For years I have always been taking the same summer vacation. Problem is, so has apparently everyone else, and they all want to be there at the same time. The moments of relaxation have become so few and far between as the crowds have grown that it just hasn’t been worth it the last few years. This year I decided to do something radically different. Instead of heading north into the mountains, I decided to go south to Key West. I so made the right decision.
From the moment I switched planes and saw only a dozen other people flying to the southernmost island I knew I was in for a treat. Sure enough, when I checked in, the hotel clerk told me they were only at about half capacity. That meant I got to sit by the pool and not be bothered, have my choice of any of the Key West restaurants and not have to wait for a table, and got to know all of my bartenders on a first name basis in about two days’ time.
Naturally, when I got back to work and people asked where I went, they all said I must be crazy to go to Key West in the summertime. That was when I pointed out the average temperature down there had actually been less than what it was the same week at the resort I used to visit every year. Of course, now I wonder if I shouldn’t have told them that. I don’t want them crowding up Key West next year.
I’m not a fan of crowds, which can make going on vacation a little tricky. If I want to go somewhere during their slow season, I run the risk of places I want to visit not being open. It’s a trade-off I’ve been willing to make, but ever since I visited Key West, Florida, I realized it was one I didn’t have to worry about much anymore.
The busy time of the year down there runs basically from Christmas through Memorial Day, or so I’ve been told. I wouldn’t know from experience, but what I do know is that in July, I can walk into any of my favorite Key West restaurants for a great meal of fresh seafood. I can sit down at any of the bars I like to visit, get a seat up close to the live music, and probably end up getting to meet a local or two. I can pick my spot to watch the sunset without worrying about someone getting in my way, and I can take all the time in the world lounging by the pool with a good book, knowing nobody’s going to ask me if the seat next to me is taken.
It helps that, surprisingly enough, the weather there is not nearly as hot as you might think. When I compare the temperatures to other, much more crowded places where I could take my summer vacation, it turns out that many of them are just as hot if not hotter. So what if I don’t know what spring break in Key West is like? I know what summer vacation is like, and that suits me just fine.
There are certain things in this world that I want to make sure I experience at least once. They range from simple things, like dining in a Michelin starred restaurant, to scary things (skydiving, anyone?) to pretty big things. I want to see the running of the bulls in Pamplona, for instance. It seems like the more I do, the more things get added to that list, however. One of them is attending Fantasy Fest in Key West, Florida.
A month ago, I didn’t even know what that was. My buddies and I were on a golfing and fishing vacation in South Florida and that included a few days in Key West. We got to talking with one of the bartenders, and she mentioned how it was the busiest week of the year, full of absolute insanity, Key West’s version of Mardi Gras. When she heard us talking about maybe coming down, she advised us to start making plans now.
I thought she might be overstating the case a little but when we got home, I did some research and saw how right she was. I immediately booked a hotel room and made reservations at several Key West restaurants, including one for the night of the big parade that overlooks the parade route. Now I need to figure out just how many costumes I need to pack and what parties I am going to try to attend. People say the best plan for something that big is no plan at all, but I know that I want to make sure I do as much of it as I can, just in case it’s the only chance I get to do it.
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.
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.
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.
Are you searching for the most tropical and beautiful location for your next vacation? Lucky for you, there are many options from which to choose. Key West, Florida has been gaining quite the reputation for vacationers from all over the world. This friendly beach community has a certain casual eleganceabout it that lures people there each and every year.
If you are worried about activities when you visit southern Florida, do not be! There is so much to do in this little town, you may want to extend your vacation a few days in order to see it all. From off shore fishing charters to glass bottom boat tours, Key West, Florida is an adventurous playground for people of all ages.
If you need to take a day off and simply relax, then you may also do that, too. With plenty of sandy beaches available, you will have ample opportunities to cuddle up on a beach chair and nap under your umbrella. If you are lucky, you may even find a vacant hammock to swing yourself to sleep in as you listen to the ocean’s waves crashing steps away. There are also numerous places where you can get a massage, soak in a hot tub or sit in a sauna. Key West, Florida wants you to be able to relax when you want to, and also seek out some thrills when you want to, creating the most perfect balance on your vacation. Make your reservations today and see what everyone is raving about.