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6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

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posts: 15
reviews: 15
6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

We will be in Key West for 6 hours (7:30a to 1:30p) on Friday Jan 18th while on a cruise. I need a little help planning out my time. I realize we won't be able to see everything, and that it will be crowded due to 2000 other people getting off the boat, but I'd like to make the most of our first time in Key West. Here's what we would like to get out of our time:

1. Southern Most Point

2. Hemingway House

3. A great breakfast or lunch

4. Kino Sandal Factory

5. Suggestions for other interesting shops (specifically jewelry)

6. Bar suggestions and suggestions for the best time to go for my time frame. Crowded is ok, but would like to limit wait time if possible. Or grab a drink and walk if possible. Bar has to have good tropical drinks (I prefer slushy like) with either great views, or excellent people watching opportunities.

7. Suggestions for where to get a killer Key Lime Pie

I'm open to other attraction suggestions if we would have the time, and would like help with directions getting around. I do not want beach time, and I do not to do any of the trams/trollies. We are perfectly fine walking around or taking a pedicab to something that is a little further away.

Any help would be much appreciated :) THANKS!

posts: 1,486
reviews: 10
1. Re: 6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

I love this post, I will try to be creative with my suggestions.

7:30 option 1. Get off ship and head directly to Schooner Wharf , they have an a.m. happy hour and you can grab breakfast , granted not a killer breakfast but this place exemplfies Key West , plus you will kill 2 birds with one stone (great bar and breakfast)

Option 2. get off ship and get to Blue Heaven asap (I think they open up at 8) here you will get your killer breakfast (lobster benedict DELISH) and also order their Key Lime pie (awesome)

If you go with option 1. after your time here head to Kino Sandals and buy a couple pairs!!

If it's option 2. Hit up the Southernmost Point and get your picture taken (probally will be a line) from here head up to Southernmost Beach Cafe and grab a rum runner, also they have good Key Lime pie here, chocolate bottom crust!!

I don't know how important it is to hit the Hemingway House , but for me with such limited time I'd skip it until your next visit (oh yes you will return!!!)

Head down Duval and make your way to Flying Monkey Bar (it's part of Fogarty's) for the absolute best frozen drinks on the island (ruby roo , and banana breeze rock!!) sit down and chill enjoy a couple and take in the sights.

For jewelry shops Local Color and Little Switzerland are 2 of my or should I say my wives favorites LOL!

Also make it a point to check out the Wyland Gallery , I really enjoy his stuff!

For lunch I'll give you a couple places that to me have a Key west vibe.

Garbo's Grill , a lil food cart with 5 star food trust me on this one , their fish tacos are the best!!

Conch republic seafood Company , great bar food and great views.

Sunset Pier , good food , good drinks , awesome views!!!

Roof Top Cafe , great vibe with excellent food (IMO the best conch chowder on the island)

If you have time bounce in and out of some bars. Capt Tony's The Bull and Whistle , Smallest Bar (if it's open) , Margaritaville , Sloppy Joe's etc etc.

Check out Key West Steps , (I think you can download it) it will give you step by step directions to all the places in Key West that you want to visit.

Hope this helps , Have a great time and do yourself a favor and start planning the return trip as soon as you get back from your cruise!! You will luv Key West!!

Edited: 7:41 am, November 29, 2012
posts: 1,147
reviews: 119
2. Re: 6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

My favorite Key lime pie is at kermits, on Elizabeth St, 2-3 blocks from Duval. Hemingway house and the Little White house are must see's for the history buff, both are not far from each other.

New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Key West
posts: 28,470
reviews: 56
3. Re: 6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

Hemingway's house at 907 Whitehead opens at 9:00 a.m. and assuming you want to take the tour it will take about 60 - 90 minutes, and there is a gift / book shop. If the ship is on time you could have breakfast before touring the house at Six-Toed Cat which is in the next previous block on Whitehead...


...then do the tour, then fnish up at the Southernmost point at the end of Whitehead. Also on Whitehead you will pass the Audubon house, the Bahama village, the lighthouse and the Green Parrot bar.


Rockford, Illinois...
posts: 187
4. Re: 6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

I would recommend getting off the boat and heading to Whitehead street. Walk to the courthouse area and take pictures at the Mile Marker 0 sign for US-1. Walk by the Green Parrot bar to see if that is somewhere you would like to hit later in the day, as it does not open until 10. I would then head to Blue Heaven for breakfast, a drink and Key Lime Pie. I would then walk the one block back to Whitehead Street and walk past the lighthouse and Hemingway House – without actually going through either (as you are very limited on time). Continue on Whitehead Street to the Southernmost Point – and there will be a line (as there is always a line when cruise ships are in town). Then head one block over the Duval Street and walk back towards where your ship is docked. There are so many neat shops and jewelry places on Duval – I cannot recommend any specific ones. Stop at places you want to along Duval. Once you get most of the way back towards your ship, depending on time hit a bar for a drink – as there will be many to choose from along and very near Duval. Then hit the Kino Sandal factory on your way back onto the ship – this way you will not lug any sandals you buy around all day. I would not stop anywhere for lunch- as you can grab a snack if hungry. I would eat once back on the boat.

Also, Key West does not enforce open container laws, so grabbing a drink to-go can be done at pretty much any bar. Thus, you do not need to waste time at a bar while you drink your drink. You can also walk into most bars with a drink in hand from somewhere else.

posts: 15
reviews: 15
5. Re: 6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

Thank you SO much for all the responses! I didn't realize the Hemingway House tour was so long (60-90 minutes). Is is possible to just take a peek around the house grounds...this sounds silly, but mostly I just want to see the cats?

New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Key West
posts: 28,470
reviews: 56
6. Re: 6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

You have to pay to get into the house and grounds. The tour is not quite as long but you have to wait until enough people come in to make up one group which in the morning can take a few minutes.

You can just pay the entrance fee and wander around the grounds and into the house to see and pet the cats. There are usually so many cats around key West that seeing the ones at the Hemingway house is not that much of a big deal.

Pjk .

Key West
Destination Expert
for Key West
posts: 5,913
reviews: 83
7. Re: 6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

I would not follow the advice about walking into bars with a drink in your hand. While Key Westers may be too nice to say anything if it happens, I guarantee you the owner and staff at a bar expect you to buy a drink if you come in, and not bring a drink in from somewhere else.

Rockford, Illinois...
posts: 187
8. Re: 6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

As you walk around you should see cats, as they are all over the island. You should also enjoy seeing the wild chickens that run around Key West. This last year I felt that I saw more chickens and fewer cats than previous trips.

New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Key West
posts: 28,470
reviews: 56
9. Re: 6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

In terms of having a drink there are three good places.

1. The tiki bar at the Ocean Key Resort, 0 Duval Street (honest - 0). The pier there overlooks the water and the views are very nice and the drinks aren't bad

2. El Meson de Pepe which is down a small alley just off the Mallory Docks. They have an outdoor bar and make good mojitos.

3. The bar at the Westin Resort at the Westin marina.

These are good because you will be about 2 minutes from where you dock and you can sit there until the ship's horn blows suggesting you get back onboard.


Webster, New York
posts: 193
reviews: 42
10. Re: 6 Hours in Key West on Cruise Stop

We did a cruise in July and were there the same hours. We are veterans of Key West so we didn't need to do the normal touristy spots. So we headed to Schooner Wharf. Had a mango mimosa, then headed down to Duval. To our dismay nothing else opened until 10. It was a great day, but way to short.