This article was created in partnership with Expedia.com, however, all opinions expressed are my own.
Located in the southernmost tip of the continental United States lies the island of Key West, the cultural hub of the Florida Keys.
A short 2-day visit to Key West gives visitors just enough time to relax on the beaches, explore the food scene, and experience the island’s nightlife. Click here to see many great Key West hotel options at Expedia.com for your weekend getaway.
One of the first stops that all visitors to Key West should make is a trip to the iconic Southernmost Point Buoy, which marks the southernmost point of the continental United States.
When Hurricane Irma ripped through the Florida Keys in the summer of 2017, a massive part of the buoy was destroyed. Fortunately, the landmark was restored a few months after the hurricane by artist Danny Acosta.
This monument is high on the list of many visitors to the island, so prepare to wait in a long line upon arrival.
Address: Whitehead St & South Street
Despite being a small island, Key West has several beaches including the popular Smather’s beach, the local Higgs Beach, and the pay-to-enter Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park and Beach.
With only a couple of days to visit the island, I opted to visit Higgs Beach due to its small size and local feel. Additionally, the beach offers a number of amenities including free parking, a popular Italian restaurant, kayaking, and snorkeling.
Address: 1000 Atlantic Boulevard
Key West Legal Rum Distillery
Key West is located a mere 90 miles from the shores of Cuba. Due to its close proximity to the country, Key West has been heavily influenced by Cuban cuisine and culture.
Key West Legal Rum Distillery is one of the many places on the island that embraces Cuban culture through its Mojito classes.
Trained in Cuba, the teachers at Key West Legal Rum Distillery share their knowledge and expertise of how to make a true Cuban mojito in their free classes. Participants are also welcome to join the class and make their own mojitos for a minimal fee.
Address: 105 Simonton Street
Explore the Key West Food Scene
One of the best ways to explore the culture of any city is to dive into the food scene.
A great way to explore the diversity of Key West’s food is to take a food tour. During my trip to the island, I took a tour with Key West Food Tours. On the tour, I explored a range of cuisines from fish tacos to Key West’s iconic Key Lime Pie.
A few other great food options in Key West include:
– Garbo’s Grill ($): This tiny husband-and-wife run food truck takes an innovative spin on tacos. The Korean BBQ taco is a must-try and is THE BEST Korean bbq taco I have ever eaten. Guy Fieri agreed that the taco was delicious and called it ‘the bomb’.
– Camille’s Kitchen ($$): Looking for a great breakfast at a restaurant that caters to the local crowd? Look no further than Camille’s Kitchen. I highly recommend trying the extremely fresh Crab Benedict.
– Flamingo Crossing ($): Known for their no-frills homemade ice cream, Flamingo Crossing has some of the best ice cream that the island has to offer.
– Latitudes ($$): Located a short boat ride away from Key West on the tiny private island of Sunset Key is Latitudes restaurant. Latitudes restaurant has astonishing sunset views and delicious cocktails.
Experience Night Life on Duval Street
– Sloppy Joe’s Bar: Sloppy Joe’s Bar is arguably one of the most well-known bars on the island. Known for hosting patrons such as Ernest Hemingway and Habana Joe, Sloppy Joe’s is a bar that every visitor to Key West must experience at least once.
– Rick’s Bar: Located directly across the street from Sloppy Joes, this open-air outdoor bar complex offers strong drinks. If you are looking for a rooftop bar that overlooks Duval Street, then Rick’s is the place to go.
– Willie T’s: Willie T’s is a festive bar plastered with dollar bills. The bar serves tropical drinks while live music plays in the background.
Have you ever been to Key West? What places would you recommend?