Parrots squawking while perched on the shoulders of a local. The sweet smell of smooth Key Lime pie evident around every corner. The bright, vivid colors of the hammocks and stores and pubs that line the streets. The sensational feeling on your shoulders from the warm breeze blowing off the Gulf Coast…or is that the Atlantic Ocean? You slowly take in all the excitement that is Key West, Florida. Located on the southernmost tip of the United States and 90 miles from Cuba, this island is conveniently surrounded by both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Keys with my longtime friend Jessica (of the blog Florabama) for my 19th birthday. This was my fourth time visiting and I’m eager for the next time I’m able to spend in the Keys. The relaxing vibe, kind locals, and beautiful scenery always entices me to want to come back.
You do not need to be a “mermaid” (aka a person who, when near any ocean or body of water, somehow always manages to be in the water) to enjoy the Keys. There are plenty of opportunities for fishing excursions, smooth sailing during a sunset while in a sailboat, shopping at the upscale shops and fun local trinkets stores, visiting Ernest Hemingway’s House and the six-toed cats, exploring the nightly attractions at Mallory Square, soaking in the history of the key, or eating at the fresh seafood or key lime pie shops that line the streets.
A popular place for cruise ships to port, be ready for a plethora of people roaming the island if you are visiting during peak season. On the bright side, striking up a conversation with a visitor or local is sure to make for a fun encounter.
After a long walk down Duval Street, one of the main streets in Key West that is lined with pubs, upscale shopping stores, touristy shops, and restaurants, we decided to buy a drink to renew our energy. As raw juice fans, we were eager to try the fresh juices at JuicE. The prices were far from friendly (a 16 oz juice was about $9) but for some good nutrition, we decided it was worth the extra money. And we were not disappointed. The juice “smoothies” were refreshing and tasty. I mean, how can a mango, peach, and banana smoothie taste bad?
Don’t forget to go down the side streets, for those can be the streets where you find the most unique items! And along the marina, there are more shops and restaurants that are sure to satisfy the seafood lover (or non-seafood lover). Just try not to make the mistake I did once. When ordering shrimp and chips one time, I politely asked the waitress if I could have fries instead of chips. Which then resulted in a lot of embarrassment on my part after I learned that “chips” are indeed fries, not potato chips. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Here are some of my favorite cute little shops along the way- more will be featured in Colorful Livin’ in Key West Florida Part Two.
If you are looking for a relaxing, yet entertaining getaway, then I would strongly recommend visiting Key West. Feel free to settle back and let the calming atmosphere and colorful culture refresh and ignite your soul in a place that is truly like no other.