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Trip List by MotherGoat

The Fabulous Florida Keys

Jun 19, 2006  Florida Memories
3.5 of 5 stars based on 4 votes

An overview of things to do in the Keys during a long weekend

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Florida Keys
  • Category: Perfect weekend
  • Traveler type: Never been before
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Florida Keys
    Florida Keys, Florida

    Getting the most out of a weekend trip to the Keys

  • 2. snorkeling

    John Pennekamp Park

  • 3. The Keys on a Budget

    THE FLORIDA KEYS AND KEY WEST



    "I just came down for the weekend and that was twenty-five years ago" One of the local and talented musicians on Duval Street wrote a great song about not leaving Key West at the end of ones vacation. Nearly everyone who has visited the southernmost city on the continental United States has considered not returning to the mainland or at least extending their visit for another day of fishing, snorkeling, parasailing, jet skiing, sunbathing, shopping, dining, nightlife and just checking out the local art galleries and ending at Mallory Square for the daily sunset celebration.



    Highway 1 takes you from Key Largo to Key West in three to four hours, depending on the traffic - two lane all the way. The drive is well worth the cost of a rental car from Miami International Airport: take I95 South, merge into Highway 1 and head East. There are reasons to stop on every key - John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has one of the few living coral reefs off the U.S. coast and the boat/snorkeling trips are reasonably priced and vary in distance and daily schedules. The experience of snorkeling (with instructions and supervision by seasoned veterans of the sea) is definitely worth your time. If time permits, the fishing is excellent from Key Largo. There are several excellent campgrounds among the islands that include RV hookups, showers and swimming pools. As an amateur photographer, I captured the most beautiful sunset on film, while camping on the beach in Key Largo. The hotels are plentiful and there are numerous first class resorts. Be advised to make reservations before your trip since the Keys are an extremely popular destination, especially on the weekends. Restaurants offer a wide variety of food and there are several fast food restaurants on the way to Key West. I recommend the Mexican restaurant on the left side of the highway between Key Largo and Islamorada. If swimming with the dolphins is on your agenda, Islamorada has the Theatre of the Sea. Sea shell shops are in abundance all along the highway and Key West has no shortage of t-shirt shops on Duval Street. As you drive from island to island and have the time, some of the most beautiful state parks and beaches off of the main highway. Then cross the Seven Mile Bridge and get ready for a transformation: the crystal clear blue water, the wildlife, ocean air, fishing boats and you leave the city behind you. Drive carefully through Big Pine Key, watching out for the smallest subspecies of the Virginia white tail deer called key deer especially close to dawn and dusk, they tend to hide during the heat of day. Crossing over several small keys, Highway 1 ends at Roosevelt Blvd. on Key West. Turn right and follow the road to town, scout for parking around Duval Street or find your hotel. Duval Street is the most popular destination for visitors to Key West and for the adventurous, rent a scooter or a bike or walk, to the Hemmingway House, famous for his six toed cats (all named after movie stars â Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe â to name a few. The tour is informative and fun and youâll see the catwalk from the main house to the authorâs office where he spent many hours. Smathers Beach is great for swimming, parasailing, jet skiing and just hanging out on the beach. Art galleries and restaurants offer original food and art all over Key West. The southernmost point is a great photo opportunity for the whole group and is located next to a fabulous seafood restaurant. Among the bars, restaurants and shops along Duval Street, the sense of âold Floridaâ takes hold and a sunset cruise on a sailboat is a perfect way to make the transition of day to night. The nightlife in Key West is legendary and worthy of praise in its variety and quality. Getting back to the song, visiting the Keys is a dream, living in the Keys is a dream come true but eventually one gets âisland feverâ or runs out of money, whichever comes first.