Misadventures in Key West

I have been trying to figure out a way to write this road trip report without sounding like a snob or a hippie (strange dichotomy I know, but trust me on this one) so in the end I think it just comes down to this Key West is not for me.

I blame myself.  Even as a seasoned travel from time to time even I pull a rookie mistake.

I didn’t do enough research before booking this trip, heck I didn’t do research after booking the trip either.  I looked into some restaurants and a couple of things to do, but I didn’t really dig around to find our more about Key West.

Rather than writing a post that is on the negative side, I am going to try another route (sort of).  Instead, I will tell you that I hold these things to be true:

[1] I will forever associate this color with Florida, as it truly is the color of the water and it is absolutely beautiful:

Florida-TurquoiseI was trying to think if there is any other place that I have traveled to where there is a color I would associate it to, and I cannot think of any.  This one I know I will never forget.

[2] If you love history (and I DO!) Key West is a fascinating place steeped in history, particularly travel history.  It was the site of the first American commercial international flight in 1927.  Also with the completion of the highway connecting the mainland of Florida to the keys, at one point in time you could travel by car from the Vermont-Canada border all the way to Key West, then hop a ferry to Havana, drive 125 miles across Cuba, catch another ferry to Yucatan and then continue up the Pan-American Highway (maybe continue up the coast of Mexico until you hit Highway 1 in California and then take it all the way up to the Washington-Canada border?) – amazing!  That is a road trip I would have LOVED to have taken!

[3] However the drive from Miami to Key West is four hours of crap and about 45 minutes of beautiful turquoise views. If you are from (or familiar with) the San Francisco Bay Area think of the worst part of El Camino Real for four hours.  The drive should normally take about three hours but with construction, a million lights and traffic, I am not sure that can happen.  We left from Ft. Lauderdale and it took us nearly six hours.  The coastal drive of Carmel and Big Sur; the drive up the Oregon coast are far superior than the Dixie Highway south.

[4] West Coast’s Dungeness crab kicks Florida’s stone crab ass any day of the week.  Sorry to say it, but I gave it a couple of tries and it just can’t compete.

Florida Stone Crab

Florida Stone Crab - looks yummy, but give me a dungeness any day!

[5] I will never stay in a cruise port unless I am on a cruise! I think this was the worst thing about our stay and something that could have been easily researched. Of the four days we were in Key West, three days found us facing a giant cruise boat from our window.  While I love cruises, I don’t love the over a thousand extra people trying to visit the same spots I am, trying to eat in the same restaurants I am, walking on the same streets I am unless, well, I am on a cruise and part of that crowd!  Key West is not a big place and the extra visitors are definitely noticeable.

Key West Cruise Boat[6] The frenchies baking up on croissants in Key West have a serious problem with butter. May seem strange to say, but you can have too much butter in a croissant and the two different places we sampled (from actual French bakers) were heavy on this ingredient.

[7] Private beaches are better than public ones.  This is probably a universal truth.

[8] I have had better Key Lime Pie in Los Angeles (Westin LAX The Daily Grill [I know, crazy!]!).

[9] When you wander away from the main streets (universal truth) you can find some amazing architecture in Key West. You can also find neighborhoods that remind you of Caribbean islands which is likely a result of the work initiated by the “father” of Key West Julius Stone who cleaned up Key West during a downtrodden time and attempted to create a New Bermuda.  It makes for great photos.

Key West Mural[10] The staff, store clerks, restaurant waiters and waitresses are extremely friendly despite being plied with tourists every single day of their life.  The towns folks and work force is amazingly nice and it was a pleasure to speak with whomever we crossed paths with.  Everything was open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and most everyone had a smile on their face despite that fact.

[11] Hot Tin Roof restaurant (at Ocean Key Resort, Zero Duval St.) rocks.  Not only is the chef pretty hunky, his food is excellent and I had a wonderful meal of ceviche made from local fish and a delicious pork shank (more on that on Friday).  Mr. Misadventures tried the other house specialty, paella.  And while we think Mr. Misadventure’s paella is still better, it was a damn fine number two!

Hot Tin Roof CevicheThat is it for this not-your-usual road trip report.  Instead of throwing more photos into this post I am posting some my favorite images all this week for my Photo of the Day.

How about you? Anyone else have any Key West stories to share?

About Andi Fisher

I'm a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. I love to travel via my stomach eating and seeking out local artisans to feature here. I'm a big supporter of the blogging community and love highlighting travel and food bloggers for you to meet.


  1. the picture of the ceviche looks good!

  2. Interesting. We were talking of going out that way for our Spring break. Looks like we’ll hit Disney AGAIN. Thanks for the review!

    • @Leanne, there are things for families to do, I would just recommend really researching before you choose to go and fly there rather than drive!

  3. Oh boy! When I went we flew in to Key West so that super convenient. That view of the cruise ship sucks. ack! I like how you still found some things to enjoy 🙂

  4. Elaine Miller says:

    I am here now and I love it! Thanks for the post. Huge dichotomy! Interesting, rich! So happy!

  5. I used to live in Florida but never went to Key West I lived a little farther north. I definently miss the beaches . I enjoyed going to the beach adn sitting on the boardwalk and looking out over the waves . Its so peaceful there. I hope to one day take my daughter there and show her where I grew up .

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