Key West in a Day?

Old Apr 24th, 2022, 08:56 PM
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Key West in a Day?

My husband and I will be in Miami for 4 days for a conference. We then have all day on a Thursday and Friday until 3pm to kill before going on a cruise. We want to drive down to Key West, but realize we don't have a lot of time to do that. About 1.5 days. What do you recommend? If we left Thursday morning and drove all the way down, maybe stop for lunch and then do dinner in Key West and stay the night. Then, leave mid morning to make it back to Miami by 3? Not enough time? Or, do we just drive part way down see a few things and then back up? Any suggestions would be great!!
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Old Apr 25th, 2022, 06:47 AM
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I did it in a day (spent the night) and decided it was basically a Margaritaville theme park. Others really enjoy it. Maybe I didn't explore it thoroughly.
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Old Apr 25th, 2022, 08:12 AM
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Yes, you can drive down and be back the next day before 3pm. I've done over night trips to Key West many times. One word of caution, the road can be only two lanes for quit a stretch, if any incident or accident occurs, you will be looking at a long delay. The drive itself will take you about 3.5 to 4 hours each way.
Also, room rates in Key West lately have been skyrocketing up from what they were. If you do make it, try Blue Heaven for dinner, it's great food and very "Key West" atmosphere.
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Old Apr 25th, 2022, 08:13 AM
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You're welcome to check out my experiences and recommendations for Key West as well. I used to live there, and still frequent.
https://www.thetravelinglocals.com/p...-west-paradise
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Old Apr 25th, 2022, 08:43 AM
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We thought the museum was really, really interesting and we very much enjoyed a tour of the Hemingway House. I would go only if I had time to see at least those two places. We did tour another house and a cemetery. Would I drive all that way for one night? Probably not if I had to catch a cruise the next day. One delay on the return and you have missed your cruise. There is so much to see and do in and near Miami, I would do that. However, if all you wish to do is drive, see the ocean and make a few stops, make it a one day trip or return super early.
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Old Apr 25th, 2022, 09:17 AM
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PrairieHiker, you must not have seen enough of Key West, the historical part, to judge.
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Old Apr 26th, 2022, 06:55 PM
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Iím not sure how late your conference would last on Wednesday, but if youíre out at a reasonable time I would suggest you drive to Key West Wednesday night and then you will have all day Thursday to spend in Key West.
Youíll have to leave relatively early on Friday morning to be sure you catch your cruise at 3:00. As others have mentioned itís a two lane road for long stretches getting to and from Miami and if there are any problems, traffic can be backed up for awhile.

Suggestions for things to do in Key West:
Hemingway House
Audubon House
Key West Lighthouse
Truman Little White House
Butterfly Conservatory
Walk up and down Duval grab a drink and people watch

Food:
My Two Friends Patio Restaurant on Front Street has good food for reasonable prices
There are quite a few restaurants by the marina that have good local seafood A&B Lobster House and Conch Republic Seafood are two
BOs Fish Wagon on Caroline looks like a dive but has good fresh fish

Bars:
Too many to mention, but some favorites are:
Waterfront Brewery
First Flight Island Restaurant and Brewery
The Green Parrot
Sloppy Joeís

Beaches:
Fort Zachary Taylor is our favorite beach, very good snorkeling
Smathers Beach, Higgs Beach have nice sand and activities

Sunset show at Mallory Square...Street performers, vendors, lots of people
Sunset at Fort Zachary Taylor...This is located in a Fl State Park with a beach area, the fort and a very nice place to view the sunset.
Sunset cruises...Plenty to chose from all kinds of vessels to go out and see the sunset.

We spend a lot of time in the Keys, The drive down is a beautiful drive. I never tire of looking out at the water and the beautiful colors.

Last edited by cgenster; Apr 26th, 2022 at 06:57 PM.
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Old Apr 26th, 2022, 09:04 PM
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Is 3:00 the ship’s departure time or all aboard time? Do you have a set boarding time? Will you have to park or turn in a rental car before boarding? When it comes to catching a flight or cruise, I am always anxious until we are at the airport or ship and checked in. However, it seems most people worry less and usually, everything works just fine.
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Old Apr 27th, 2022, 06:50 AM
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We have family (grown kids & their kids) who live and work in Key West, and I can attest to the traffic stoppage potential on that drive down from Miami. We've had times when we sailed right down (if you overlook normal traffic congestion in some places), and we've had times where we have sat on that road without moving for hours. This can happen if there is a fatal accident (sadly, not uncommon). So my advice is that you leave early in the morning on the way back just in case.

Down on Duvall, you'll no doubt see a lot of people walking around with drinks, including morning drunks. Especially cruise ship passengers, I suppose, and there are so many bars. A lot of scooter rentals, too, and you can guess how well (not) those mix with the drinking crowd. So do keep your eyes open as you step out into the street.

cgenster has some great suggestions. The Hemingway House, the Truman Little White House, and the Butterfly Conservatory are some of our favorites.
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Old Apr 27th, 2022, 08:48 AM
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Do you have to be back in Miami by 3pm in order to board a cruise ship? If so, then you would be crazy to attempt this trip.
You'd be cutting it way too close by leaving Key West "mid morning". As many others have said, traffic can be slow and unpredictable. There is no other road to take if there is an accident.
Besides, you would be so rushed getting down there and back, that you wouldn't be able to enjoy any of the sights.

If it were me, and I really wanted to see the Keys, I would do the following...
- Start your drive EARLY Thursday morning. Take some time to stop and enjoy the sights on the way down (Key Largo, Islamorada, ect).
- Arrive in Marathon mid-day. Get lunch and a hotel room.
- Drive over Seven Mile Bridge and spend the afternoon at Bahia Honda. Maybe go to Big Pine Key to see the Key Deer.
- Come back to Marathon for dinner, enjoy the sunset at Seven Mile Bridge, find a waterside bar for evening drinks/music
- Leave EARLY Friday morning for the drive back to Miami.
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