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Just One Day – Key West

Key West Buoy Florida
Best things to do Key West

Just One Day in Key West – Best Things To Do

Another in our series of “Just One Day” destinations in Florida. The best things to do in Key West are here. After about 40 years of going there, we think we know – but Key West keeps changing as it has for the last 200 years.

We assume you have just a day to spend and we won’t waste a minute of your time.

It All Starts in the Morning

You know Key West is quirky (and that is generous!). Breakfast with your favorite chicken sounds reasonable, right? At the Blue Heaven chickens roam freely through the courtyard and the décor screams Key West.  Probably the most famous breakfast location in the Keys, but Sarabeth’s is also a good choice for early morning dining.

 

Get To Know Key West

It’s early, you just had breakfast. You only have one day and there are hundreds of sights to see. The only way to quickly discover the most famous locations is by taking the Conch Train Tour. Sound corny? Maybe so, but since 1958 this train has introduced Key West to millions of visitors. The Conch Train will assist you in getting around the island. Plus, all the juicy history of the island is detailed by your tour guide.

If you don’t learn to get around Key West quickly, you will spend several valuable hours figuring out how to get from one destination to another! You will see many places you will want to return to for a longer visit.

By late morning you will have caught a glimpse of most of the more famous attractions in Key West. You certainly know where Duval Street is by now. Head there for a walk to the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Birds and butterflies in their natural habitat is worth an hour of your time.

While you are at the south end of Duval, if you must, go to the southern most buoy and get your picture taken – every first timer does! 

Time for Lunch in Key West

While you are at this end of the island you can have lunch at Louie’s Backyard. This world famous restaurant overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and serves some 5-star cuisine. We recommend the Key West Pink Shrimp however they are serving them.

If you want something a little less formal, head back down Duval to DJ’s Clam Shack – the lobster roll is awesome! If you were here for more than a day, we would recommend Hogfish Grill on Stock Island – this unpretentious place has the best Hogfish Sandwich on earth! You will be coming back, so save this favorite!

The Choice is Yours

As you are probably aware, there are about 190 bars on this island. Many are world renown – mostly just because they are a bar in Key West! From this point we give you a choice of an attraction or a bar.

By now you are in the early afternoon and one choice would be to visit the Hemingway Home and Museum while you are in this part of the island. Hemingway’s home is just one block west. Probably one of the top five iconic destinations in Key West.

Just about four blocks north on Whitehead street is the oldest bar in Key West. The Green Parrot claims to have been around since 1890. Occasionally it seems some of their patrons from that era may still be at the bar! Famous for their live entertainment at night and the colorful locals, the Green Parrot still under performs – just as it has for over 100 years.

Just across the street from Hemingway’s is the old Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters. You can see one of the highest points in Key West by climbing the 88 stairs to the top. Of course, Jimmy Buffet is as famous as the lighthouse and his bar is over on Duval Street a few blocks north. Margaritaville is the bar that started the brand for Jimmy. Your choice!

Your next choice is either Fort Zachary Taylor (due west) or keep heading north on Duval Street to the most famous bar in Key West, Sloppy Joe’s. By this time in the afternoon, Zachary Taylor is a five block walk. Sloppy Joe’s will have bands playing and cool cocktails. Does this make your choice easier? Note that on the way to Sloppy’s you will pass some of our favorite haunts like The Bull, The Smokin’ Tuna Saloon and Irish Kevin’s.

It must be getting near sunset. No attraction in Key West draws more people than Mallory Square at sunset. The sun’s demise for the day is the big attraction, but the dozen or so entertainers get their share of action. Some of the performers have been doing shows at sunset for decades. The lively atmosphere starts about an hour before sunset and lasts about an hour after.

More Choices for Dinner in Key West

You should be at the north end of the island. Front St. runs east and west and you cross it on your way to Mallory Square. Our choice for dinner would be A&B Lobster House. For over 70 years A&B has been overlooking the marina serving upscale food to locals and travelers alike. Exceptional seafood is what the A&B is known for.

If you didn’t choose Louie’s Backyard for lunch, dinner is another excellent choice. For less formal dining, we like the Conch Republic Seafood Company at the marina. Finally, if you can get in, we suggest Santiago’s Bodega on Petronia St. on the west side of the island. The laid back atmosphere and ala carte menu at the Bodega meets our taste. Reservations at Santiago’s Bodega can be difficult unless made weeks in advance.

That’s our day of things to do in Key West. There are many attractions in Key West. You can find out many more things to do in Key West at the links below. Most of all we recommend fun – that is the best thing to do in Key West!

Key West – The Journey, The Experience.

Ten Things You Must Do in Key West

The Florida Keys and Key West – A Traveler’s Primer

For More of Our One Day Series –

Just One Day in St. Augustine, Florida

Just One Day in Clearwater Beach, Florida

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