Key West, Florida’s southernmost point. Known for its’ key lime pies and the infamous Duval Street, this not so hidden gem is a favorite spot for people near and far. On weekends, you’ll find Miami locals flock to the small island for a day out on the boat and during the summer months, you’ll find tourists frolicking down every corner.
I can’t believe it’s taken me 24 years to make my way down here but the wait was so worthwhile. Alex just said one day “Let’s drive down to Key West” and if you know me personally, you know the planner inside of me cringed. But I reminded myself of that cheesy quote “If not now then when” or “You’re only young once”. So I threw my protein powder in my bag and we hit the road.
Before Key West came to be what it is today, travelers use to make their way to the island by train, better known as the Overseas Railroad or the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. American Industrialist Henry Flagler had a deep interest in connecting Key West to Florida’s mainland. He knew it wouldn’t be an easy feat but through engineering innovations and $50 million later, the project was completed in 1912.
Little is left of the Overseas Railroad. It was destroyed in 1935 after a Category 5 hurricane hit the keys. Today it’s a part of the National Register of Historic Places and you can see it as you make your way to Key West. Alex and I were so intrigued to learn about the history of this amazing undertaking considering the resources and technology they had back then. Or better said, didn’t have.
What We Did
We couldn’t make it to Key West and not visit Duval Street. It’s definitely more of a place to visit at night since every other storefront is a bar. But we hit up some really yummy spots nearby like Tropical Vibes Cones & Bowls and Moondog Cafe & Bakery for a nightcap.
For dinner, we stopped by Firefly Key West where they had some of the best shrimp & grits I had ever tasted. After dinner, we tried catching the sunset at Mallory Square and I’ll just say this. If you’re looking for a romantic spot to watch the sun go down (what I was looking for), this isn’t it. But if you’re just looking to kill some time, people watch and enjoy some street performers, then this is the spot. Arrive early because it does get crowded.
The next morning, we hit up the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park and the beach right next door. It was awesome to step foot into a place that’s filled with so much history. This National Historic Monument sits on the southern edge of Key West and housed the largest collection of military weapons during the Civil War. If you head to the beach, bring water shoes. We must have seemed like such newbies roaming around the beach with no shoes. Everyone and their mother had them on to navigate around the big rocks near the shoreline.
Then on our way back home, we just had to stop at one of our absolute favorite places, Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen in Key Largo. They have the best key lime pie in all the (keys) land.
Where We Stayed
Alex booked us a room at The Inn on Fleming and the funniest thing happened. We just so happened to book our room at the same time another couple did so the owner decided to give the couple the room and upgrade us to a bigger suite. It was our first time at a bed and breakfast and it was heaven-sent. It felt like a home away from home and the owner was super sweet. The one night stay included tropical garden views, a wrap-around porch and of course breakfast to start the day on the right foot. We stayed in the Geiger Suite and I absolutely fell in love with the house when I noticed a skylight in one of the rooms.
I’m already dreaming of the next time we’re back in Key West so that we can visit Dry Tortugas National Park. We tried going this time around but they were booked and reservations were needed months in advance so take note friends.