Key West - Wildest of the Florida Keys
When you get to Key West, you're closer
to Cuba than to Miami. It has more of the Cuban flavor
than the other Florida Keys areas. The locals here are known as Conchs'
and you're actually in a foreign land, you're in the Conch Republic.
You’re now at Mile Marker 0, what a great place to start a Florida Keys vacation. The question is what to do first? Most people start with the Duval Crawl. This could take you all day and all night. Depends on your stamina.
Honestly, there is no way for you to experience all Key West has to offer if you are here for just a week.
This is the Land of Lunches. So many restaurants ,bistros’ sidewalk cafe’s, raw bars, and bars to choose from. You know I haven’t found one yet that I didn’t like. Over the years I have eaten at almost every restaurant and bar down here. I'm hooked on the flavors of our tropical fruits such as key limes and mangos that are used in lots of the recipes.
Do you like water sports ? Pick your poison. From Parasailing to sailing and wave runners to run about boats. We have kayaks and canoe’s. You can even go water skiing if you like. The newest addition is Key West Electric Boat Rentals which I've not tried yet. It looks like lots of fun and a great way to travel around the island.
The absolute must to do is grab one of the boats or seaplanes that take you out to the Dry Tortugas National Park . It’s about 70 miles West of Key West. It’s interesting to walk around the old red brick fort, Fort Jefferson. It was built during the war but no shots were fired from there. Then it became a prison with the most famous prisoner being Dr.Samuel Mudd.
Snorkeling and diving at the Dry Tortugas is spectacular. Huge lobster, tons of tropical fish and lots of wrecks.
On my first trip to the Tortugas I got busted for taking lobster inside the park boundaries. When I came up a park ranger was at my boat. He took the twelve lobster that I had in the bag and released them. Then he gave me a ticket for $150.00 and took my net and tickle stick. After he left I motored outside the park and counted the lobster he hadn’t seen in the live well of the boat. This was many years ago and I didn’t know the rules at the Tortugas yet. I would NOT do this today. Honest!
This trip was back in the middle 80's. Long before the National Marine Sanctuary was established here, and certainly long before the Dry Tortugas was part of the National Marine Sanctuary.
A year later I got this official Government letter. It stated that I could come to a certain place and recover my confiscated items. Now it took me a little while to put this together. When I realized they were talking about my net and tickle stick, I laughed real loud. I let them keep them.
The ride down there and back is worth the trip even if the park wasn’t there to see.
There are plenty of Charter Boat Captains at Charter Boat Row when you decide to catch the big one. And for back country fishing, some of the worlds most famous Fishing Guides are in Key West. The Key West Harbor is known for the plentiful large Silver Kings, (Tarpon) that feed there during the season. Some of them are permanent residents there.
Froggies Glass Bottom Adventures is for those who want to see the reef and everything in between and not get wet. Several charters are available to take you out to have an encounter or just watch the Wild Dolphin. Another interesting thing to do is the sight seeing tours and sunset cruises by water. Those big Sailboats are the very best way to enjoy the sunset.
If you want to kayak around the islands on one of the Eco-tours we have that to offer as well. After all the touring around it may be time to go and enjoy one of our sandy beaches here in Key West.
Now that you've rested, there are lots more things to enjoy. The cemetery in Key West is like no other I highly recommend checking it out. Another unusual tour is “A Walk on the Wild Side” it’s a walking tour that will let you in on all the secrets from Key West’s past.
Fantasy Fest is celebrated here each year usually the last week in October. The parade is the highlight, it's on the last Saturday in October. The normal crowd for this event is now up to 80,000 revelers. You should try and get reservation on the rooftop of the La Concha for viewing the parade, it's the best!
Everyone has surely heard about Mel Fisher finding the Atocha treasure off Key West. Well the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum is a great way to see and even hold one of those gold bars.
I know the guy, Doug, who sets up all the auctions for the Atocha treasure. Many years ago he lived down the street from me. He knew I kept threatening to go find sunken treasure. One evening he came over for cocktails. He was carrying a dish towel. That rascal had a ten-pound gold bar from the Atocha in the towel. He brought it over for me to drool on. I held it for hours.
Have you been to the Ernest Hemingway House? If you go, check out those six toed cats. They just don’t look right.
Captain Tony’s is one of my favorite bars. Did you know it used to be an ice house and it doubled as a morgue.
Did you know that sponging was a thriving industry here, it began in the 1800's. Turtles were also hunted then farmed here as well.
The Sunset at Mallory Square is always great entertainment. One of the best acts down there is no more. Will Silver, the tight rope walker has retired and moved to the Carolinas. I don’t understand anyone wanting to leave the Florida Keys.
There are many many more attractions and events in Key West and the Florida Keys for me to tell you about in this web site and I will continue to do so. We haven’t even gotten to tattoos and clothes optional bars yet.
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