key west recommendations?

Old Nov 12th, 2012, 12:53 AM
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key west recommendations?

Hello all! We are heading to Key West in a few weeks for our first time, and would appreciate any/all recommendations you have for lunch, dinner, sights, things to do...we will have a car and look forward to seeing more of the keys during the week we're there, so anything you'd like to recommend, we're probably up for it! Thanks!
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 03:47 AM
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The Truman White House is instructive. It is hard to imagine how simply the President lived 60 years ago. The Edison and Ford winter houses in Fort Myers, should you be that way, are even more so: two of the richest men in the world spent the winter in houses that are so simple that a modern realtor would run screaming if asked to sell them.

I also strongly recommend the many Cuban grocery stores for lunches. One I remember was Five Brothers, but I don't think there are a lot of differences among them. They have sandwiches in several varieties and often/usually a hot dish or two as well. If you don't know Cuban food, it is savory rather than hot, much more like Spanish food than Mexican.

A car is likely to be pretty useless in Key West itself as most of what there is to see is best seen from the sidewalks, but it will be good for touring other areas.
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 04:36 AM
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If you drive north to mile marker 37.5 (I think), you'll be at Bahia Honda State Park. It's a lovely state park with one of the best beaches in the Keys.

In Key West there is a restaurant, B. O.'s Fishwagon. They serve the best fish sandwiches. It doesn't look like much and is very casual but a great place for a local sandwich and a beer.
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 06:19 AM
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Be sure to check out Louie's Backyard! Food and drinks are good and the view from the back deck - perfect!

http://louiesbackyard.com/
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 06:50 AM
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Agree that your feet are the best way to get around Key West. If you are interested in architecture, stop by the KW Visitor's Center and pick up a walking map. We found one with lots of information about various buildings.

Our favorite site was the Hemingway House. Be sure to take a guided tour (offered hourly, I believe.) Afterwards, you are welcome to wander the house and grounds on your own, so you can take a closer look at some of the items in the rooms that were mentioned on the tour--including all the great 6-toed cats!

We found a lot of over-priced, mediocre food in Key West, but one restaurant we did enjoy was "One Fish, Blue Fish" near Mallory Square. The service was very good, it wasn't jam-packed, the prices were reasonable and we thought the portions were generous. (The Caesar salad was enough for 2 people!)

I'll "ditto" the recommendation for Bahia Honda State Park. If it's warm enough for snorkeling, take one of their snorkel tours. Another beach we enjoyed was Sombrero Beach near Marathon. There were very few people there when we visited in early June and the beach (sand) was nice.
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 07:24 AM
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If you're driving from Homestead, Everglades National Park is handy. We enjoyed the short hike in Anhinga: http://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/anhinga-trail.htm
From there we enjoyed John Pennecamp and then Bahia HOnda State Park. The drive from Key Largo to Key West is just beautiful!
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 09:59 AM
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ttt
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 10:54 AM
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"The drive from Key Largo to Key West is just beautiful!"

Absolutely, but expect it to take twice as long as it would on the mainland to cover the same distances.

You will want to stop and gawk, and there are long bridges that are only two lane.
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Check out http://www.keywesting.com for the inside scoop on Key West.

Happy travels!
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 12:14 PM
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If you are staying in Old Town Key West, plan to walk or rent bikes to get around (and just use the car for day trips to other parts of the Keys if you so choose). It's pretty small and parking could be hard to find. If you are staying in new town you may want to get a cab to old town or your lodging might have a shuttle--that way you avoid having to park.

I always enjoy doing a snorkel/kayak trip with Danger Charters. I also like the Butterfly Conservatory.
Here are some of my favorite places to eat/drink:
Cuban Coffee Queen-- (good cuban sandwich and cuban coffee)
Blue Heaven-- (it's a stop on the tourist track, but it's very Key West--outdoor dining with cats and chickens circulating around).
Schooner Wharf Bar--(fun, open air bar. Very laid back. Good mix of customers. Pretty much everybody goes there. Tourists/locals etc. Very Key Westy. Sometimes they have good bands)
Pepe's-- (great key lime pie)
Roof Top Cafe- (nice view--dining in the tree top if you eat outside. Food is good too)
Michael's-- (gets really busy--even in bar area. Good Key Lime Pie Martini)
Not sure if he's still there, as I haven't been paying attention to the KW trip reports, but Mr. Mojito which is an old fashioned car parked by the Westin during the Mallory Square sunset celebration--has good mojitos (and the other drinks looked good too).
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 03:32 PM
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Wow! I am thrilled with all the responses and suggestions! Thank you so much, everyone!
My husband would like to do some fishing -- does anyone have any experience with any of the charters in the area??
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 03:42 PM
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We took a half day charter, but my husband nor I can remember the name. What we did is walk around the marina at the time the boats were due back and observed the catch, the patrons, the captain and crew. We picked a boat that just had a captain and first mate, and reserved for the next day.

They were both friendly, professional and we caught fish, although it was all the mate's doing, we just reeled the fish in.

I apologize for not being able to remember the name.
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Old Nov 12th, 2012, 04:19 PM
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If you have time stop at Big Pine Key and visit the National Key Deer Refuge (approx. Mile 30). The key deer are unique to the area and worth seeing. Best around dusk.
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Old Nov 13th, 2012, 05:36 AM
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Check out my trip reports below:

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...t-184065-2.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-augustine.cfm
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Old Nov 13th, 2012, 06:33 AM
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I also recommend the Truman White House tour and the Ernest Hemingway house. Both tours are extremely interesting and fun.

I agree no car is necessary - I'd recommend bicycles or walking.

We also took one of the city trolley tours and really enjoyed it. It takes you all over the island, talks about the history and stories of the island.
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Old Nov 15th, 2012, 02:41 PM
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Louies Backyard, Blue Heaven, Grand Cafe, Conch Republic Seafood, El Meson de Pepe...you will enjoy the unique eateries. Oh yes, Pepe's lime pie. And no one has mentioned the every evening sunset ritual at Mallory Square parking lot. We enjoyed the butterfly conservancy and also the Aquarium.

Some debate about whether you want to enjoy the long drive down from Key Largo or fly directly, but if time of course enjoy the drive down.

Another trip report: http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...s-168718-2.cfm

Bill in Boston
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 02:38 PM
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Bookmarking
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Old Mar 8th, 2013, 05:45 AM
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We've never been on a fishing charter in Key West, but here's the one I'd use. I've met one of the captains (Greg) several times and have heard nothing but good comments about this charter.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kingb...724?ref=stream
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