Key West is a wonderfully relaxing destination for a weekend trip. It’s compact and easy to get to, and the weather is nearly always gorgeous. Whether you fly into Key West International Airport or drive south from Miami on the Overseas Highway, you’re just a few hours from sun, fun, and a few days worth memorializing on your IG feed forever.
Day One: the Food, the Beach, the History and Culture
Start your first day in Key West off on the right foot with a visit to La Creperie French Cafe. They serve sweet and savory crepes–of course–and strong coffee, and their patio seating is lovely, full of shade and charming greenery. From French-style omelets to croque monsieur, fruit salads, club sandwiches, and even gluten-free selections, dishes are adorned with freshly tossed greens and other seasonal accompaniments. For something fancy, add a glass of the house-made sangria for a beverage that tastes as amazing as it looks.
After a leisurely breakfast, you can explore one of Key West’s several public beaches. Although smaller than the beaches you may be used to, they’re still dotted with palm trees and lined with powdery white sand. The expansive views and gentle surf make for great photo ops as you sunbathe, swim, and snorkel. Like most beaches, they get more crowded as the day goes on so for the best views and your pick of spots, make the beach your first stop of the day.
Stop for lunch at Eaton Street Seafood Market and Restaurant. Their shaded seating area is the perfect place to cool off with a crab cake sandwich and grilled lobster roll. Don’t miss the conch ceviche and conch fritters for a truly local dish. The vintage vibe from the architecture of the building against the blue skies over Key West makes it a great place for selfies after you’ve Instagrammed your plate.
After lunch, make a stop at the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum. It’s fun to challenge your traveling companions to climb the 88 steps of the lighthouse with you, and then enjoy the panoramic views from the top. Tour the adjacent lighthouse keeper’s home for a glimpse of history in action. Or walk through the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Not only do you get the opportunity to wander through the screened-in butterfly habitat but these delicate creatures are so numerous they’re relatively easy to photograph with once-in-a-lifetime closeness. The conservatory is also home to exotic birds and local plants and flowers, many of which you won’t find anywhere else.
When it’s time for dinner, go casual with Sloppy Joe’s Bar or book a table at DJ’s Clam Shack. Then head up to Mallory Square at the end of Duval Street for the nightly Sunset Celebration. This is where tourists and locals alike gather with area vendors for a party that includes food, drink, performers, and more. It’s also one of the best places on Key West to take great sunset photos!
Day Two: the Fishing, the Shopping, the Nightlife
Get up bright and early and meet your fishing charter. This is one of the most popular activities in Key West, whether you’ve ever been fishing before or not. Local fishing charter boats offer half-day and full-day excursions for reef, wreck, deep water, and flats fishing. The available fish can vary by the time of year but you can be assured of a good time no matter what. Experienced fishing crews are there with all the gear you could need, including advice and helpful hints if you need them.
Head back to Duval Street to spend the afternoon walking along some of the best shopping Key West has to offer. From art galleries to souvenir shops, specialty boutiques, and more, you’ll discover one-of-a-kind gifts, housewares, clothing, jewelry, art, and collectibles, plus locally distilled spirits, baked goods, and sweets. Don’t forget to recharge with an ice cream cone, beer, or even a cigar, depending on your preferences.
Make your last dinner in Key West a special one with a table at Grand Cafe on Duval Street. In this Victorian mansion, you’ll experience top-of-the-line service in a charming and elegant setting where specials include the Grand Cafe crab cakes served with key lime mustard, blackened mahi mahi, and sauteed snapper with a shrimp cream sauce. If you want to go all-out, order the Chef’s Tasting Plate, which includes shrimp, lobster, and filet mignon. Put off saying goodbye to Key West with a stop at the Little Room Jazz Club for a cocktail, glass of wine, or beer to wind down as you enjoy the nightly live music under soft lighting and candlelight.
Key West is a great destination for a memorable weekend away that’s worthy of sharing with all your followers on Instagram. You’ll have an amazing record of fresh seafood, fine dining, exciting activities, and notable cultural landmarks that will leave you wanting to return again soon.