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Key West in January?

Chicago, IL
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Key West in January?

Hello!

We'll be going to Key West for the first time January 8-15. I'm attending the Key West Literary Seminar for a few of those days.

How is Key West different in January? I've tried looking up information about whether not everything is open, and I haven't had much luck. Will we find that it's "boarded up" for winter, or will it still be very active?

Also, we'd appreciate recommendations for things to do while we're there. Are there any "can't miss" things?

I'd love to do some sort of dolphin cruise, too. Are those available in January?

Thanks, in advance, for your advice!!

Pjk
New Jersey
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1. Re: Key West in January?

The only difference in Key West in January vs any other time when there is nothing special going on (Hemingway Days, Meeting of the Minds, etc) is that it will be cooler and the water will be too chilly to snorkel without a wetsuit, at least it is for me. Pretty much all of the restaurants will be open and the various happy hours will be going strong.

The problem with dolphin watch trips in Key West is that they invariably include a snorkel stop. The people I like for this is Sunny Days...

http://www.sunnydayskeywest.com/dolphin.htm

They go out of the Key West Bight in fornt of the Conch Republic Seafood Co. so they would be likely to be close to where you stay.

sunnydayskeywest.com/currentSpecials200911.p…

I have a friend who is thinking about going for the conference, and if she goes, I might bite the bullet and go, too.

Edited: 1:27 pm, December 02, 2010
SDT
Key West
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2. Re: Key West in January?

Nothing is boarded up for winter... Winter is the busy season here so everything will be in full gear for the season. Must do's really depend on you. There are museums, history, restaurants, bars, beaches and all sorts of watersports. This is also a great town to rent mikes and explore. Tell us what you are interested in and we can be more specific.

Chicago, IL
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3. Re: Key West in January?

Thanks for the helpful response, PJK. It's much appreciated. :)

We are interested in all food-related activities, spending time at the beach, and any kind of outdoor activity/excursion (boat tours, dolphin spotting, crabbing, etc.).

We're also interested in possible doing a couple day or afternoon trips. Any places--within an hour or so--that are worthy and fun destinations?

SDT
Key West
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4. Re: Key West in January?

Fort Zachary Taylor is most peoples favorite beach. The sand is rocky, so bring water shoes. Smathers Beach has nicer sand, but the water is too shallow to really swim. Both are nice and have chair rentals and other concessions.

For food, most places have fresh fish specials. Also, be sure to try Key West Pink Shrimp and Stone Crab Claws. Stone Crab can be expensive in restaurants, so if you have a car go to Fishbusterz on Stock Island and buy some there. Ask them to crack them for you, buy the dipping sauce, and have a feast in your room or on the beach. Some of my favorite restaurants currently are Blackfin Bistro, Salute on the beach, and Santiago's Bodega for mid priced. For a more upscale experience, try Latitudes, Cafe Marquesa, or Pisces. For breakfast everyone wants to try Blue Heaven at least once, also Camilles or Martins for a great Sunday Brunch. If you have a car, you might want to try Bonnie and Clyde in New Town. It is New Orlean's style and I loved the Gumbo.

The happy hour specials at the harbor are a great way to sample food. Alonzo's has half price apps from 4-6:30 and is one of the best deals in town. I also like half shell raw bar, The Tower Bar or on the other side of the island, the $3.00 special shrimp skewers at Southernmost Beach Cafe.

In terms of nice places to drive, be sure to go to Bahia Honda State Park one morning. It is about an hour from Key West and has walking paths and several beach areas. After your morning there, drive over the 7 mile bridge to Marathon for lunch. I like Burdines for a great fish sandwich and spicy fries. You turn right at the Mobil Station right after the 7 mile bridge and follow the road all the way back to the harbor to find it.

I hope this gets you started.

Chicago, IL
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5. Re: Key West in January?

This is AWESOME--exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

Any reason to go to Key Largo? I've heard mixed reviews.

Pjk
New Jersey
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6. Re: Key West in January?

If you tune back in tomorrow...

But just in general, Key West has some very nice snorkeling, kayaking, (including a sunset kayak) snorkeling & kayaking, snorkeling & sunset sail, and Stand-up paddle-boarding, all of which are highlights of any trip I take there. I'll list them out with web pages on the flip-side.

Pjk

Fort Myers Beach...
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7. Re: Key West in January?

We do not like Key Largo as we Key West. Key Largo is not as nice, not as fun, and the people are just differant.

For us there is only a few reasons to go to Key Largo,

Driving from FLL or MIA to get to Key West.

Driving from Key West back to the airport.

For a change in dive sites from Key West. We will do a day trip to Key Largo to dive.

SDT
Key West
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8. Re: Key West in January?

I don't think there is much up in Key Largo from my point of view. Some nice restaurants and a nice state park, but I would not drive there from Key West just for that. Worth a stop in you are driving to or from Miami, but otherwise I like the Middle and Lower Keys better.

Marathon, Florida
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9. Re: Key West in January?

If you're looking for Dolphins - Dolphin Research Center in Marathon has them! We also have a Turtle Hospital (reservations needed) and a nice beach, Sombrero Beach.

Appleton, Wisconsin
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10. Re: Key West in January?

Skip Key Largo. Past Islamorada the drive is not as scenic. You will get there and be disappointed you left all there is to do in Key West. I second the vote for Bahia Honda. Just pick your nicest day - the beach is the main attraction there!