Irma may have wreaked havoc all throughout Florida’s beautiful chain of islands, but I’m happy to report that the Keys are back in business!
Last November I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Key West, Florida, with my Adventure Family. The weather was fabulous, debris from the hurricane was consolidated, and everyone had assumed normalcy in paradise!
But First, Coffee
For starters, my bestie (Nikki) and I flew out on a red-eye from San Diego to Miami on a Thursday. Landed early as… well you get it… and grabbed coffee straight away! I picked a cute spot that wasn’t too far from the airport and was somewhat along our route since we had a solid 3 hour + drive ahead of us. Nikki and I can’t survive without coffee – addiction? … oh most definitely.
Panther Coffee was adorable and so was the neighborhood. Panther Coffee is situated in the super trendy Arts District in Miami, Florida. Grab a cup of Joe and take a nice stroll to check out all of the amazing street art! I do recommend being in that neighborhood later than we were though… maybe closer to the time where people are in the neighborhood for work. We had at least one interesting encounter, and I needn’t say more.
After we got our coffee fix, we hopped on the road and set cruise control towards our tropical oasis. Along the way we definitely saw the turmoil that Irma had brought to the Keys – watch the short video below (apologies for my weird noises as I react to what I’m filming). Mind you, Irma struck land on 10 September 2017, and we were driving through on 10 November 2017. I can’t even begin to imagine what the true devastation must have looked like before people band together to clean up the mess.
The Florida Keys Are Back in Business!
But enough of the sad! Let’s get to the fun! And… more importantly… let’s get to the purpose of this post: The Florida Keys are Back in Business!
What did we do on our trip to Key West?
- We stayed at the Margaritaville Resort,
- Went deep sea fishing with Linda D Sportfishing,
- Flew over preserved waters to explore and snorkel around Fort Jefferson National Park, and
- Explored Key West’s mainland!
And, to top it all off, we did all of this in a place that had been devastated by a category 5 hurricane no more than 2 months prior!
MARGARITAVILLE RESORT, KEY WEST
So, you might be thinking to yourself, which resort should I stay at in Key West? Or you might be thinking, should I stay at a B&B instead?
There are many options to consider since the town thrives off tourism. Though I’ve only personally stayed at one place in Key West (Margaritaville Resort), I can assure you it’s a great option! The resort is located within walking distance of the majority of the main attractions in Key West:
- President Truman’s Little White House where the President would go on holiday during the cold winter months
- Capt Tony’s Saloon where Ernest Hemingway drank frequently (this is considered the original Sloppy Joe’s)
- The Custom House (museum) where you can walk amongst various cool art structures / exhibits
- Duval Street where there is tons of people watching to be had
- The Oldest House in Key West where you can tour the museum and walk the gardens for free
And if hanging out at the resort is your thing, then look no further! The resort is situated beautifully along the water! It’s clean, air conditioned, and has extremely friendly staff. Not to mention an awesome bar up above the pool with a gorgeous look out over the water.
The only negative I will add to this review is that cruise ships… massive cruise ships… dock just outside this resort. Imagine you’re looking out of my hotel room window, and the only thing you see is a gigantic cruise ship – no joke. That was the view from our room when we were checking out… so fortunately we weren’t stuck with that view for our entire trip.
DEEP SEA FISHING WITH LINDA D SPORTFISHING
An activity that cannot be passed up when planning your trip to the Keys is deep sea fishing! As much fun as we had touring Fort Jefferson National Park, scroll down for more on that, no experience topped deep sea fishing with Linda D Sportfishing!
We fished all day with the help of Captain Billy and his fearless companion Shaun, and were even pointed in the direction of an amazing restaurant that cooked our catch of the day! We didn’t have all of the fish cooked for us as that would’ve been absurd – just look at the amount of fish in that photo! Instead, the fish we didn’t eat were given to the locals for personal consumption – nothing went to waste!
For a more in-depth look at my deep sea fishing experience with Linda D Sport Fishing, follow this link: Deep Sea Fishing in the Florida Keys
TOURING FORT JEFFERSON, “DRY TORTUGAS”
Another activity that should ensure its position on your itinerary is a trip to Fort Jefferson, otherwise known as the “Dry Tortugas” for the islands lack of fresh water and perfect breeding grounds for majestic sea turtles.
Fort Jefferson National Park is one of the 10 LEAST visited historic sites in the United States! This means that the grounds are preserved almost exactly as they were when the fort hosted almost 2,000 people at its peak! No gates, no “please stay behind the rope” banter coming from a volunteer who is annoyed with the endless volume of tourists day in and day out, no do not touch signs posted everywhere… the only areas that are off-limits are those reserved for the park rangers who maintain the historic site.
You can even snorkel in the crystal clear blue waters that surround the fortress to observe all sorts of beautiful sea life! Mind you, there are areas that are off-limits to snorkelers, but they let you know where those areas are – and the areas are only off limits to preserve the sea life.
For a more in-depth look at touring Fort Jefferson National Park, follow this link: Touring Fort Jefferson “Dry Tortugas” National Park
KEY WEST MAINLAND
So, here’s where we could’ve done better on our trip: we should’ve done all of the mainland activities we wanted before the cruise ships arrived…
While we were able to get a picture at the Southernmost Point of the United States… we waited in a ridiculously long line for at least 15 minutes to do so. Worth it? I don’t think so. Had we gone before the cruise ships arrived I highly doubt there would’ve been a line at all. So go before the cruise ships arrive! That’s my strong advice.
Sadly that’s pretty much all there is to show for our day activities on the mainland. I would’ve liked to tour Hemingway’s House, but again… cruise ships…
On my return excursion to the Florida Keys, which is an absolute must, I will be sure to update this section!
Reminder to Just Say Yes!
And, more importantly as always, say yes to experiences that present themselves to you! Life is full of fun and wonder – don’t be stuck at home wondering what life could be like, should be like, would be like… drop that nonsense! Get out there, say yes, and never look back!
Aly’s Camera Choice
I’m in the market for the 15-30mm Pentax Lens so be on the lookout for when I post photos using that bad boy! Landscape and portrait photography are my passion. That being said, feel free to checkout the Pentax K-70 Body Only (silver) and upgrade your first lens choice!
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