I didn’t mean to let so much time pass between the last post and this second one. You’ve already read about our trip from South Florida to Key West and today, I’m going to share with you our [just a little over] 24 hours in Key West! We arrived in Key West Saturday night, which I discussed in my last post so today will focus primarily on our day Sunday.
Over and over, Blue Heaven has been recommended to me as the breakfast spot. And, over and over, we have… not gone. We always say we’re going to and always have the best of intentions but in Key West, we really live life by the seat of our pants. This is really why visiting Blue Heaven hasn’t worked for us. We go where the wind pulls us and we don’t make plans when we are in Key West (side note: as a very-not-laid-back-person, this is huge for me). On this trip, we tried again and the wait was around an hour. While it’s a reasonable time to wait for what everyone promises is the best breakfast ever, our time in Key West is precious, so we decided we’ll try again next time. We know we’ll be back with another opportunity to try, and one of these times we’ll get there early enough to avoid the wait.
Rent a Scooter
This is our second time renting a scooter in Key West. We are obsessed and will probably always rent one from hereon out. Golf carts are also a popular rental if you have a bigger party. Do you need to rent a scooter or golf cart when visiting Key West? Nope, not at all! But it’s always so much fun. Key West is a 4×2 mile island. It’s small, but to see the entire island (especially in a short amount of time), a scooter is helpful. We always stay close to Duval Street, which can be farther from some of the other things we enjoy doing. With only 24 hours in Key West, getting to those attractions on a scooter is a breeze (literally).
If I’m being completely honest, driving around on a scooter as an attraction in itself. But here are some great places we stopped on this trip:
Key West Historic Seaport
At the Key West Historic Seaport, you can expect restaurants, bars, boutiques, art galleries, and more. It’s also the departure point for many tours, such as fishing, boating, and other water excursions. We love to come here, wander in the shops, and we typically eat lunch here at least once while we’re in town. This time, it was too early for lunch but we still enjoyed wandering. The Key West Historic Seaport is a great place for happy hour specials – many of the restaurants have great deals!
Smathers Beach is beautiful and I highly recommend visiting. It’s about a half a mile long, there’s tons of (free!) public parking, and there are a lot of rentals such as kayaks and beach chairs. My favorite part is how the palm trees line the length of the beach, we really don’t see that at our local beaches. I could go on and on about how beautiful Smathers Beach is, but I’ll let pictures do the talking.
However, there is a bit of a downside. While Smathers Beach is breathtakingly beautiful, sometimes it can smell. I wish there was a nicer way to say that, but it is what it is. Google will you it’s a result of seagrass from the ocean floor being released. While this is a good thing to make way for new growth, the seagrass eventually ends up on the shoreline. Eventually it piles up and starts to break down, releasing gasses, iodine, and salt. In other words, it stinks, and not much can be done about it. That’s the Google explanation; locals will tell you the smell is a result of humans dumping things into the ocean that they shouldn’t. I’ll let you decide which to believe.
Another thing to be aware of is that the price of the Florida Keys having the only living coral barrier reef in the continental US is that it keeps the sand from getting to shore. This is a fancy way of saying that the beaches are rocky. I am not trying to discourage you from the beach, but it’s helpful to have realistic expectations.
East Martello Museum
This is my favorite place to learn about Key West history. The location itself is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places because the building was a fort in the Civil War. No wars were ever fought there and as a result, the unfinished fort was abandoned. In 1950, the Key West Art and Historical Society worked hard to open Fort East Martello as a museum. The fort was restored to its original 1860s design.
Today, you can expect to see items from the Civil War, learn about the wrecking and cigar-manufacturing industries which shaped the Florida Keys, and learn about ghosts of Key West (my personal favorite part, and also what brought me there the first time we visited!) While learning about all of this history is a true highlight of the museum, the fort itself is reason enough to visit.
I wish I could come up with a more whimsical title for this to truly capture the magic that is Key West beyond your typical stops. I mentioned earlier that the scooter itself is an attraction, and it truly is. We enjoy riding around, looking at all of the houses that are uniquely decorated and designed, and just take in the island lifestyle.
After taking in the pit stops and side streets of Key West, we returned the scooter. We walked back to our hotel to freshen up just in time to watch a storm roll in from our balcony. Once the storm passed, we went back out for appetizers and a few drinks at Wicked Tuna.
We ended up at Smokin’ Tuna for an early dinner. Lucky for us, it was happy hour meaning many of their appetizers were half off. Our favorites were the ceviche and fried mahi. Seriously, so good! In my last post, I talked about how Fogarty’s is our go-to, and we will not step foot in Key West without going there. Well, Smokin’ Tuna is now being added to that list. This isn’t our first time at Smokin’ Tuna – we have stopped in many times for a drink and a show (there’s usually live music!) but this was our first time eating there. Plus, you cannot beat a half off deal!
Watch the Sunset at Mallory Square
We watch the sunset here every single time we are in Key West. On this night, we watched it from the pool at our hotel which was extra special. Every time we’ve visited, I watched the tourists enjoying the sunset from their hotel rooms and hotel pools and was always so jealous. So it was pretty special to be able to get to do that on this trip.
That was our 24 hours in Key West!
By no means is this a comprehensive list of all there is to do in Key West because I was just sharing what we did on this trip. For a more comprehensive list, refer to my ultimate guide here. Can you truly see Key West in 24 hours? That answer will vary depending on who you ask. My answer would be no, but for me, there’s never enough time in Key West. But we will never pass up an opportunity to visit Key West, even if it’s only 24 hours.