If you’re one of those folks for whom vacation time is pretty limited, you may be wondering where you can get the most return on your vacation planning. Key West is it. This charming island city at the southernmost end of the Florida Keys offers exciting adventures, fine dining that showcases creative local culinary stars, a variety of beaches and parks, cultural landmarks, and natural attractions. Because the island is so compact, everything is within easy reach so you can pack a lot of activities into just two or three days. Here’s a quick overview of some of the best Key West has to offer for a weekend itinerary.
Stay in Upscale Accommodations
Opals Key West Resort is centrally located near Duval Street and Mallory Square. Guests enjoy on-site dining and activities as well as shopping and beach access. The resort includes a luxurious pool, cocktail bar, and large marina. Get away from it all at the resort’s private beach. Seaside decor in the rooms is charming, while balconies allow you to make the most of bay or marina views.
Dine on Authentic Seafood Favorites
While in Old Town Key West, make sure to stop at Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant. This charming place offers many popular menu items that showcase local favorites like conch fritters and fish sandwiches. The grilled lobster roll is also extremely popular among locals and tourists, alike. Menu items are available to-go or for on-site dining at one of Eaton Stree’s outdoor tables, which are shaded by large umbrellas. It’s a much-loved destination for lunch and dinner.
Explore Through Legendary Snorkeling
Technically, Dry Tortugas National Park isn’t in Key West. But the ferry you need to take to get there leaves from Key West, making the park a popular destination among visitors. This mostly-underwater national park includes seven small islands, one of which is home to the Civil War-era Fort Jefferson. From historical tours to kayaking and birdwatching, there’s a lot to do above water. But underwater, the snorkeling is really the big draw. The relatively shallow and calm waters make it ideal for new and experienced snorkelers, and there are coral reefs, shipwrecks, and naval pilings to explore. Be sure to book your ferry tickets well in advance of your trip because space is limited.
Take a Sunset Cruise
There’s no doubt about it, Key West is a beautiful city. But seeing it from the sea is truly something else. Taking a sunset cruise where you get to see the highlights from a fresh perspective is a great way to increase your appreciation for Key West. Sunset cruises sail nightly and they showcase not only the jewel of the Florida Keys but engaging and informative tour guides who share unique insight on all things local, from the movers and shakers to the famous and infamous. Many boats offer music–some of them live–as well as light refreshments, including beer, wine, and cocktails.
Visit a Rum Distillery
The production of rum has had a long and storied history in this part of the country, and what better way to explore it than by a trip to Papa’s Pilar Rum Distillery. Although it evokes one of Key West’s most famous residents, it’s actually not affiliated with Ernest Hemingway’s estate. That said, the legend himself has a place of honor here, and the spirit of Hemingway is certainly reflected here. Located in what used to be a tobacco warehouse, the distillery offers guests a chance to not only see how rum is made but also sample some rum. And for those who are inclined, the distillery has a tasting room open to guests who are of age.
Enjoy World-Class Fishing
Book a charter fishing trip with All In Fishing Charters for one of the most exciting ways to spend a weekend in Key West. Choose half- or full-day trips where you can go deep water, reef or wreck fishing for grouper, snapper, and more. There’s no need to worry if you don’t have any experience; the fishing charter crew provides you with the gear you need and can offer pointers to novices. What’s more, if you make a great catch, there are several restaurants in Key West that will cook your catch so you can truly enjoy the results of your hard work and share it with your dining companions.
Visiting Key West for a weekend allows you to feel like you’ve spent far more than a few days away from home. High-end accommodations, locally influenced cuisine, and activities that showcase the best sand, sea, and sunshine you could ask for offer a memorable trip that will leave you wanting to return soon. And because it’s so close, you can. Make Key West your next weekend travel spot and see why it’s one of the most popular vacation destinations in the U.S.