Key West is greater than just a little bizarre…however in a great way. I imply, in 1982 they seceded from the US (for all of 5 minutes) protesting a border checkpoint. The first navy aggression concerned hitting an actor a naval uniform over the pinnacle with a stale loaf of Cuban bread. They name themselves “Conchs”, which is the slug of the ocean and greatest served deep fried. To not point out there are unfastened chickens working round all over the place!
Little marvel then, that you just’ll discover it simple stumble off the vacationer monitor and hunt down some really offbeat and distinctive issues to do in Key West.
We're all about bizarre right here at Wayfaring Views (the phallus museum in Reykjavik and the sewer museum in Paris come to thoughts). We’ve been to Key west and performed some bizarre stuff there. Nevertheless it’s been a minute since we visited, so we tapped into a few of our journey blogger associates to supply up some choices.
I additionally reached out to native resident Pony. Sure, that’s his actual identify. He and I met on the Camino de Santiago and we bonded whereas singing bawdy present tunes on the pilgrimage path. Pony is a hairdresser, Disney fanatic, comic and very long time Key West resident.
(This text incorporates affiliate hyperlinks. Which means that should you select to buy, I’ll make a small fee.)
The place to Keep in Key West
Key West has a variety of lodging, from conventional seashore resorts, to historic B&Bs to a floating apartment. So, you possibly can actually float your boat whereas reserving lodging in Key West.
However, e book early. Key West is a well-liked vacationer vacation spot and lodging isn’t low-cost. The sooner you e book, the higher your deal. And in case your journey plans are in any respect unsure, search for refundable room offers.
Have a look at the Southernmost Level Guesthouse for a very nice resort that's conveniently situated…however away from the noisy bar spots. The Hyatt Residence Windward Level has ocean view AND kitchenettes. And the Knowles B&B is a pleasant funds alternative (by Key West requirements) with a comfortable vibe, pool and breakfast included.
Why Strive These Distinctive Issues to do in Key West?
Certain, go to Mallory Sq. for sundown and have some grownup drinks on Duval Avenue and take your image at that “southernmost level” signal (however please don’t overlook and Hawaii and the entire US territories are literally additional south).
However you are able to do these issues and nonetheless find time for an off the overwhelmed path Key West trip, as a result of the island is small, clocking in at 7.2 sq. miles. You possibly can stroll from the northeast nook to the southwest nook in an hour and a half.
The island delights in being quirky, so it's best to lean into that tradition, make like a Conch and dig into hidden Key West
Off the Overwhelmed Path Key West Sights
What follows are our 13 ideas for how one can get off Duval and into the quirky aspect of the Keys.
1. Key West Cemetery
One of many extra creepy and strange issues to do in Key West includes a go to to town cemetery. It was based in 1847 following a hurricane that destroyed the earlier graveyard. To stop future flooding, they relocated it to Solares Hill. So, you possibly can go to the gravesites and get a little bit of a view on the similar time.
There are some very quirky gravestones in Key West, with the dearly departed proclaiming issues like “devoted fan of singer Julio Iglesias”, Admiral, Conch Republic Navy” and “I’m simply resting my eyes”.
It’s greatest to pair the cemetery go to with a motorcycle rental. This lets you discover the cemetery, but additionally do a circuit of the entire island. There are bike rental retailers throughout Key West, so you possibly can merely decide one which’s near your lodging. Otherwise you go to Island Bicycle, which is simply east of the cemetery.
2. Blue Heaven Rooster Cemetery
(Recommended by Lori from Travlinmad)
If you happen to’re trying to find the form of Key West that Jimmy Buffett sings about, with “a flashback form of crowd”, you’ll discover it on the inimitable Blue Heaven, one of many coolest and quirkiest locations within the Conch Republic.
It’s situated on Petronia Avenue, which was as soon as a makeshift neighborhood boxing ring. The likes of Ernest Hemingway himself spent many an evening right here preventing within the ring.
Right now, the Blue Heaven is a Key West treasure identified for its wonderful meals, every day stay music and backyard setting beneath the tree cover.
It wasn’t way back that chickens roamed freely beneath the tables, pecking close to your ft as you loved your dinner as they foraged for theirs. However they’ve since handed on. Within the nook close to the occasion stage you’ll discover the graves of many of those well-known layers and cocks, who've sadly crossed the poultry rainbow bridge. Make certain and take a look at the epitaphs — they’re virtually nearly as good as these within the Key West Cemetery!
Make certain and are available to Blue Heaven for breakfast (their Eggs Benedict is famend) or dinner, and don’t miss a slice of their mile-high Key Lime Pie.
3. Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum
Fisher was a lifelong diver and treasure hunter whose 17 12 months quest lastly hit pay dust in 1985. His salvage crew recovered $450 million in buried treasure simply offshore of the Key West shoreline.
The bounty got here from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha galleon, which sank throughout a hurricane in 1622.
You possibly can see numerous the products on show on the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. They've gold bars, chalices and jewellery together with displays on the Caribbean slave commerce. They're actively concerned in conservation work as nicely.
The museum is a enjoyable Key West attraction for historical past buffs, treasure hunters and would-be pirates.
4. Key West Wildlife Middle
The mission of this nonprofit group is to make sure the way forward for Key West’s various native wildlife by rescues, rehabilitation and (hopefully) releases.
They're notably energetic with wild birds, like brown pelicans. However in addition they have an association to do rescue and rehab for Key West’s loopy crew of feral chickens. The Middle additionally works with sea turtles, tortoises and marine mammals.
They provide public education schemes which embrace a nature path, freshwater pond, two aviaries and a few areas for observing the wild hen migrations.
This isn't a zoo, however it does supply a cool alternative to see the native wildlife. The Wildlife Middle is unquestionably an off the overwhelmed path Key West expertise individuals often discover it on advice of an area.
The Wildlife heart is free, however should you go to, please give them a donation.
5. Key West Martello Tower
The Key West Martello Tower is the place the Civil Conflict meets the women who lunch.
The tower is a relic of the weird political place that Key West took in the course of the civil warfare. It was the one southern metropolis that allied with the Federal authorities. The east and west Martello batteries had been constructed in 1863 to offer help for close by Fort Zach.
Maybe the laid again Key West vibe was at work, as a result of it took so lengthy to construct the towers, that they had been by no means truly put into service for the warfare. After biking by a number of makes use of, the West Tower has now turn out to be a part of the Key West Backyard Membership. So, you possibly can actually discover a hidden Key West historical past lurking amidst the orchids, roses and tropical bromeliads.
6. Books & Books
For a e book nerd like me, there may be nothing higher than killing an hour or two in an area indy bookstore. If you happen to love to do the identical, it's best to try Books & Books. This small indy chain began in Naples, Florida and so they got here to Key West within the mid oughts. If you're fortunate, you might even be capable of hang around with Judy Blume, as a result of she is a co-founder of the shop and infrequently works there.
Key West is a literary metropolis and Books & Books carries on that custom by curating employees pics and that includes native authors. The shop is a part of The Studios @ Key West, with is a nonprofit group on a mission to offer low price studio house for native artists and performers.
Enjoyable Actions to do in Key West
7. The Dry Tortugas
The Dry Tortugas isn’t precisely an off the overwhelmed path Key West exercise. Individuals learn about it and vacationers do take the boat journeys on the market. Nevertheless it’s value mentioning as a result of it is among the strangest, loneliest and loveliest nationwide parks within the US.
Building was began on the fort in 1846 and thirty years later it nonetheless wasn’t fairly completed. The unique intention was to offer a sophisticated put up for ships patrolling the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida. The fort by no means fulfilled its navy mission, however the port was used as a refueling station and jail (most notably housing John Wilkes Sales space’s doctor).
It’s value carving out time to do the day journey out to the island. You possibly can take a historical past tour of the fort after which snorkel round it’s edges. Ebook forward for the catamaran tour.
8. Hazard Charters
Hazard Constitution is among the native outfits really useful by Pony. They fee the uncommon full 5 stars from Journey Advisor. Their boats are 65-foot schooners designed to duplicate the basic skipjacks utilized by the wreckers and fishers who labored the Keys within the 19th century.
Their extra fashionable actions embrace sundown cruises, snorkel and kayak journeys. What’s cool about Hazard Charters is that they go into the Key West Nationwide Wildife Refuge, so you possibly can expertise each open water and the mangroves. This isn’t a booze cruise, however slightly an on-the-water journey for individuals who love nature.
9. Comedy Key West
Comedy Key West is the one comedy membership on the island. Along with the same old headliners, and locals like Pony, the membership additionally presents some uncommon comedy experiences. You possibly can strive their “paint ‘n’ chug” (as a result of they suppose that sipping is for wussies). This offbeat Key West exercise includes comedy, ingesting and moist paint. Due to course.
If you happen to suppose that you're hilarious, in addition they host an open mic night time on Tuesdays. And don’t miss the drunk spelling bee at Mary Ellen’s Bar, as a result of libations and exhausting to spell phrases are a recipe for the proper spit take.
10. Lazy Canine Kayak & Paddle
The proprietor of Lazy Canine has the suitable thought. Simply when she was on the prime of her recreation in a white collar career, she chucked all of it to turn out to be a Conch, writing about her transition within the e book, Millionaire in Flip Flops.
Her firm presents a wide range of kayak and SUP excursions, together with DIY excursions, guided eco excursions and moving into the backcountry.
Distinctive Locations to Eat (and Drink) in Key West
11. Retro Room (or Glitchcraft Cafe & Gameroom)
They name themselves the Retro Room, however the locals name them the Glitchcraft Cafe & Gameroom. They're fairly off the radar and don’t have a lot of an web presence. That makes them an altogether higher place for hiding out from among the vacationer crowds in Key West.
They provide a chill ambiance and 24 beers on faucet. Additionally they have trivia nights, board video games and motion figures.
12. Brothers Grocery
5 Brothers is an old style place that’s fashionable with the locals. They specialise in Cuban meals with an important cafe con leche and Cuban sandwiches. Their burgers and large empanadas are delish too.
Key West generally is a very costly place to eat, however 5 Brothers presents beneficiant parts, for an important worth.
13. Funky Rooster Espresso Home & Wine Bar
The Funky Rooster has loads happening. They're a espresso home, a wine bar and a retailer that includes regionally made artwork and clothes. The Funky Rooster is a social place and so they very intentionally don’t have public wifi.
Strive one of many tasty pastries or their kinda well-known smoothies. Or seize a glass of wine and sit on the porch, watching the world go by.
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