DID YOU KNOW- the Dry Tortugas National Park is the least visited place in North America?!?! Kind of crazy. I mean, I get it, it's hard to get to. You have 2 options- boat or plane. The ferry ride is an all day experience from Key West, and costs about $150. You leave at 8am from Key West, it takes 2.5 hrs, you get a few hours at the park, then another 2.5hrs of sailing time back. You do get meals on the boat. I think the seaplane option is the way to go, but I'm biased since that's what I did. I booked through Seaplane adventures website- $370 per person, 9 people on a plane, flew out of the Key West airport. We left at 2pm, a 30 min flight at 500ft, got about 2 hrs at the park which was the perfect amount of time (the park is pretty small), and were back before 6pm. At the park- there are 4 compost toilets, no food, no water- so BYO (Seaplane adventures actually provides you with water and snorkel gear). We explored the park, swam for awhile, then were back in Key West for dinner. It was a really cool experience- if you like National parks, forts, beautiful calm blue water, and fun seaplane rides this is an excursion for you!
So what else did I do in Key West?
Joe and I went with my brother and his gf, we all drove down from Ft Lauderdale Friday - took our time with a few stops in Key largo and Marathon for snacks at local bars. Made it to KW in time for happy hour at the Eden House hotel. This place was adorable- a small boutique about a 20min walk to Duval St/Mallory Square. We rented their apartment on the 2nd floor which had enough room for 4 people- full kitchen, a couple of decks, overlooking the pool (loved the pool). They had a restaurant Azur next door which served breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a bar by the pool. I recommend staying here if you are looking for a nicer, roomier option in Key West which is close to the action but not directly in it. About $500/night. After our complimentary drinks (bar is free from 4-5 daily), we cleaned up and headed out to the Sunset celebration in Mallory Square (a must do for Key west). Next was a large dock bar Schooners for some drinks, and dinner at 915 Duval. Love this restaurant, 2nd time I've been, one of the old beautiful houses on Duval converted into a restaurant. Sit outside! We had a late dinner, ate too much, were pretty wiped, so headed back to the hotel and enjoyed the pool and hot tub (open 24/7).
Day 2: We rented bikes ($10 each from the hotel) and biked to brunch at Blue Heaven (6 min ride)- another Key West staple. Such a cool place with live music, a big backyard with plenty of room to drink and wait for your table. They do not take reservations, so prepare to wait at least 45 minutes no matter when you arrive. The food and ambiance make the wait worth it! From there we biked to our Dry Tortugas excursion, which killed the rest of the afternoon. When we got back we grabbed margaritas at a place across the street from Angelina's- an italian spot we had reserved for dinner at 615 Duval. Angelina's has been in Key west for I think the waiter said at least 60 years, so they are doing something right. Really good food- check it out if you can. From there we had some really good cocktails at General Horseplay- back down Duval Street. From there we capped off the night at Garden of Eden- yet another staple of Key West- a rooftop clothing optional bar (the people watching = 100) go for at least the story.
The next morning we grabbed brunch at Azur next to the hotel (not the best- you do get a discount though- but that would be the only reason to go) and started the drive back to Ft Lauderdale. Before the flight one last stop at Southport raw bar (my staple of Ft Lauderdale) for Bimini bread and conch fritters (so so SO good).
The perfect long weekend in Key West!