilities for us, too.
That is definitely a fun thing to do! Your port call has to be timed just right though, as the hours of Tropical Rental makes it a bit difficult if your visit is later in the day (they close at 5:00 p.m. - although you could rent a convertible at the airport as well...just a bit of a pain to get over there).

What we love about Key West are all the little museums. Our favorites are Truman's Little White House, Mel Fisher's Maritime Museum, and Hemingway's House. All are within walking distance from the pier!

There is so much to do in Key West, and it really is probably the best port to visit and not have to rely on a ship-sponsered excursion!
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:47 PM   #5
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That is definitely a fun thing to do! Your port call has to be timed just right though, as the hours of Tropical Rental makes it a bit difficult if your visit is later in the day (they close at 5:00 p.m. - although you could rent a convertible at the airport as well...just a bit of a pain to get over there).

What we love about Key West are all the little museums. Our favorites are Truman's Little White House, Mel Fisher's Maritime Museum, and Hemingway's House. All are within walking distance from the pier!

There is so much to do in Key West, and it really is probably the best port to visit and not have to rely on a ship-sponsered excursion!
Cindy!!! I knew you wouldn't be far behind!!! That's why I put that little tidbit about the convertible in there. It was an ode to YOU!

We just went back to Key West a few weeks ago on the Magic from right here in our own backyard. The trip last May was all afternoon. This time it was all morning (7:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.). Seeing the island when so much of it was still slumbering, the sunshine just peeking overhead...it was MAGICal! I'm so in love with Key West. It fits me. My whole life I felt like I was 2 steps left of "normal". An island just off the mainland of sorts. And then there's Key West which feels like it's ME. It's perfect in all it's colorful, not-ordinary glory.
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11/13 RCI Allure of the Seas

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Old 02-09-2013, 12:58 PM   #6
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This past November we went to WDW and then drove down to Key West. One thing that we really enjoyed was the Hemingway House tour. Another good thing to do is a trolley tour that way you can see the whole island. The one we did you could get on and off all day and kids were free.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:58 PM   #7
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Cindy!!! I knew you wouldn't be far behind!!! That's why I put that little tidbit about the convertible in there. It was an ode to YOU!

We just went back to Key West a few weeks ago on the Magic from right here in our own backyard. The trip last May was all afternoon. This time it was all morning (7:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.). Seeing the island when so much of it was still slumbering, the sunshine just peeking overhead...it was MAGICal! I'm so in love with Key West. It fits me. My whole life I felt like I was 2 steps left of "normal". An island just off the mainland of sorts. And then there's Key West which feels like it's ME. It's perfect in all it's colorful, not-ordinary glory.
Hi!!!

Yep, Key West is for those of us who don't quite fit into normal life! I think that's what makes it such a great port call...it really is like no other place in the States. And maybe even a bit unexpected to some. I miss visiting on a regular basis, which was a treat while living in Miami. So glad you were able to take advantage of the Galveston sailings before DCL drops them (such a shame).

Colorful...that is another thing that makes Key West a great place to visit. You can just stroll around (or like you guys did...rent an electric car) and see the quaintness of the island. Like we have been saying, so much to do there!
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:01 PM   #8
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Try to get by one of the two Kermit's Key Lime locations to try the famous key lime pie slices on-a-stick. It's dipped in chocolate! So yummy! Saw these featured on the Food Network. Highly recommend also!

A friend and her hubby rented a convertible and drove across the famous 7 Mile Bridge and back. I think that definitely has future possibilities for us, too.
When we were there in Nov we went to Kermit's and Kermit himself was standing outside greeting everyone

The drive to Key West is SO MUCH fun! It just takes some time. It took us 2 hours and 45 minutes to get through all the Keys. Lots of 2 lane roads and slow speed limits. But well worth it. We had the best time on the drive down to Key West.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:12 PM   #9
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When we were there in Nov we went to Kermit's and Kermit himself was standing outside greeting everyone

The drive to Key West is SO MUCH fun! It just takes some time. It took us 2 hours and 45 minutes to get through all the Keys. Lots of 2 lane roads and slow speed limits. But well worth it. We had the best time on the drive down to Key West.
I'm so ready to get in the car and start driving!!! Seriously, road trip to Key West and Key West for Christmas is going to happen someday if it kills me.



Um, for any gals out there who might read this...I did have a huge guilty pleasure on our recent visit to KW. I shopped at the Lilly Pulitzer store. And I bought stuff. Huuuuuge guilty pleasure for someone who pinches pennies so obsessively but had to put that out there. If the gals want to treat themselves or the men want to treat their gals, stop in at the Lilly boutique. Now my vacation thrills will go on and on and on each time I wear my treasures.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:43 PM   #10
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I'm so ready to get in the car and start driving!!! Seriously, road trip to Key West and Key West for Christmas is going to happen someday if it kills me.
When you take your road trip be sure to stop by Robbie's in Islamadora and feed the tarpoon. Then stop by No Name Key and eat at No Name Pub. That is the most unique place!! You will also get to see the Key deer on Big Pine Key. And go by Bahia Honda...Beautiful!!!

I am not sure we will do that road trip again. It was a LONG drive for us. Going down wasn't bad because we broke it up with a WDW trip but on the way home we did it all in one day...14 hours. I am so glad we did it. Great memories
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:11 PM   #11
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Mel Fisher museum is really interesting and Abaco Gold has unique jewelry.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:33 PM   #12
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You guys are great. Before the post I was not excited about Key West and was thinking about just staying on the ship. Now I have to start planning to get the most out of our stop. We are definitely doing the foot and/or electric cart and see everything. The two things that sounded as must for me is the key lime pie slices on-a-stick and Hemingway museum. Then I will have my son look at this post and explore the net and let him add to the list.

Now, I have to go to the store and get things to make a key lime pie...I should not have read this post
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:50 PM   #13
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I'm with MJ! Love love looooove Key West! We've been there twice on cruise excursions and I went there when I was really little on a dedicated trip. On the bucket list is Christmas in Key West (dedicated).

The only other place I've ever been that had such a unique vibe-all-its-own is New Orleans which is what we loved most about it. You're in the US yet it's like you aren't. Very eclectic and fun. Something for everyone.

If watersports are what appeals you can get with Fury Watersports online and book one of their tours. We were going to do a jet ski tour on our recent visit but the temps were just a little too low for us to be confident that we'd stay warm enough to enjoy it. They also do parasailing and other things.

We've rented an electric cart and pittered around the island both times we were there. That was fun. We got away from Duval Street and all the touristy stuff and cruised around some of the neighborhoods which I thought was fascinating. They definitely live differently there and in a very cool way!

Our first port call last May on Key West we actually did a private sea plane tour for my hubby's 40th birthday. It was amazing! We used Key West Seaplanes, not the other company that does the runs to/from the Dry Tortugas. We had Nikoli as our pilot and he was exceptional. I've since seen him doing a charter on a Travel Channel show and nearly fell out of my chair. LOL! Highly recommend. We got to/from the airport via our electric cart and had a grand adventure. I'd do it again anytime!

Most anything you could want will be in walking distance. Lots to see and do that's different from everyday. That's what I love best.

Try to get by one of the two Kermit's Key Lime locations to try the famous key lime pie slices on-a-stick. It's dipped in chocolate! So yummy! Saw these featured on the Food Network. Highly recommend also!

A friend and her hubby rented a convertible and drove across the famous 7 Mile Bridge and back. I think that definitely has future possibilities for us, too.

We've done pics in front of the Southernmost Point. We hope to make time for the Hemingway House in the future. We homeschool so before we went to Key West the first time last year I had my teenage boys read 'The Old Man & the Sea' followed by some group research/reading on the life & adventures of Ernest Hemingway. Fascinating man.

So many possibilities. Do some digging around the internet. Look for island history. There's so much to see and do. It really is a very rich, culture-all-its-own place...past and present. Personally, I can't get enough. If the cost of living there weren't so high.........
Where do you rent an electric cart? Is it like a golf cart? It's ok to drive on city streets with them? Sounds like fun!
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:09 PM   #14
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Hello from beautiful Key West!!
Yes,I live here and only a couple of minutes from the dock (in Truman Annex). Just today DH & I heard the Disney horn. It's great to hear that!!! Once,many years ago,when we stopped in KW, I timed the deivery of patio furnture to arrive when we did. DH & I got off the ship,unpacked and put together the furniture and got back on the ship. We had the most boring shore story to tell at dinner out of the whole table.
I would STRONGLY recommend taking a Conch Train tour first thing off the ship. Walk through the Mallory Square shops to the front & you can pick up the tour right there. It'll take about an hour, but you'll get a great overview of Old Town and some of the history of the city, of which there is alot.
Trumans Little White House(where the President vacationed while in office),the Hemingway House,Lighthouse, are all within walking distance. If you really want to feel like you're in the caribbean,rent a bike,scooter or electric car & tool over to Fort Zachaey Taylor State Park,which is also near the dock. You went past it on your way into KW. It was the beach with the pine trees. The Gulf & Atlantic meet there,so the water is always clean. It's also the beautiful blue/green color that caribbean water is known for. Bring water shoes, as there is alot of keystone(type of limestone) strewn about. Yopu'll see pelicans and there are tropical fish hanging out by the rocks,so snorkeling is nice there too.Also don't forget sunscreen-this climate is sub-tropical,so 15 minutes in the sun can cause some major sunburn. But there are picnic tables under the trees and umbrellas and chaises can be rented. There is also a concession stand that sells good sandwiches and frozen key lime pie on a stick. There is a civil war fort there also that's interesting to walk around. Eat lunch at Schooner Wharf (at the Bight,marina), at the end of Greene St,which starts at the corner where the Mel Fisher Museum is, in front of the Custom House,the big red building. You'll get a feeling for Old KW in the area of the Bight (pronounced BITE). Believe it or not,the cemetery is a huge tourist attraction. There is an area showing respect to Cuban Immigrants, who were prominent in KW history,as well as an area where some of the sailors are buried who died in the explosion of the USS Maine. There are interesting headstones,such as the woman who was always a tad overly concerned about her health-her headstone says "I Told You I Was Sick!"
If you have time to head to New Town,in front of the airport is the East Martello Museum which not only houses a great historical overview of KW(once the richest city in the country due to wrecking), but you'll get to meet Robert, the "enchanted" doll (sounds better than saying haunted). Just ask Roberts' permission to take his picture or you'll end up with an "exposure issue". Robert is sensitive...........

Walk all the way down Duval & you'll see terrific art galleries with items you won't see anywhere else. Both you and your son will truly enjoy the sculptures/paintings,etc. Take pictures, as you might not be able to describe some of the art,it's that different (who knew frogs could be so funny!)! I guarantee you won't see Rupert the Ostrich anywhere else, either(he has his own gallery).

Definitely go to Mallory Square for Sunset. The performers and local artists are now"juried", having to meet certain standards,so the "shows" are interesting and craftspeople talented. Not like back in the day when it was all about whoever showed up & did whatever they pleased-it's much more civilized now so it will appeal to a broader range of tourists-it lost some of the original character,but the sunsets are still as beautiful as ever. Grab dinner at the top deck of the Westin about an hour before sunset, to grab a good seat.
Depending on how long you'll be docked,you can actually get in alot!!
Try the Key Lime Pie from each company/person who sells it. Everyone has a different recipe and it's interesting to experience how the taste varies.
Have a wonderful time!!!!!
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:26 PM   #15
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Just pushed our drive south a bit more and stopped for the night in PC. Tomorrow we head to Miami and will go all the way to key west. Then back to Miami for our cruise on Monday.
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