Key West, Florida

I have always wanted to go all the way to Key West in Florida; the southernmost part of the USA.  From where we are staying in Tavernier near Key Largo, it is a 2 hour drive to Key West; we thought we’d drive to Key West and back in one day and do it as a day trip.  This worked out perfectly and we really enjoyed the time we were there.  I must admit I was a little bummed that I didn’t choose to spend this week in Key West since it had so much to see and do but I think given the number of tourists it would be harder to find peace and quiet.  After such a busy time in Orlando, we really did need some rest time.  Patrick is very keen to have a day ‘in’ (that will be added to our agenda asap!)

The drive to Key West and back was quite easy, says I the passenger.  The road is one lane most of the way but being the beginning of the main tourist season, it wasn’t too busy.  We passed over numerous bridges linking the many islands/keys and marvelled at the old elevated train line that is now in rack and ruin.  As we approached Key West, Steve spotted the military jets flying all around us. We spotted four jet altogether; they were really cool to watch.

We didn’t have much of an idea what we were going to do in Key West for the day but it evolved nicely, starting with a visit to the free Eco-Discovery Centre. 

Right next door to the centre was the Zachary Taylor State Historic Park. Costing $8 for us to enter, we paid the money, found a carpark and took off to see the abandoned military fort.

Following our self-tour of the fort we found a lovely spot to set up our picnic, under the pine trees, overlooking the beach.  The boys went for a swim and I walked along the beach checking out the huge amount of white dead coral pieces washed up on the shore.  I enjoyed some peace and quiet sitting at our picnic table whilst the guys swam and then was invaded by a cold wet trio! 

Back into the car, we headed to one of the most popular tourist attractions in Key West, the place marker for the ‘Southernmost Point in the USA’.  Everyone wants a photo with this marker so we waited our turn and then headed off down the street for a short walk since we had paid for 30 minutes of parking.  We saw the southernmost hotel, the southernmost house, the southernmost southernmost house and more! 

I have never seen so many manatee letterboxes in my life.  They are so cute.  My favourite manatee letterbox was one we passed onthe highway that was dressed in red Christmas attire!

Back in the car and this time we drove the entire length of Duval Street, the main tourist street in Key West.  What a great street.  This was why I wished we had more time in Key West, but I was the only one interested in seeing more of it so we pushed on to see the marina area.  With just 20 minutes of paid parking we quickly went through the Key Lime Shop and tried all their free samples of food and left with 4 free candies and 4 free taffy sweets in my bag and didn’t spend a dime. 

Across the road was the marina and we had a quick stop to appreciate the huge tarpon fish that gather in one spot to be fed every day. Bet that is a sight to see but we weren’t going to wait until 5pm to see it.

Steve was keen to hit the road so we set off up Highway One starting at Mile 0 back to Tavernier.  We made a quick pitstop at McDonalds in Key West and enjoyed icecreams and egg-nog milkshakes.  Yum!  Harris and I loved the egg-nog shakes, Steve liked it and Patrick hated it.  As we drove down the higway we stopped at a Veteran’s Memorial as we saw a large group of pelicans diving into the water to catch fish. With Steve’s binoculars we got a pretty good view of what they were doing but difficult to get a photo.  By the time we arrived home we were all ‘pooped’ and I was glad we had left-overs in the fridge for dinner. 

We had a quiet evening and enjoyed another game of ‘Heroica’, Harris’s new Lego game that he bought with money from our friends, the Beatons.  The boys have really enjoyed setting up the game and making new rules, which I struggle to keep up with.  Harris is particularly good at making rules that seem to suit him the best!


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