48 Hours in Key West: Make It Count

For many workers, vacation time is use-it-or-lose-it. So if you have a couple of days off you can take, don’t spend it on a staycation or doing chores around the house. Pack up for 48 hours of sun and fun in Key West. Why here? There are lots of exciting things to do, the weather is always great, the food is good, and it’s a quick trip from just about anywhere in the continental U.S., making it the ideal trip.

Where to Stay

While some folks like to pick the nicest hotel in town, think about how much time you actually plan on spending in your hotel room. If you relish the idea of relaxing in your room and enjoying hotel amenities like pools and spas, then there are definitely resorts on Key West for you. For a more secluded and intimate experience, book a bed and breakfast with a charming courtyard and home-cooked breakfasts. Other great options include the minimalism of NYAH Key West and the ocean-front balcony views of the Southernmost Beach Resort, and nearly everything in between. Many places offer amenities like happy hour, bike rentals, and on-site dining, so it’s easy to find something you love.

Get Out and Enjoy Key West

Many of the visitors to Key West love it so much for the outdoor activities. From swimming to snorkeling and fishing, you’ll never get bored. Check out All In Fishing Charters for half-day trips and full-day trips for snapper, grouper, tarpon, and more. Even if you don’t have your own fishing gear, you’re welcome on the boat and it will be provided to you. The captain and crew are dedicated to making sure everyone has a great time, whether you’re reef, wreck or deep water fishing.

Public beaches are a great way to go swimming and snorkeling if your hotel doesn’t have a pool. There are several in Key West, and while they are small, the scenery is gorgeous. Smathers is the most popular, and Dog Beach stands out because dogs are welcome there, too. The water is great for both swimming and snorkeling. If you want your choice of things to do, check out Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. In addition to swimming and snorkeling at the beach, there are trails for walking and biking, as well as a fishing jetty, and tours of the fort. Pack your picnic lunch or grab a light breakfast or lunch at the park’s outdoor cafe with plenty of seating.

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Other popular activities include the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, the Key West Lighthouse, Southernmost Point, and Truman’s Little White House. There’s also an aquarium, butterfly conservancy, and even a botanical garden.

For an even bigger adventure, book your ferry trip to Dry Tortugas National Park. Even inexperienced snorkelers can dive on coral reefs and shipwrecks in clear blue waters. You can also go kayaking, birdwatching, and tour the fort. Be sure to arrange for your ferry tickets well in advance, though, as there is only a single ferry from Key West to Dry Tortugas and it fills up fast!

Where to Eat

Key West is full of amazing restaurants, and among the best is Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant. From fish tacos to grilled lobster roll, conch fritters, and more, everything is made to order from the day’s catch. And with a side of fresh slaw, you can’t go wrong. Take your order to go or relax at their outdoor seating.

When you’re ready for something sweet, stop by Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Pie Shoppe for a freshly baked slice of key lime pie or a whole pie to take home and share. In addition, you can browse Kermit’s for a dizzying array of key lime-themed goodies, from cookies and candies to chutneys and relishes, to hand cream and lip balm, too!

Have a celebratory dinner at Little Pearl, where seafood paired with the ideal wine is their specialty. At Dante’s, they’ll cook your catch and serve it family-style so that you can share your great fishing success with your traveling companions. And because nearly everyone loves pizza, one of the best places to get it in Key West is Duetto’s, where they make their own fresh gelato, too. And fans of Jimmy Buffett won’t want to pass up a chance to visit the original Margaritaville Restaurant, where the crispy coconut shrimp, seafood mac and cheese, and Cuban sandwiches are perennial favorites.

Just 48 hours in Key West is enough to leave you feeling like you’ve truly had a chance to escape from the day to day grind. With all of the activities, great food, and sights to see, you’ll be eager to come back soon. And that’s the great thing about Key West! It’s so close and so easy to get to, planning your return trip is a piece of cake.

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