Florida Keys Lost

I have heard of the magnificent Key West my entire life. Unfortunately, I should have visited years ago, before it lost its serenity. However, if you're into parties, topless gay beaches, snorkeling, fishing, and shopping, go to Key West.


Florida Keys Lost

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by susan alsup on April 27, 2005

I was more impressed with the chain of islands connecting the overseas highway than with Key West. From Miami, it took around 4 hours in light traffic to reach the end. I saw many places that looked non-commercialized, which is how I expected Key West to be. Lots of little fishing villages with craft shops and inexpensive fish shacks dotted the highway. Be sure to stop at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for a trip to an undersea park. You can explore on foot by the elevated boardwalk or tour by boat. Another great place to visit is The Dolphin Research Center in Marathon. The facility houses about 16 rescued dolphins, all lovable. It’s a must for everyone to do at least once.${QuickSuggestions} Key West is expensive, so contact the Chamber of Commerce for a discount coupon book. We had lots of discounts for everything we did, including restaurants and the trolley tour. For more info, see www.fla/keys.com. ${BestWay} Parking is a problem, so either stay in the old town and walk, or get more for your money by staying out a bit from the action. We chose one day to take the trolley and see everything at once. Parking at night is not as difficult. For traveling across the Overseas Highway, one would definitely need a car. However, a motorcycle would be a trip!

Best Western

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by susan alsup on April 27, 2005

The hotel was pleasant enough, but nothing spectacular. There were no balconies, which is a must for us. Rooms were small, with a tiny bathroom. However, the pool was great, with a tiki bar and lots of music. There was a restaurant next door, though it was not very good. Across the road was the water, which created a nice view, but, again, there was no balcony. Other than other hotels, there was not much else around.
Best Western Key Ambassador Resort Inn
3755 South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 296-3500

Fury Catamaran Snorkel/Scuba

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by susan alsup on April 27, 2005

We decided to venture out on a 3-hour snorkeling trip. I have severe problems with sea sickness, so I inquired about the catamaran. I was told by several locals that, due to the speed, there would be no problems.

My husband, two teenage daughters, and I left on the early sail. The scenery was spectacular, although the water was very murky. I did fine until the craft stopped. The boat began to sway and bob, and thus the onset of sea sickness hit me. I even tried to get into the water, but that was even worse.

Luckily, my family enjoyed themselves, which made the trip worth it. They saw barracudas, sharks, and brightly colored fish. I will remember to take Dramamine next time we snorkel.

Fury Catamarans
245 Front St
Key West, Florida, 33040
+1 305 294 8899; +1

Old Town Trolley Tours

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by susan alsup on April 27, 2005

We boarded by our hotel, BEST WESTERN, on Roosevelt Street. The temp was blazing, and we were all sporting sunburns. The trolley was comfortable and rather cool once we began moving.

The driver told about the history of Key West, and as we passed the historic homes of the rich and famous, he shared local stories of their adventures. We spent the entire day getting on and off to see these spots, shop, and eat. I was saddened to see how touristy the place seemed. The crowds were tremendous, the wait was long at many restaurants, and we were told that this was the slower season. Still, I tried to imagine the place 20 years ago, and it blew my mind! The homes were awesome, having withstood hurricanes and tropical storms. I suppose the homes weathered better than its owners, for they seemed to all have vanished.

Old Town Trolley Tours
6631 Maloney Ave.
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 296-6688

Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by susan alsup on April 27, 2005

This is a fun place to take children when they resent going to museums while on vacation. The artifacts are interesting, and there is enough history throughout to actually learn about the history of the area. I found the gift shop interesting, though unaffordable. I think everyone fantasizes about finding treasures and becoming rich. This brings home the reality of what it takes to do this and shows you it is not just luck.
Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum
200 Greene St
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 294-2633

Where are the Locals?

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by susan alsup on April 27, 2005

My overall impression of Key West was that it was too commercial. Every local I met was a newcomer with a northern accent. Gone were the old, weathered fishermen I expected to see. T-shirt rows were springing up everywhere, as were gay hotels and bars. I was concerned that my teenagers would see inappropriate things at night due to the extensive warnings given by visitors at the hotel. We avoided the downtown area as it began to get late and encountered no problems. I would have enjoyed the trip more had it just been my husband and I. However, under the circumstances, we had to be careful where we went.

I must describe the drive over to Key West as more fun than I imagined. I wish I had known this so that more time would have been allotted for the drive. I met many people who had lived there their entire life. They were friendly and interesting to talk to.


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