Florida Keys

We extended our Memorial Day weekend so we could thoroughly enjoy a relaxing long weekend in the Keys.


Southernmost on the Beach

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on June 6, 2005

This is one of the few lodging options actually on the beach. Southernmost is a two-story, newly renovated motel. It is on the quiet, less touristy end of Duval, which means a good 2-mile walk to get to the Duval activities but less than a block to have your picture taken at the Southernmost Point.

It has a huge pool and easy access to a very small beach. The motel is part of a group of motels, so you have access to two other pools, Jacuzzis, and tiki bars. The hotel is also right next door to the Duval Beach Club, which is a inexpensive place to have a decent meal and drink on the beach.

Southernmost On The Beach
508 South St.
Florida Keys, Florida, 3040
(800) 354-4455

Damn Good Food To Go

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on May 27, 2005

This restaurant delivers from 7am until midnight, so wherever you are, poolside or on the beach, they will deliver. Not only are they convenient, but the food really is DAMN GOOD! Have a homemade cinnamon bun with a cafe con leche for breakfast or the mac-and-cheese bites and blackened grouper sandwich with a giant cookie for lunch.
Damn Good Food To Go
700 Front St.
Florida Keys, Florida
(305) 294-0011

Camille's Restaurant

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on May 27, 2005

They say they serve, "exotic family cooking with no boundaries," and I would have to agree that that about sums it up. I've only ever eaten breakfast at Camille's, but it is so fabulous that I have to stop in there every visit. The corn meal, blueberry, and pecan pancakes are divine, not to mention creative. The cafe con leche and Cuban toast are as traditional as it gets for South Florida, but equally as tasty as the exotic specialties. Camille's is a must for anyone’s visit to Key West!
Camille's
1202 Simonton Street
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 296-4811

Blue Heaven

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on June 8, 2005

Blue Heaven is located in the Bahama Village Marketplace in Key West. If you are interested in an alfresco dining experience (which, in Key West, usually involves dining with chickens), this is a fabulous place for great food. You can dine inside or out and select from a number (not a huge choice, but adequate) of homemade menu items.

We had breakfast inside since it was raining the day we went. We started with cafe con leche and homemade banana bread. Both were delicious! We each then had a breakfast tortilla that contained eggs, cheese, and a wonderfully fresh mix of salsa veggies. You could choose to mix in steak, shrimp, or sausage. We had one with shrimp and one with sausage, and I have to say that the sausage was homemade and gave the tortilla a real kick. Delish! We also shared a blueberry pancake with real maple syrup. It was, by far, the best pancake I've ever had. If there was a bit more selection on the breakfast menu, this would be a "very highly recommended."

See http://blueheavenkw.homestead.com/Blue_Heaven_Restaurant_Key_West.html.

Blue Heaven Restaurant
729 Thomas St
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 296-8666

Opera Italian Restaurant

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on July 7, 2005

The restaurant is very small to the point of almost feeling cramped. The food is exquisite, but portions are small. I found the appetizer menu to be quite limited; however, the pasta selections are all available as half portions as a starter.

The Lasagne Opera had a delicious blend of beef ragu and bechamel sauce. It was outrageously rich, so the small portion size was not a problem. We also had one of the nightly specials, which was a mushroom ravioli with creamy pink mushroom sauce. WOW! Divine! Really, really delicious.

The wine list was resonably sized for such a small place. I had no problem finding something to fit my needs. The chef, Andrea Benatti, makes his way to every table to make sure they enjoyed their meal. Nice touch.

http://www.operarestaurant.com/key-west-restaurants-opera-restaurant.html

Opera Italian Restaurant
613 Duval Street
Florida Keys, Florida
(305) 295-2705

Bahia Honda State Park

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on May 27, 2005

I am a native Floridian. I've lived all over Florida, specifically in Miami for the last 8 years, and this is BY FAR my favorite east coast beach in Florida. The water is crystal blue, the sand is a powdery white, and there are beautiful dunes and sea oats as far as the eye can see. In addition, the facilities are excellent.

I've never been to this beach when it was crowded. Although I'm sure it gets crowded, as it is frequently on the "Best Beach in the World" lists, I've only been at quieter times, when it is EXTREMELY relaxing and peaceful. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this beach.

Bahia Honda State Park
36850 Overseas Hwy, Mile Marker 37
Key West, Florida, 33043
(305) 872-3210

Ft. Zachary Taylor Beach

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on May 27, 2005

In my opinion, this is the best beach in Key West. People frequently go to Key West expecting to enjoy amazing beaches, but in reality, these are not the best beaches in the Keys (for a great beach, travel 30 minutes north to Bahia Honda State Park at MM 37). However, of the beaches in Key West, I like Ft. Zach the best.

There are beautiful trees with picnic tables scattered among them, lots of white sand, and (the best part!) really good snorkeling right off the beach. There is a minimal fee to get in the park (like $5/car load). There are great sunsets from the park, or watch the cruise ships go in and out.

Regardless of what you do at Ft. Zach, there is one major thing you need to know: It is a very rocky beach. Wear aqua socks so you can enjoy your visit.

Ft. Zachary Taylor Beach
P.O. Box 6560
Key West, 33041
(305) 292-6713

Boating

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on May 27, 2005

We rented a 25'Cobia for the day. It was a gorgeous day, beautiful and sunny, with calm waters. The ocean was like a lake.

The boat rental people gave us simple directions to a reef where we could snorkel. It was about 3 miles out and had a lighthouse sticking out of it, so it was easy to find. The snorkeling was AWESOME!!! Since we had the boat for the entire day, we snorkeled for a few hours, then just did some sightseeing.

All around, it was a wonderful day!

Key West Boat Rentals
617 Front Street
Florida Keys, Florida
(305) 294-2628

The Chicken Store

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on May 30, 2005

This is a very unique store unlike anything you've ever seen. Chickens are a big deal in Key West. As recently as 5 years ago, chickens were running around everywhere here. It was so cute and charming. It gave the inns a lot of character to be lying by the pool while a hen and her chicks were running around your pool chair.

Anyway, a couple of years back, the powers that be determined that chickens were a menace, so they began gathering and "disposing" of the chickens. Well, the city rose up to stop the slaughter of the chickens. It even got to the point that the chicken collection trucks were being vandalized and chickens were being freed when the workers weren't looking.

This store is a tribute 175-year-old city tradition of the chicken. The store has every chicken-related item imaginable, as well as live chickens caged and running free in the store. The chicken store is a must-see for any animal lover. Relax, enjoy, and pay tribute to the chicken!

http://www.thechickenstore.com/

Chicken Store
1229 Duval St
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 294-0070

801 Bourbon Bar Drag Show

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on May 30, 2005

If you are open-minded, the drag show at 801 is something to see! There is a very eclectic group here, both straight and gay, all having a lot of fun and enjoying the show. Sushi and the Girls perform at 9 and 11pm nightly.
801 Bourbon Bar Drag Show
801 Duval St.
Florida Keys, Florida, 33040
(305) 296-1992

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by ChrisfromMiami on June 6, 2005

This is a lovely, relaxing two-hour stop while in Key West. You begin the tour after buying your $10 ticket with a butterfly lesson. There is a movie for you to watch about the life cycle of a butterfly. It's very interesting and informative. After the movie, you start the tour of the greenhouse.

It is not a huge greenhouse, but there are so many butterflies that it will take 45 minutes or so to walk through only once (it was incredibly hot the day we went, or we would have walked through another time or two). There are hundreds of butterflies, beautiful plants, and birds in the greenhouse, along with a very relaxing little stream and turtles.

The last part of the greenhouse walks you through the butterfly nursery, where hundreds of cocoons envelope the next generation of greenhouse inhabitants. Since the adult lifespan of a butterfly is only 10 days, the nursery is a busy place.

After the greenhouse, you can visit the gift shop, which is full of everything that is butterflies. All in all, this was a very laid-back, relaxing, and fun activity for a rainy Key West day.

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
1316 Duval
Key West, Florida, 33040
(305) 296-2988

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j43327-Florida_Keys-Florida_Keys.html

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