The joke at our house is that our front door should be a revolving one. Both my husband and I have busy careers, plus we volunteer in our community. Our children are active as well, playing sports and joining clubs, and it is not uncommon that even in the summertime, we will go from early in the morning until late at night when all four of us will see each other at the same time.
Planning a family vacation around such chaos can be hectic, but that is why I try and stay on top of it with email alerts for travel deals. Additionally, I sneak in some research when I can on where good, unique destinations are. I figure if we only get a few days to travel as a family, I want to make sure it is something that can’t be replicated just anywhere. That was how we ended up on our first trip to Key West.
The stars aligned and there was a four day period my kids didn’t have anything planned and my husband I could take off a couple of days. It was a very early morning drive to the airport, but that meant we were choosing from several Key West restaurants for lunch that day. When we weren’t enjoying the fresh seafood, we were out on the water watching it swim around, and we got to spend a few stress-free days as a family.
I’m not sure when we’ll be lucky enough to have time to travel together again, but I was glad to discover that we could make a quick getaway to Key West, and I know for a fact that we’ll make it happen again.
My friends think my wife and I are crazy to go to a tropical island in the summertime. When I point out to them that they go north to the mountains in winter, of course, they say that’s because of all they can do. They can spend the day skiing and snowboarding, or they can lounge by the fireplace with a book. Well, that’s exactly why we go to Key West every summer.
Every morning, we decide on a scale of 1 to 10 how active we are feeling. A 1 means we are probably going to spend the day lounging by the pool, napping in the hammock, and finding one our favorite Key West restaurants for a long leisurely dinner. A 5 means we are going to head out and take a walk around the historic neighborhoods, enjoying the architecture, head down some streets we’ve never been on before, maybe spend the afternoon on a snorkel trip, and of course, enjoy a margarita or two.
Any day that’s a 9 usually starts with a swim in the ocean, followed by renting a paddle board for a few hours and then taking a kayak tour of the mangroves, where we can see some of the nature while getting in a great work out. That’s what we love about Key West. No matter what we wake up in the mood to do, it is there for us to do. I will say this. We’ve never had a day that we thought was a 10, and I’m not sure what we would do fulfill it, but I know for sure the next day would be a massage filled sundrenched lazy 1.
I love to travel whenever I can, so I’ve set up a few different notifications with various travel websites. Last week I got a deal on airfare and a hotel in Key West for a quick four day getaway, and I figured why not? The hotel had free Wi-Fi, which is all I need for work (ah, the joys of the telecommute!) so I dug out my spring clothes, packed a bag and headed off to the airport.
The trip was everything I needed to recharge my batteries after a long, cold winter. After sleeping in, I would take my computer down to the pool so I could enjoy the warm weather and my breakfast while I finished that day’s assignments. The lull of getting out to walk the streets, listen to live music and experience the fresh seafood and key lime pie at some of the Key West restaurants was motivation enough to make sure I worked quickly. With each last email sent, I was free to explore.
What really made the trip more special than other island vacations I’ve been on is the sense that this island is not just a man-made destination but a vibrant city with hundreds of years of history. I got a chance to meet a few locals and find out more about where they call home, and even indulged my inner child by going to the aquarium where I got to pet a live shark. The first thing I did when I got home was look at my calendar to see when I can go back there for more than just a few days.
My wife and I were looking over the holidays to plan a trip somewhere warm and tropical for March. We knew it was going to be another nasty winter and wanted to escape it for just a bit. Both of us wanted to visit someplace new, so we took the recommendation of friends and booked a trip for Key West, Florida.
We went in with pretty high expectations, and I have to say that not only were they met, most were exceeded, but none more than our experiences at the Key West restaurants. I guess we just figured that an island basically in the middle of the ocean that caters primarily to tourists would have serviceable predictable meals. Boy were we wrong! On multiple nights, we found ourselves having exceptional dining experiences. The menus were fresh and inventive, the seafood was some of the best I’d ever tasted, and the atmosphere, even in the nicest of restaurants, could be best described as “casual elegance.”
Just as surprising was the number of great meals we had at places that we’d least expect. Several times, we stopped in harbor side restaurants or little hole in the wall joints just to grab a quick bite to eat. Even in these places, it was evident that everyone took pride in what they were doing. Before the week was half over, we were already struggling, trying to decide if we should continue to visit new places or return to those that had already become our favorites. We settled for going to new places, but with promises to return to Key West as soon as we can.
While going on vacation sounds like a great idea, it’s just another thing to plan. It’s more decisions to make, it’s more lists to make, and more things to add to organize and arrange. Ugh! Well, don’t shy away from the idea, but rather choose a destination vacation. Destination vacations are package deals that have it all in one click! The place to pick is the Florida Keys. Tropical paradise awaits you. Everything is included; all you have to decide on is which island appeals to you.
Packages include airfare, hotel, and any activity that tickles your fancy. Want a big hotel with all the modern amenities? No problem…you can have it all with a hotel that has room service, concierge, restaurants, shops, spas, and shuttles. Or maybe you’d prefer a smaller more quaint hotel where luxury meets subtle Oceanside. Maybe you’d like to really spoil yourself and travel in style with all the luxuries. Fly first class, then pick the suite with the spa package.
The activities are abundant. Want to swim with the dolphins and snorkel with all the tropical fish? Or perhaps you’d like to scuba dive one of the ship wrecks. Would you enjoy fishing for marlin? How about parasailing? Do you want to nap on the beach under a big umbrella and sip on tropical cocktails? Maybe you have the kids along and you all can enjoy a sun-splashed day on the beach and in the surf. You can also take joy in the many splendors of the city perusing the museums, art galleries, and restaurants. The cuisine is simply wonderful with seafood, key lime pie, and all the island fare your palate could imagine.
Just point and click! See you there!