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44jumbo Jan 27th, 2004 07:33 AM

Key West
Good day to all you fellow Fodorites!

My wife and I will be traveling to Key West the first week in March for a five night stay. We are looking for a very relaxing vacation sprinkled with a few tourist attractions.

So far the only things we are planning is a catamaran trip to Dry Tortugas National Park for the history of the fort and some great snorkeling, possibly the Ghost Tour and a night downtown for the sunset ceremony and the street performers.

Any advice you could offer us as first time visitors to Key West that would help to acheive a mostly relaxing vacation would be greatly appreciated! Any advice on restaurants that we should not miss would also be appreciated!

Thanks to all.

fluffnfold Jan 27th, 2004 07:43 AM

I liked Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. We didn't take the ferry, though, we flew by seaplane, which was really cool. You fly over shipwrecks, etc, and then land on the water, just like arriving on Fantasy Island. It's also a lot quicker. An experience, if you don't mind parting with the cash. We didn't snorkle there.

I also took the ghost tour. Entertaining, but a regular walking tour pointing out sites and architecture would be just as good.

alex Jan 27th, 2004 08:29 AM

I know it is very touristy, but the first time we went to Key West I really liked the Conch Train. It gave me a good sense of the layout/geography of Key West and I liked all of the little stories the guide told.

wsoxrebel Jan 27th, 2004 08:31 AM

You might enjoy renting bicycles for your stay.

BigRed Jan 27th, 2004 09:27 AM

The Dry Tortugas will be a highlight of your trip. We had great snorkeling.

Also try:
Hemingway House
The "other" sunset celebration on the roof of the La Concha hotel.
We also enjoyed doing a self guided tour of the Key West Cemetary

For food, try Blue Heaven for lunch/brunch...El Siboney for Cuban, Half Shell Raw Bar...and I'll get slammed for this on the board, but I enjoyed Conch Republic Seafood...its all fried, but it;s good.

SAnParis Jan 27th, 2004 10:04 AM

If you are a first time visitor the Conch Train is well worth the time. It will give you an overview of town & alos help you plan your stay. Just try & hit it when there are no cruises in as they become over-crowded very quickly. There are many good places to eat. Not sure where you are staying but if you have cooking facilities the grocery by the Marina has good selection of fresh seafood. Also, don't forget Pepe's for breakfast. The Hemingway House is also well worth a visit.

dpcta Jan 27th, 2004 11:02 AM

I would suggest- rent mopeds and tour the island, have mojitos(a cuban drink made with fresh mint)at Conch Republic, watch Michael McCloud play an afternoon at Schooner Wharf, breakfast at Blue Heaven, and of course, Mallory Square at sunset! Have fun!

JackOneill Jan 27th, 2004 11:33 AM

Check out the cemetery. No, really, check it out. Some cool and witty sayings on some of the headstones.

Also, I just like ambling around on foot in Key West.

Other than these and the other things mentioned, there isn't much else to do. But that's what Key West is famous for.

mbo Jan 27th, 2004 11:47 AM

I agree about the Conch Train. It was very interesting.
I have to reccomend my favorite restaurant BO's (Buddy Owens) in the marina area. It is the best!

JeanH Jan 27th, 2004 12:59 PM

Key West is meant for slow wanderings. I'd suggest you find a copy of Sharon Well' Walking and Biking Guide when you arrive. There are free copies in most of the guest house check in areas. A wealth of information in that publication.

I, too, enjoy Conch Republic. We've had some very good and reasonably priced meals there.

Although my favorite Mojitos are at Blue Heaven, although the ones at Conch Republic aren't bad at all.

For dining that is a bit more expensive, we've had great meals at both Seven Fish and Alice's at La Te Da. And for a cheap lunch try Lobo Grill, sort of hidden right off of Duval.


Heartburn3 Jan 27th, 2004 10:10 PM

If you are going to Alice's for dinner, get tix for the drag show upstairs. It's fabulous!! They have a nice piano bar inside, too. Great show and plenty of fun! We went there twice while visiting Key West.

My niece and I spent a week in Key West last May and loved just walking around and seeing the beautiful homes. You can also walk through the guest houses if you want to check things out for a future visit.

A nice, quiet happy hour is at Kelly's on Whitehead St & Caroline St. I love this place and they have great food. It's a nice place to go if you want to get off Duval and enjoy a stroll in the historic area.

Kelly McGillis also has a newer place on the beach at the southernmost point. I can't remember the name, but they had the best seafood quiche I've ever had! It was delicious!! Great place for brunch (especially on Sunday.) Ask any of the tour guide people and they can tell you the name of the place.

jd Jan 28th, 2004 03:38 AM

Louies' Backyard has great food-sit out on the deck overlooking the Atlantic. I agree, Blue Heaven and Alices also good. For a quiet afternoon,enjoy the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor-you can rent chairs there and there is a snack bar. Also tour the Fort.

GoTravel Jan 28th, 2004 06:02 AM

Please do not rent the mopeds! There are more wrecks with mopeds and cars than you could possibly imagine!

I second the seaplane to the Dry Tortugas if you can swing this. It is breathtaking and you aren't worn out when you get back to Key West.

Blue Heaven is great and so is Seven Fish and Meteor BBQ. BOs Fishwagon is awesome for a fish sandwich.

Buy yourself a $8 pair of handmade Keno sandals (flip flops) as a sursy.

rainbowfish Jan 28th, 2004 04:22 PM

I would just walk from one bar to the next and grab an occasional conch fritter along the way. Enjoy!

44jumbo Jan 30th, 2004 08:05 AM

Thanks to all of you for replying with some great information. I think we may ride the Conch Train as well during our stay. Since money will be tight, we are taking the catamaran to Dry Tortugas rather than the seaplane. I still hope this will be a fabulous experience. Thanks for the great advice on restaurants as well. If anyone has any other tips or pieces of advice, we would be happy to accept these! Thank you!

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