The Best of Key West, Florida

best of key west

It’s easy to assume that Key West is little more than a three-mile long bar. That’s not entirely inaccurate but there’s much more to see in this incredible island paradise than most visitors ever consider. Here’s a brief guide to traveling the U.S.’s southernmost outpost like a local.


Hemingway House

With more bars per square mile than almost anywhere in the country, it’s tempting to skip the cultural attractions. But don’t miss Hemingway House which provides the perfect primer, not just on Ernest Hemingway the man, but on Key West’s fascinating history as a whole. It’s an ideal starting point for any first-time visit to the island.


Dry Tortugas National Park

For something seriously different, check out the Jetpack Adventure from the folks at Cool Key West. Their hydro-powered jetpacks provide an experience that’s one part James Bond and two parts Superman — allowing riders to literally fly on a stream of water.

To escape the maddening crowds, hop the ferry or float plane to Dry Tortugas National Park. At more than 70 miles from Key West, this stunning island is the most remote national park in the United States. Home to a 19th-century fort and some of the best snorkeling in the clearest waters in the country, it’s a marine lover’s dream. Every day, the park service allows less than a dozen visitors to overnight on the island and camp under the stars.


For an authentic slice of the Florida Keys (and of the way Key West used to be), your first stop should be just over the bridge to Stock Island. It’s rough, brash, and full of legitimate Keys residents wiling away the daylight hours on their boats, beer in hand. Stop at Hogfish Bar and Grill where locals flock for lunch and dinner. It’s a no-frills joint that’s almost impossible to find if you don’t know it’s there. Chances are good you won’t see a single tourist here.

Hogfish Bar and Grill

Back in Key West proper, check out Blue Heaven. Visitors dine al fresco at this rustic eatery with families of roosters beneath their chairs and live music playing almost every hour of the day. It’s a staple of the island’s breakfast scene when the wait can sometimes be more than an hour. But it’s worth every minute because, frankly, every last thing on the menu is amazing. Most noteworthy is their BLT Eggs Benedict with fresh Florida lobster, avocado, bacon, and a lime hollandaise sauce.

You can’t throw a beaded necklace without hitting a watering hole in Key West. But that makes it all too easy to get lost in the sea of tourist bars. Contrary to pop culture belief, the Keys aren’t all about Jimmy Buffet and pre-mixed frozen margaritas. Stop in at Green Parrot — arguably Key West’s best (or worst) dive bar that claims to be one of, if not the oldest, bar on the island. Whatever the truth, they’ve been serving liquor in the same building since 1890 and it’s likely that the inside of the place hasn’t been cleaned since. It’s a genuine, no-nonsense saloon in every sense of the word.


Westin Key West Resort & Marina

For some of the best sunset-watching, check out the waterfront Westin Key West Resort & Marina. For a true resort-style setting, it’s the best in Key West.

For a more local flavor, Eden House in historic Old Town was the island’s first hotel. Today, the renovated Art Deco property offers Key West’s hippest, most low-key accommodations. It’s “boutique” in every sense of the word — the sort of place that offers a complimentary beer at check-in and every guest is guaranteed a hammock.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)


Traveling Alone Can Be an Unforgettable Adventure with Contiki

Ever wanted to climb a volcano and make chocolate in the same trip? Check out Contiki and their curated trip to Ecuador.
Food & Drink

The Best Hot Toddy Recipe in the Observable Universe

Here's a video guide on how to make a hot toddy and the history behind this delicious hot cocktail.

6 Best U.S. National Parks to Visit in the Winter

Smaller crowds at some of the more popular parks are just one of the benefits.

World’s First ‘Craft Beer Airline’ Scheduled to Takeoff from London

It's kind of like Hooters Air, but with better beer and less pantyhose.

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet? So get inspired.

The Ultimate Guide to a Road Trip Across Newfoundland

One of Canada’s most remote provinces is also one of the most spectacular places to visit within the massive country.

10 Best Travel Gifts for a Modern Gentleman Nomad

For the sophisticated gentleman traveler in your life, your holiday shopping begins here.

The Future of Luxury Air Travel Is Sleeping in the Cargo Hold

It should be far more luxurious than sleeping amid crated dogs and stacks of luggage.
Food & Drink

7 Best Tequila Bars in Mexico City

Jaime Salas, the national brand ambassador for Milagro, takes us on a tequila-drinking journey via the best bars in CDMX.

Locally Made Artisan Souvenirs Now Available in Airport Vending Machines

Shopping for 100-percent local artisan souvenirs is now as easy as buying a Snickers.

An Entire Swiss Village Could Become One Beautiful ‘Scattered Hotel’

Spend the night at an authentic, 19th-century Swiss village before it disappears forever.

Travel Like a Millionaire and Stay In Mansions for Free with this Home Swap Trick

Love Home Swap allows you to, well, home swap with the owners of mansions and luxurious villas around the world.

LAX’s Exclusive Private Suite Will Make You Love Waiting at the Airport

Now you can skate through the airport with nary a scuff on your fancy Chelsea boots.