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Smart travel tips for your Key West vacation

Heading to Key West, whether for a weekend or a week, is no different. Check out these ideas for planning the perfect getaway.

Getting ready for a vacation is pretty straightforward as far as booking travel arrangements and packing. What takes real insight is knowing all the ins and outs of your destination so you can make the most of your time there and have the wonderful experiences you hope for. Heading to Key West, whether for a weekend or a week, is no different. Check out these ideas for planning the perfect getaway.

Don’t wait to book your dry tortugas excursion
Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most popular attractions in the area, and there’s only one ferry that travels the route between Key West and Garden Key in the park. It fills up fast so as soon as you know you’re going to Key West, buy your tickets for the ferry. From the promenade surrounding the old fort to the sunken shipwrecks and reefs perfect for experienced and novice snorkelers, you’ll enjoy a full day’s worth of activities. The park also offers kayaking, birdwatching, and swimming at the beach, plus tours of the historic fort. Nighttime programs include stargazing as well as snorkeling to experience nocturnal sea life. There’s extremely limited camping available here too, if roughing it under the stars sounds appealing to you.

Go to the source for great tasting food
When you want fresh seafood in Key West, and who doesn’t, the best place to get it is from places that bring in the catch of the day. Try Eaton Street Seafood Market for the most delicious options when it comes to fish tacos, lobster roll, conch fritters, and fish sandwiches, all made to order. And don’t miss the house-made sauces and sides, too, for a satisfying meal. Take your order to go or relax in Eaton Street Seafood Market’s outdoor seating area where you can watch the world go by with the lovely Art Deco building as a social media-worthy backdrop. 

For the freshest key lime pie, check out Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe, where pies are baked for you every day. Get a slice or take a whole pie! The shop on Elizabeth Street includes a wide array of tantalizing treats, too, all focused around key limes. Discover jams, jellies, chutneys, and spreads, as well as cookies and crackers, candies, and even personal care goods like lotions and balms, all fortified with key lime goodness. 

Consider the amenities when booking your accommodations
There are lots of hotels, motels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds in Key West so you’ll find it’s easy to find rooms that suit your preference. Keep an eye out for the available amenities to help you decide on the best choice. Resorts typically offer greater amenities, like spas, marina access, and on-site dining; bed and breakfasts are usually more quiet and intimate if you’d rather avoid crowds. Courtyard pools, hospitality or happy hours, free bike rentals, and concierge services are just some of the extras that many places offer.

Don’t miss the fishing
Key West is widely known for its fishing. Even if you’ve never fished before, going out on a chartered fishing boat is a convenient and fun way to try this exciting sport. All In Fishing Charters offers your pick of trips, whether you want to explore reef, wreck, deep sea or flats fishing. Depending on the time of year, you can catch tarpon, grouper, snapper, mahi mahi, and more. There is no need to pack fishing gear or arrange for fishing permits because everything you need is provided to you, along with pointers from the experienced crew if you need them. And if you make the catch of a lifetime, ask whether it can be entered into one of the many ongoing fishing tournaments that take place in Key West. What’s more, if you can keep your fish, book dinner reservations at a place such as Dante’s where they will cook your catch for an unusual treat.

Book your trip to coincide with a festival
Key West is home to numerous festivals throughout the year. They celebrate everything from sports and culture to fishing, science, lifestyles, and the arts. Book your trip during one of these events to make your vacation even more memorable. There are marathons, film fests, food and wine festivals, home and garden events, literary festivals, and holiday-themed events around Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s. Some hotels offer special discounts or package offers that include on-site extras that complement the festival or event you’re in town for, so be sure to ask about that when making your reservations.

Take your travel to the next level
It’s easy to have a great time in Key West. The sunshine, beaches, welcoming people, and great restaurants already ensure you’ll enjoy it. But by using these ideas for getting the best food, excursions, and bookings, it will truly be an experience to remember.

Photo by Brighton Pereira on Unsplash