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  1. #1

    Anyone been to Key West?

    Going in July for our anniversary. My wife and I are excited. Never been, although I have been to Key Biscayne.

    Any recommendations on dining or entertainment that we ought to do?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by CameronDuke View Post
    Going in July for our anniversary. My wife and I are excited. Never been, although I have been to Key Biscayne.

    Any recommendations on dining or entertainment that we ought to do?

    Thanks in advance.
    I went years and years ago. Was considering a trip this year for a Big Anniversary, but it seems prohibitively expensive now. At least for my budget.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Watching carolina Go To HELL!
    Quote Originally Posted by CameronDuke View Post
    Going in July for our anniversary. My wife and I are excited. Never been, although I have been to Key Biscayne.

    Any recommendations on dining or entertainment that we ought to do?

    Thanks in advance.
    Watch the sunset from Marley's. Visit the Hemingway house. Visit Henry Ford's estate. Look at Cuba, which is 90 miles away (if it's a clear day) from the southern most point in the US. Take a picture next to the road sign designating the starting point of US 1 (it ends in Maine!).

    It's a great place to spend a few days relaxing! And have patience driving there - at least the 7 mile bridge is now 4 lanes instead of only 2 (one each way).
    Ozzie, your paradigm of optimism!

    Go To Hell carolina, Go To Hell!
    9F 9F 9F
    http://www.EGLEW.com


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    The one thing my wife and I didn't like about Key West was that it's not the kind of island where you can walk for miles on a sandy beach (unless something drastic has happened)...walking around downtown gets old, herds and hordes of tourists is not our thing, but it is a charming place...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Santa Cruz CA
    Quote Originally Posted by OZZIE4DUKE View Post
    And have patience driving there - at least the 7 mile bridge is now 4 lanes instead of only 2 (one each way).
    New bridge opened in 1982. It's a nice wide two lane road, which contributed to Key West as it is now due to the drive being a lot less scary than it used to be. My first time down there was a spring break trip from Duke driving my mom's station wagon over the old railroad bridge in the middle of the night. Not nearly as many tourists made it all the way to Key West back then. Old bridge got converted to a walking path/fishing pier.

    gettyimages-944269842-612x612.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by OZZIE4DUKE View Post
    Watch the sunset from Marley's. Visit the Hemingway house. Visit Henry Ford's estate. Look at Cuba, which is 90 miles away (if it's a clear day) from the southern most point in the US. Take a picture next to the road sign designating the starting point of US 1 (it ends in Maine!).

    It's a great place to spend a few days relaxing! And have patience driving there - at least the 7 mile bridge is now 4 lanes instead of only 2 (one each way).
    Hawaii says, "Remember me?"

    Actually, though, those all seem like fun things to do.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North of Durham
    I was down near there twice in a short span about 10-15 years ago. Both times stayed up near Islamorada. I'm not really a fisherman but Islamorada is apparently a hot spot for fishing (I think it is an hour from Key West). In addition to the Hemingway house in Key West, I think there is also a Truman house if you are interested in such things. Obligatory picture at the southern most point in the continental US.

    The second time I went we flew into Fort Lauderdale or Miami and drove to the keys at night. I love to drive but it was not a lot of fun - some very dark, remote roads. I also had a screaming baby and an anxious mother-in-law in my backseat so that did not help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyNotCrazie View Post
    I was down near there twice in a short span about 10-15 years ago. Both times stayed up near Islamorada. I'm not really a fisherman but Islamorada is apparently a hot spot for fishing (I think it is an hour from Key West). In addition to the Hemingway house in Key West, I think there is also a Truman house if you are interested in such things. Obligatory picture at the southern most point in the continental US.

    The second time I went we flew into Fort Lauderdale or Miami and drove to the keys at night. I love to drive but it was not a lot of fun - some very dark, remote roads. I also had a screaming baby and an anxious mother-in-law in my backseat so that did not help.
    Islamorada is very nice.

    Wheat does fishing charters in that area (I think) — he can probably put you on the tarpon if they’re running.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyNotCrazie View Post
    I was down near there twice in a short span about 10-15 years ago. Both times stayed up near Islamorada. I'm not really a fisherman but Islamorada is apparently a hot spot for fishing (I think it is an hour from Key West). In addition to the Hemingway house in Key West, I think there is also a Truman house if you are interested in such things. Obligatory picture at the southern most point in the continental US.

    The second time I went we flew into Fort Lauderdale or Miami and drove to the keys at night. I love to drive but it was not a lot of fun - some very dark, remote roads. I also had a screaming baby and an anxious mother-in-law in my backseat so that did not help.
    Ha, I think a lot of people have had the experience of flying in to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale and thinking hey, I'm just about there. A long dark drive (at least it used to be)...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Santa Cruz CA
    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    I went years and years ago. Was considering a trip this year for a Big Anniversary, but it seems prohibitively expensive now. At least for my budget.
    While it's even gone up since back in the day, the cheapest place to stay seems to still be good old Boyd's Campground. My first night in Key West was sleeping on a blanket with no tent at Boyd's.

    https://www.boydscampground.com/

    72963.jpg

  11. #11
    This list is a bit dated and not sure how many are still there, but it'll give you a good start. A dude that used to go all the time sent me this list when I was heading there about 10 years ago (thanks Uncle Billy). Definitely hit Blue Heaven. 7 Fish was awesome at the time. If Michael McCloud is still playing at Schooner Wharf, its a great way to spend an afternoon.

    Bars


    Sloppy Joe’s
    It’s not my favorite, but it’s big with the tourists.
    Busy, loud, usually good bands. over priced drinks.
    http://www.sloppyjoes.com

    Capt. Tony’s
    Key West legend, don’t miss this place.
    www.capttonyssaloon.com

    Schooner Wharf
    great place to hang out
    http://www.schoonerwharf.com
    (Michael McCloud plays in the afternoons noon – 5pm)
    Take the time to see him at least once.
    http://www.michaelmccloud.com/

    Chart Room Bar @ Pier House Resort
    Another Key West classic
    https://www.pierhouse.com/dining/chart-room-bar.aspx


    Hog’s Breath Saloon
    Another great place to hang out
    http://hogsbreath.com/

    The Green Parrot
    funky local kinda place
    http://www.greenparrot.com

    Rick’s
    fun place in the middle of the action
    http://ricksbarkeywest.com/pages/ricks-bar

    Fat Tuesday
    Best and biggest selection of frozen drinks
    http://www.fattuesdaykeywest.com/

    Margaritaville
    Jimmy Buffett’s home restaurant/bar
    www.margaritavillekeywest.com/


    Places to eat

    Blue Heaven
    corner Thomas & Petronia St.
    don’t miss this place, this is what most people think
    Key West should be like, and so little of it still is.
    laid back outdoor dining under the shade of sails
    stretched in the trees. cats and chickens everywhere.
    and the food is excellent.
    www.blueheavenkw.com
    http://blueheavenkw.homestead.com/Bl..._Key_West.html

    Two Friends Patio
    Front St. (one of my all time favorites)
    http://twofriendskeywest.com/

    Half Shell Raw Bar
    Schooner Wharf (another favorite of mine)
    During longer stays in Key West, I usually
    eat here more than anyplace else.
    http://www.halfshellrawbar.com/key-w...ood-restaurant


    Turtle Kraals
    Schooner Wharf (good food, fun atmosphere)
    http://www.turtlekraals.com/ <http://www.turtlekraals.com/>

    B.O.’s Fish Wagon
    corner Caroline & William St.
    don’t miss this place, it's a real KW classic.
    http://www.bosfishwagon.com/


    El Siboney
    900 Catherine St. (Cuban cooking)
    http://www.elsiboneyrestaurant.com/index.html


    Louie’s Back Yard
    700 Waddell St. (pricey,)
    http://www.louiesbackyard.com/


    Pepe’s Café
    806 Caroline St.
    another real Key West classic; a must visit
    http://pepeskeywest.com/


    El Meson de Pepe
    Mallory Square (Cuban cooking)
    http://www.elmesondepepe.com <http://www.elmesondepepe.com/>


    Rooftop Café
    310 Front St.
    excellent food, a touch of class,
    and great vantage point for people watching.
    http://www.rooftopcafekeywest.com/


    Duval Beach Club
    right on South Beach
    Good food, good prices, great view.
    http://www.southernmostbeachcafe.com/


    Duffy’s
    corner of Truman and Simonton
    My favorite KW steak house. the prime rib is excellent.
    http://www.duffyskeywest.com/


    Billie’s
    407 Front St.
    My favorite for stone crab claws & banana daiquiris

    Seven Fish
    623 Olivia St.
    http://7fish.com/


    Willie T’s
    525 Duval St.
    http://www.williets.com/

    Conch fritter stand at sunset celebration
    (best conch fritters in town)

    Frozen drink stand at Sunset Celebration..

    local flavor
    Dennis Pharmacy
    corner of Simonton and South St.
    a very local kinda place, very popular for breakfast.

    5 Brothers Grocery
    corner of Southard and Grinnell St.
    Good Cuban sandwiches, breakfasts, and other stuff..

    Sandy's
    walk up window located in the M&M Laundry at 1026 White St.
    Great Cuban sandwiches..

    Sights to see & things to do

    Hemingway House
    http://www.hemingwayhome.com/

    Lighthouse & museum
    http://www.kwahs.com/lighthouse.htm

    Mel Fisher Treasure Museum
    http://www.melfisher.org/

    Mallory Square (nightly sunset celebration)
    http://www.mallorysquare.com/

    Fort Taylor
    http://www.thefloridakeys.com/parks/zach.htm

    Aquarium
    http://www.keywestaquarium.com/ <http://www.keywestaquarium.com/>

    Duval St. Shopping and just walking
    http://www.seefloridaonline.com/duval/

    Ride the conch train like a tourist
    http://www.conchtourtrain.com/

    Ghost tours of Key West
    Leaves nightly at 8 from lobby Of La Concha Hotel
    http://hauntedtours.com (reservations required)


    Sunset sail (Try the Western Union)
    http://www.schoonerwesternunion.com/
    It’s a beautiful old schooner.
    Back in the 70’s Buffett took his first trip to Cuba
    on the Western Union, while he was doing the soundtrack
    for a documentary on Hemingway .
    The Schooner Wolf plays up the pirate theme.
    The catamarans are just drinking platforms.
    They have no romance about them.

    Snorkel trips You have to get out to the reef at least once.
    There are several boats that you can choose from.
    My favorite is the Appledore, they spend winter in Key West
    and the summer in Maine. http://www.appledore2.com/keywest/index.html

    Sunny Days http://www.sunnydayskeywest.com/
    and Seabago http://www.keywestsebago.com/
    are two of the big catamarans. They both do nice trips.

    Beaches

    Smathers beach
    Everyone goes here to play, but the swimming sucks
    http://www.keywestcity.com/egov/apps...w=detail&id=24


    Higgs Beach
    My favorite, for swimming, and snorkeling around the old sea wall
    http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/index.aspx?NID=235


    South beach
    small beach, usually quiet, water is very shallow
    http://keywest.com/beaches.htm#.U4z0mEFOUcA


    Fort Taylor Beach
    best beach on the island, nice shady area for picnics,
    great place to relax, swim, sun, and just spend the day.
    http://www.floridastateparks.org/forttaylor/


    Bring aqua socks, the beaches in the keys have a coarse coral sand that’s hard on the feet.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem
    I have only been once, and it was in Fall 2013, so YMMV. But . . . .

    The Cuban sandwich at Caroline's is terrific. And Cuban Coffee Queen has amazing coffee.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya
    This isn't dining or entertainment, but...

    My best advice is to spend extra to get a place within a block or two of Duval Street. Driving and parking is a nightmare, you're going to want to drive in and pick up provisions (I suggest tequila and a cooler of beer) at Publix and then park at your place, and not move the car until you head for home. This allows you to sample everything of morning, afternoon, and night with a short walk to your temporary home for recuperation (and refreshments).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, DC area
    Quote Originally Posted by Phredd3 View Post
    Hawaii says, "Remember me?"

    Actually, though, those all seem like fun things to do.
    What about Puerto Rico?

    -jk

  15. #15
    Louie's Backyard. It's a great backyard. The food is excellent.

    Wheat must fish out of Bud 'n Mary's. Fantastic fishing out of Islamorada.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by mpj96 View Post
    Louie's Backyard. It's a great backyard. The food is excellent.

    Wheat must fish out of Bud 'n Mary's. Fantastic fishing out of Islamorada.
    is the Coral Grill still around in Islamorada? Haven't been there in about 40 years I suspect..

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North of Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    is the Coral Grill still around in Islamorada? Haven't been there in about 40 years I suspect..
    Just looked through some old e-mails from my first trip to Islamorada about 15 years ago. We had a great dinner at Lazy Days. I was with a big group and someone caught a 20+ lb. tuna that the restaurant cooked up for us really nicely. Not sure if it is worth the drive from Key West just to go there as other posters have given you a great list of options in Key West, but if you decide to day trip to Islamorada, it is a nice option.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO

    Wheat in Boca Grande

    Quote Originally Posted by mpj96 View Post
    Louie's Backyard. It's a great backyard. The food is excellent.

    Wheat must fish out of Bud 'n Mary's. Fantastic fishing out of Islamorada.
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    Islamorada is very nice.

    Wheat does fishing charters in that area (I think) — he can probably put you on the tarpon if they’re running.
    Wheat fishes out of Boca Grande, which is on the Gulf near Fort Myers.
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by -jk View Post
    What about Puerto Rico?
    Nice thought, but territories are not generally counted in that kind of reference. Nobody says that the westernmost town in Denmark is Qaanak, Greenland. But Hawaii is state, so it is considered an integral (if non-contiguous) part of the U.S., even if many people on this side of the country routinely forget about it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Long Beach, CA

    I used to live there

    I lived in Key West from 2009 to 2015. There have been some changes, of course, but I highly recommend dinner at Flaming Buoy Filet Co. Make sure you get the lobster Mac n cheese. If you want to go out on the water, choose Danger Charters for a more intimate experience than the cattle boats. Also, taking the speed ferry out to Fort Jefferson is really worth the trip.

    Brunch at least once at Blue Heaven.
    No soup for you!

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