Last month I got into touch with island time, nice weather, beautiful scenery, good food and a relaxed chill atmosphere. Between accommodations, restaurant recommendations and excursions, Key West, Florida has a lot to offer to wet your bucket list travel destination appetite.
Bucket List Travel: Where to Stay in Key West
Chelsea House Hotel is a quaint hotel full of historic character in the little details of the structure. There are two buildings of hotel rooms at the Chelsea House Hotel, a pool and continental breakfast.
I loved that the hotel was within walking distance of many amenities, including Mallory Square but my favourite part was siting on the Southern style porch in one of the rocking chairs, the island feel taking over me.
Bucket List Travel: Where to Eat in Key West
With so much good food to choose from in Key West, where not to eat might be a better question.
Out of all the food, Camille’s Restaurant was a place I could see taking my family to for breakfast. It may have had something to do with the Godiva White Chocolate French Toast or simply, the family atmosphere, but either way I know all ages of my family would have been more than satisfied with full bellies leaving Camille’s.
2. Hogfish Bar & Grill
Between the pier-side atmosphere and the food, Hogfish Bar & Grill was the perfect combination for a night out with friends. We sampled blackened fish sliders, Mahi Tuna, Conch Salad and delicious battered Hogfish which I have never tried before but loved. Between the variety of samples, I have to say my absolute couldn’t stop myself favourite was the Dragon Shrimp.
If you are looking for great food and a night out in a very cool atmosphere, you must visit the Hogfish Bar & Grill.
3. The Stoned Crab
This is a multi-purpose location; The Stoned Crab is located on the Ibis Bay Resort where you not only surrounded by the beauty of the resort but the freshest seafood you will find.
Three Hands Fish
The food isn’t just delicious, it’s the thought process that goes into it before it reaches patrons tables. There’s a reason The Stoned Crab has the freshest Seafood in key West, it’s the Three Hands Fish rule. The Stoned Crab respects and sustains marine life and buys locally with the intent to only pass through 3 pairs of hands by the time it reaches your plate, the fisherman, the fillet/cook and you.
I spent time talking with Paul, the owner of The Stoned Crab and was impressed by his commitment and knowledge in the industry. What I thought was an added touch was feeding the Nurse Sharks right off the dock before we went Night Kayaking at Ibis Bay Resort.
4. Old Town Mexican
Besides the delicious Mexican food that you must eat; Old Town Mexican is where I found the best Key Lime Pie (in my opinion). I mean, meringue just gets me but the cool (almost frozen) lime pie was the perfect combination and density of flavours.
There is a bit of a controversy in the Keys about the proper way to do Key Lime Pie; some say meringue and some say whipped cream but my personal preference after trying Key Lime Pie at several locations on the hunt for the best, was this slice of heaven. If you are looking for your bucket list travel destination for dessert, this is it.
Bucket List Travel: Things to Do in Key West
1. Night Kayaking
For the first time, I kayaked at night with a glass bottom LED kayak and it was a very cool experience. We boarded the kayaks at Ibis Bay Resort after a delicious seafood meal at The Stoned Crab, across the dock.
The water was shallow, making it easier to see marine life under the kayak from sea cucumbers, urchins, crabs and jelly fish. We kayaked over a deep ridge where some in our group saw Barracuda and Nurse Sharks, and by mangroves where cranes were sleeping.
I have to admit I stepped outside my comfort zone on this activity but enjoyed seeing marine life from a unique perspective.
2. Mallory Square
Mallory Square is also right by the port where all the cruise ships come in and excursions for the more adventurous type. Be-it catamaran, snorkeling, Scuba Diving, parasailing and more fun adventures, I suggest you take time to try something new in Key West.
3. Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
As a writer who spent time in several locations, calling Key West home for over ten years, Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is like a step back in time to the days spent in Key West with his family.
The characteristics throughout the home were lovely but my favourite was the nobel prize winners writing studio out back and the numerous cats who live out their lives there.
4. Adventure Travel in Key West
Although I have a terrible fear of heights, I convince myself to try something new wherever I go and what better than to try Parasailing with a view over Key West.
Both my friend Randa, of The Bewitchin Kitchen, and myself were equally as nervous when we decided to go parasailing for the first time but quickly found that fear to be unfounded. The team at Fury Water Adventures made us feel completely comfortable, secure and ready for adventure.
It was smooth sailing the moment we started going up in the air and a bit surreal how quiet everything was 400 feet above the water; there is nothing like this view over Key West.
Jet Ski Island Tour
The jet ski tour isn’t comparable to the parasailing tour; they are two completely separate excursions, both leaving me feeling equally giddy with a bit of an adrenaline rush.
I had an amazing time on the 90 minute Island Jet Ski Tour with our guide at Barefoot Billy’s. The rain came in but passed quickly, allowing us to get some fun wave jumping time a tour around the island of Key West and even some celebrity home spotting. I may be a little Kyle Chandler obsessed from the series Bloodline which, by the way, is all filmed in the Keys.
This isn’t my first time jet skiing, in fact I grew up riding them at our family cottage, but no matter how many times I ride a jet ski, I love it just as much as if it were the first time. That feeling was only kicked up a few notches by the scenery of Key West; it can’t be beat.
Key West has so much for couples and families to do that I can’t possibly list all of it in one article. If adventure travel is your game or you’re looking for something a little more laid back, like a family beach day at Fort Zachary Taylor Park, Key West has everything you are looking for and should be added to your bucket list travel destinations.
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Disclosure: I was provided a trip to Key West in exchange for an honest review of the location. All opinions are 100% my own and that of This Lil Piglet.