I would love to be able to see the world. Unfortunately, my boss doesn’t see that happening anytime soon, and if he fired me so I’d have the time, it would severely limit the money I had. A few years ago, I discovered the next best thing. If I couldn’t see all of the world, then I would go somewhere that a lot of the world has seen: Key West, Florida.
Key West has a recorded history that goes back almost five centuries, meaning that when the United States finally became a country, people had been calling Key West home for 150 years. These people first were the explorers from Europe, followed by fisherman and sailors from New England and the Bahamas, sponge divers from Italy, cigar makers from Cuba, and artists, musicians, writers and chefs from all around the globe.
This influence can be seen on every block, and each time I go back, I try to discover a little more of it. There are walking tours that point out the architecture, museums that celebrate the various influences, brightly colored paintings hanging in the galleries, and so many Key West restaurants with menus that make you think you’ve visited a hundred different places.
Before I go, I decide what I want to explore when I get there, and by the time I’m done, I have several new ideas for my next trip. At the rate I’m going, I’m going to have to quit my job just so I have time to get it all done in my lifetime.
I wanted to do something special for the family vacation this year. Kids being kids, it can be hard to find something for everyone. One unbreakable rule is that no matter where we go, there has to be at least a pool and preferably a beach as well, so if someone is just too sullen to have fun with the rest of us, they can hang out there with one parent while the other plays tour guide. Kids also being kids, they thought there was nothing we could do to surprise them, so we decided to go somewhere they had never heard of before: Key West, Florida.
They tried hard to play it cool, but that vanished when we were checking into the hotel and a chicken ran right in front of us. They were excited and told the manager, who shocked them even more when he told them the chicken’s name and warned them that he – the rooster, not the manager – would probably be waking us up every morning around five. Sure enough, the next morning he was up before the sun. More surprisingly, the kids were up with him, watching him strut around the courtyard.
Everything we did after that in Key West was one surprise after another. They had never been to a tropical island before and were overwhelmed by all of the plants and flowers. Their picky eating habits disappeared and they tried key lime pie, fresh seafood and even conch fritters. And the only time anyone went to the beach was when we all did, so they could go snorkeling and see if they could find any of the buried treasure that helped make Key West famous.
We live in Ithaca, New York, and this past winter, our town achieved fifteen minutes of internet fame when our board of tourism replaced its typical web pages with links to the Florida Keys tourism board. When you’re buried under six feet of snow and the temperature is hovering in single digits, it’s pretty obvious that Key West is a better vacation spot than upstate New York.
As much as we would have liked to get away during this horrendous winter, between our kids being in school (when it wasn’t closed) and the airport being buried, we could do nothing but dream. That didn’t stop my husband from looking into what a vacation in Key West would be like. He was smart enough to look at times when all four of us could go, and that was when he made some surprising discoveries.
Discovery one was that there was plenty to do for everybody. Key West has a reputation as a party town, but we found several different activities that would keep us all busy. And when we didn’t want to be busy, there was always a beach to go to. Discovery two was that the average summer temperature in Key West is lower than other more “touristy” locations in Florida. We all talked about it and decided we would try something new this year.
We’re still undecided about flying in or driving down on the Overseas Highway, but no matter how we get there, we are already looking into planning our summer vacation by letting everyone pick one day where they get to choose what it is we do. With so much to choose from, we’re going to run out of days before we run out of options.
Every culture has its customs, every Caribbean island has its traditions, and Key West, Florida is no different. It truly has so much to offer that makes it a terrific island getaway and a leading choice for destination weddings, with Key West restaurants offering fresh seafood in beautiful outdoor dining areas. It offers history and architecture, live music and watersports, and enough to do to keep everyone entertained for a long time. It also has something that everyone else has, but nobody does nearly as well: the sunset.
In Key West, the sunset is more than just the difference between day and night. It is time for a celebration…to stop whatever it was that you were doing and be reminded that we are all part of something bigger. Every night the crowds gather. The most famous spot is Mallory Square, where you can find fire eaters and musicians, jugglers and magicians (and even trained cats!) all performing for you. Elsewhere on the island, there are waterfront bars and quiet beaches, all full of people taking a break from the rest of their lives, waiting for the sunset. When it does, you can hear the applause echo across the island.
Once the sun goes down, it is time for another Key West tradition to light up: the Duval Crawl. Known as the longest street in the world (it runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico) this is the night life capital of the world. Regardless of what type of bar you like, there will be something for everyone, from rowdy live music venues to quiet corners tucked among the trees. It is the steamy side of the celebration, and one that happens every night in old town Key West.
Key West, Florida is an island chock full of customs and traditions. From an abundance of musicians, local performers and artists, the island has a lot of culture to offer tourists. Whether planning a family vacation or an individual retreat, Key West has activities to offer everyone.
Traditions in Key West include all you can expect of any island, but with a unique twist. From the views to the local night life, the island has much to provide. From dining at some of the world’s best restaurants serving up some of the best island cuisine to festivals, such as the sunset festival held every night in Mallory Square, this island will intrigue you.
Mallory Square is a great place to visit as is sits on the harbor and has much history to behold. The Custom House has been overlooking Mallory’s historic port since 1891. Today, the Custom House is fully restored and has been declared a national historic landmark. Previously serving as a post office, customs office and district court, this beautiful landmark now houses an award-winning museum and headquarters for the Key West Art & Historical Society. With two floors of art exhibitions and local history, this is a “must-do” on the list for many tourists.
From beautiful sun-kissed beaches, tropical clear blue water, delectable local seafood, and an intriguing nightlife, when you visit Key West, Florida, you will experience for yourself why the culture and tradition of the island attracts both return visitors and new travelers alike each year.
When it comes time to take that glorious vacation you have been dreaming about for the entire year, you certainly want to make sure you are prepared before you depart from your hometown. Island vacations are very fun, relaxing and full of entertainment, but if you forget some essentials, it could end up costing you big time!
When you are daydreaming about your vacation, you are probably not thinking about protecting your skin from the sun’s evil rays. You may enjoy feeling the warm sun on your skin. However, if you become sunburned, it can most definitely ruin your vacation. You see it all of the time in beach communities. Just a few hours in the sun on your island vacation and you will be paying for it the rest of the time you are there. This is why sunscreen is such an important thing to remember. Most people think they can just purchase some at the hotel lobby if they forget it, but they probably do not realize it will cost you up to three times its normal price because you are in a tourist town. If you are made of money, this may not affect your decision to remember to bring sunscreen, but if you are like most people, it will certainly help if you remember.
Your island vacation should be a fun and enjoyable experience instead of a painful time you wish to forget! Pack that sunscreen and make sure you reapply every hour or so because you are very close to the equator.
When you think of island vacations, you probably think of being stuck on a deserted island with no access to the internet or the outside world. This is not always the case! Unless you survive a plane crash and somehow wash ashore a tropical island paradise with mystical creatures, you will probably have access to basic resources in order to survive and absolutely enjoy your vacation! However, there are some eco-resorts that have limited amounts of electricity, no televisions and basic living quarters for those of you who want to be green and somewhat live off the land. If you are anything like me, you will want your vacation to be decked out lavishly, with numerous amenities to extend your vacation in order to enjoy.
Island vacations are not supposed to be stressful. There is no need to make an itinerary for each day you are there. Simply do what the locals do and be on “island time.” This means you have nowhere to be and all day to get there. If you are the planning type, you will probably take a day or two to adjust to being so “careless” with your time. Give it a couple days and you will get the hang of it.
The main thing many people look forward to on their island vacations is the fresh seafood available around every single corner. The food just does not get any fresher than being caught that morning and served that evening.
It’s is almost that time of the year! A time to have some well-deserved time off for all of the hard work you did all year long. Since most people earn one or two weeks off a year, it is important to get as much out of your vacation as possible. Some people decide to vacation near or at home, but if you are planning a destination vacation, it is highly important to make sure your vacation will be the most rewarding and plan it out before it commences.
If you are you are planning an activity-filled vacation, it is especially important to schedule each activity to ensure you will have the appropriate amount of time to fit everything in before having to return to your daily life. One way to plan your activities is to understand exactly what activities are available. The internet is a great resource for this. For example, if your destination vacation location is Key West, Florida, you can go to http://www.keywestchamber.org and there are informational pages such as Places to Stay, Events and Festivals and Things to Do. The Chamber of Commerce may also be able to provide you with discount and coupon booklets to help you save money. Other resources, such as Visitor Centers, are great for tourists to gather information on the destination of their choice.
If you are having a hard time planning out your vacation, try going to your local travel agency to have any questions you may have answered. You can also discuss what vacation packages are available for the locations you are interested in.
However you plan out your vacation, have in mind ahead of time exactly how you want to spend your time and you will enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
Many people choose tropical locations for the annual vacations. There is no better feeling in the world than getting to that tropical paradise, being able to put up your feet and relaxing as much as you want. There are no worries about work and certainly no one bothering you about bringing your trash can in from the curb! This is a great time to enjoy having nothing to do at all. Key West, Florida is a great vacation destination because it has all of the perks of the Caribbean, but without being outside of the United States. Here you can enjoy the safety of being in the United States while experiencing the crystal clear blue waters of the Caribbean. It is the best of both worlds for sure!
There will be many things to do while you are vacationing in Key West, Florida. Some of these activities are for people who want to go on adventures like offshore fishing, boating tours, dolphin watching or scuba diving. Other activities require very little energy like lying on the beach, fine dining, receiving a massage or floating in the resort’s pool. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to lather yourself up with sunscreen! A sunburn is the last thing you want to experience in this gorgeous island paradise!
When visiting Key West, Florida, there is no hustle and bustle of large cities. Take your time to see what this city has to offer since you are in no rush. You may decide you’d like to come back again next year.
When most people think about vacationing, we think of an exotic, fun-filled adventure. We picture a beautiful, remote land with sun, sea and sand. This picture we preconceive is an island. Island vacationing is one of the most relaxing, and exclusive places we can imagine.
When planning vacations, most of us can close our eyes and see a paradise that was meant just for us to see. This may be a land full of enticing landscapes and beautiful wildlife, or a place where no one else was meant to experience. Not many people realize you can obtain this type of wondrous vacation right here in our homeland. This place is called Key West, Florida. As one of the most southern points in the US, Key West has the best of both worlds. Here, you can experience both a tropical sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean and in the same day, an exotic sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.
As the only continental location with a barrier reef, the Keys offer the most exclusive and memorable scuba diving. As you dive in the clear blue ocean water and become one with the tropical fish and colorful life of the sea, you will feel reborn as the person you were meant to be.
Now is the time to plan your vacation. A time to become one with the beauty the Earth was delegated to expose. Come to Key West, Florida and experience the East’s coasts own Eden.