Hi there Delish D’Liters! If you don’t already know, I’m obsessed with cruising, as mentioned in a previous post. Of all the places I’ve been, Key West is my FAVORITE U.S. cruise port. Key West, the southernmost city in the continental U.S., is the last in a chain of tiny tropical islands known as the Florida Keys. Compact, cozy and adorable, the city’s Old Town neighborhood is filled with cottages with gingerbread-topped porches, Victorian compounds, sidewalk cafes, cigar stands and T-shirt shops. Wandering around the streets of Key West, it becomes very easy to forget you’re still in the good ol’ USA. The vibe is so relaxed, you’d think you’re on some Caribbean island. Time stands still, the hustle and bustle of daily life melts away, and everyone is always smiling. It’s a truly magical place. It also happens to be known for 2 of my favorite foods: key lime pie, and conch!
This is where I’m retiring, it’s settled.
When disembarking your ship, you’ll be heading into Mallory Square, which features restaurants, shops and public restrooms.
For a fun and easy beach day, head to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. The entrance fee is about $5, and is only a 15 minute walk from the port. The beach offers sparkling blue and green waters, a snack bar, snorkel and chair rentals, shady picnic areas with grills and tables, and the best public restrooms and showers on the island. There is also the historic fort and a Civil War Museum. You can actually see your cruise ship from the beach!
This beach offers serene views, but be sure to bring water socks, as the beach is quite rocky.
After catching some rays, you MUST head down to the the Old Town district. Consider Duval Street the main thoroughfare. Popular bars, T-shirt and souvenir shops and art galleries line both sides of the street and can be found from the 200 block to the end near Mallory Square.
These are some of my favorite stops: For a stiff drink and an interesting decor, check out Captain Tony’s Saloon, and marvel at the endless array of bras hanging from the ceiling. It’s quite a sight. For an authentic slice of the original Key Lime Pie, visit the Key Lime Pie Factory. If there’s a product featuring key lime, these guys have it! Then stop by for a hilarious souvenir at one of the city’s many T-shirt shops. And finally, hit Mattheessen’s for some of the biggest cookies I’ve ever seen, and delish ice cream!
Conch fritters are a MUST for me whenever I’m in Key West. This place is called the Conch Republic, after all! These large sea snails are found in Caribbean waters, and as such, are a staple in Caribbean cuisines, especially places like Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. I always craved conch sandwiches when visiting Puerto Rico as a child, and still make it a point to eat it as many times as I can whenever I’m visiting. The best place in town for these delish fritters in the Conch Shack. Watch out for the chickens that roam the island, they’ll follow you around, looking for you to drop a bit of food their way! 🙂