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Key West Travel Guide

Key West Travel Guide

After spending a week on Key West, I finally began to figure out the island and a few things about it. We spend a lot of time out and about from paddle boarding (and PB yoga!), to figuring out where the best beaches are and just walking around downtown. So let's get started!

Daytime Activities

Paddle Boarding We did all of our paddle boarding through Lazy Dog in Key West, They operate out of Hurricane Hole, a marina on the island. Three of us did paddle board yoga and my friend and mom had never paddle boarded before. The yoga instructor gave them a quick paddle boarding lesson before heading out and they picked it up very quickly. Paddle boarding is very simple and it is a great activity for anyone who wants to do it. 

We loved paddle boarding and Lazy Dog so much that we went back the next day for a two hour tour (and this time we took my dad!). Lazy Dog has really cool tours because they don't just take you out to paddle around the ocean for a few hours and then go back. The guide actually leads you around to places they know they can find wildlife and uses a net to pick it out and pass it around to the group (without harming the animal, of course). We saw jellyfish, sea cucumbers, sponges, baby nurse sharks and much more. The guide was so knowledgable about all of the wildlife we found which made the tour much more fun. 

Deep Sea Fishing For a half day, my family did a Deep Sea Fishing Tour. On the boat, it was just my family and the owner of the boat, Ryon. My family does deep sea fishing trips anytime we go to Florida or Mexico but this trip was the best one we have ever been on. All together, we caught about 15 fish, one being a 6ft nurse shark (and four of those fish were mine :). We did a half day of fishing and still caught so many fish. After the trip, we took the fish home and cooked them for lunch! 

Walking around Downtown Key West is known for their downtown (Duval and Front Street) that is always lively. Downtown Key West is full of cute shops, restaurants and ice cream shops. Key West is actually home of the original Lilly Pulitzer store! If you like those colorful prints even in the slightest, you will fall in love at this adorable Lilly Pulitzer store. Buy a shift dress then wear it out one night on the town. Perfect Key West wear!

Turtle Hospital So the Turtle Hospital isn't actually in Key West but it's on Marathon Key, just about an hour north of Key West. You have to sign up for tours a few days in advance but it is so worth it! All of the turtles in the turtle hospital are rescues and are either releasable or non-releasable. This is determined based on the reason they were brought in. When I visited, they had about 50 turtles living at the Turtle Hospital. They even had baby turtles! 

Restaurants 

Sunset Pier This restaurant is perfect for a dinner out on a beautiful pier with the perfect view for the sunset (exactly as the name says). The dress is casual and it's what you think of when you think restaurant on the beach. The food is great! It is some bar food with, of course, lots of sea food. Almost anytime of day, you will see boats going in and out of the nearby marina. The sailboats against a beautiful sunset are the perfect combo for a flawless photo.

Sloppy Joe's A Key West must. It sits right on Duval St. so if you want to enjoy the nightlife of Key West and some great live music, Sloppy Joe's is the best hang out. If you're spending the day downtown, you can just stop in for an easy, delicious lunch.

Hog's Breath This is my absolute favorite restaurant in Key West. It was originally founded as a place for the founder and his friends to hang out after a day of fishing or sailing. After opening, many other fisherman and such came to hang out too. And even now, that's what the Hog's Breath is. Stop in on your way to or from the beach and have the catch of the day. 

Beaches

The beaches in Key West are known for being particularly rocky. Actually, Key West doesn't have sand on their beaches by nature. Any sand you see on their beaches is shipped in from Miami.

 The first beach we visited was Fort Zackary Taylor beach and we didn't love it. They had chairs and umbrellas for rent at a reasonable price but it wasn't worth the stay at that beach. It was extremely rocky and most people would wear their shoes into the water because of that. It made hanging out there very difficult.

My personal favorite beach in Key West was Smathers Beach. I spent about an hour here at sunset to get a few pictures and these were my favorite photos I took from the entire trip. The beach is beautiful and not rocky in the least. 

The rocks in the photo above are "the end" of Smathers Beach. Technically Smathers Beach continues on but nothing you would want to swim in or walk on.

We also spend a day at a beach on Marathon Key, Sombrero Beach. It was about a mile from the Turtle Hospital, so make it a day trip! This beach didn't have chairs or umbrellas but it was a great one to just hang out at all day. The water was almost clear and this beach was full of sand! 

I would go back to Key West in a heartbeat and I hope that if you're going to Key West, this is helpful. Let me know if you've been to Key West and what your favorite part was. Leave a comment!

Thank you so much for reading my travel guide and make sure to subscribe to get updates on future posts from TDD. 

xoxo, emily

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