When you’ve only got one weekend in Key West, there’s a lot to cram into 48 hours. From luxury accommodations to fine dining and exciting excursions, Key West has something for everyone. Because it’s so easy to get to, Key West truly puts paradise within reach. Here’s a brief overview of all the lodging, activities, and dining choices you have to get you started with planning the perfect tropical vacation in nearby Florida.
Some people prefer to spend their time and money on experiences while others truly relish a great hotel stay. For those people, booking a room at one of Key West’s luxurious hotels ensures a great trip. The Marker Waterfront Resort, Pier House Resort and Spa, and Santa Maria Suites Hotel offer upscale accommodations and attentive service. DoubleTree by Hilton has a full-service resort in Key West, as does Hyatt, Waldorf Astoria, and Marriott; or book a local resort like 24 North Hotel. For a smaller and more cozy experience, book a bed and breakfast at Avalon, the Truman Hotel, The Southernmost Inn, or Island City House Hotel. They generally have secluded courtyards, private pools, and sumptuous breakfasts for their guests. Other common amenities at local hotels include happy hours and bicycle rentals.
Things to Do
Visit the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden for a wonderland-like walk through the only garden of its type in the continental U.S. Explore specimen trees, flowers, and shrubs while getting to see native birds in action. The wooden pathways reach through groves of trees, putting you right in the middle of the action. For history buffs, a visit to former President Harry S. Truman’s Little White House or American literary legend Ernest Hemingway can deliver an exciting and informative afternoon. Artifacts, stories, and a you-are-there feeling standing in the places each of these giants once called home are thrilling.
Explore the shops and boutiques along Duval Street and Mallory Square. From artworks to glassworks, pottery, clothing, antiques, sweets, and more, there are numerous places to stop and window shop or select souvenirs for the folks at home. Many stores will even pack up your purchases and send them to your house so you don’t need to worry about getting them into your luggage for the plane ride home. For total relaxation, book spa treatments at Prana Spa for yourself. Facials, massages, and body treatments alleviate stress while encouraging wellness in a soothing environment staged to create serenity and calm.
When it comes to outdoor activities, Key West has an array of opportunities for boating, fishing, and snorkeling. There’s always the evening schooner rides around Key West that feature engaging tour guides and open bar drink plus light appetizers. These loop cruises are the perfect way to wind down a long day with relaxing views and cold drinks. Many hotels and motels offer guests the use of bicycles when you’re staying on-site; ask for availability as well as good places to stop for things like picnics and photo ops. For more outdoor activities, book tickets to the Dry Tortugas National Park. This small cluster of 7 islands allows swimming, birding, and snorkeling. You can also take a kayak around the smaller islands. Make it a beach day at one of several public beaches like Smathers Beach or Higgs Beach. Vendors offer food and drinks while you can also rent beach chairs or buy snorkeling equipment. Or try fishing with one of Key West’s charter fishing boat companies. All you need to do is show up and the fishing captains take care of the rest.
Seafood is one of the things that Key West is known for. Be sure to grab a meal at Eaton Street Seafood Market. With fresh caught fish daily, half the fun is choosing the seafood that will make it into your dish. Try the fried conch strip basket, lobster roll, crab cakes, and shrimp tacos. Take your order to go or enjoy a leisurely meal under the umbrellas where Eaton Street has outdoor seating. To maximize your Key West food and drink experience, sign up for a Key West food tour or a pub crawl. Visit a half dozen restaurants and bars with experienced guides who can share with you the famous and infamous stories of local residents and their antics. For an upscale meal, book a table at Latitudes Restaurant. For local and casual dining, try Little Pearl instead.