What to Do in Key West

Scott and I took a short but wonderful vacation in Key West for our anniversary in February. I’d like to share our Florida Keys getaway with you all and make a few recommendations along the way.

Stacy Lyn and Scott smiling selfie in the Florida Keys

“What’s there to do in Key West, Florida?” 

That’s the big question I started with while planning our short anniversary getaway. After perusing the Internet, I came up with a pretty good plan for our Florida vacation. On the other hand, I made sure not to plan too much: we needed a break from our busy schedules, after all. We didn’t want to come home all tired out! We were only spending 3 days in the Keys — no need to kill ourselves trying to do everything the Keys have to offer.

Really, I just wanted Scott to relax and for both of us to live in the moment. Our lives are pretty hectic, so a well planned but not over-scheduled vacation was just what we needed. 

The only things I scheduled were our dining plans so that I could make reservations ahead of time. But really, I think we could have gotten in most anywhere in Key West without reservations. The restaurants weren’t all that crowded! For that reason, I’m glad we waited until February instead of heading to the Keys in December. With all the holiday Florida travelers, I think it would have been too busy then.

Where to Stay in Miami

If you’re stopping the night in Miami, my advice is to stay somewhere modest. Save your money for the main attractions in the Keys! Scott and I flew into the Miami airport and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Coconut Grove. It was fairly close to the airport and seemed pretty safe. It was an older hotel, but all in all, it met our needs. 

My next bit of Miami advice is not to stress out about the traffic. When we hit the road the next morning toward the Keys, we encountered quite a delay on the Seven Mile Bridge. It took us 6 hours from Miami to get there! I asked Scott to crank up the music, get out of our rental car, and dance with me on the bridge, but he declined the offer!! Really, though, we had a lot of fun anyway. Just relaxing in the car with nowhere we had to be was a real luxury.

Where to Eat Breakfast in Key Largo

Next question: where to eat breakfast your first morning in the Keys? A friend of mine on Instagram convinced me to try Harriet’s in Key Largo. Man, what a great recommendation!

Harriet’s restaurant is famous for their Key lime coconut muffins, which I highly recommend. The muffin’s texture was so soft and billowy, and it had a definite key lime flavor.

Where to Eat Breakfast in Key West

Since I am talking about breakfast, a definite place you must go is Blue Heaven!! I emphasize that because it was THE BEST place we went to eat while in the Keys. I loved it so much. 

The atmosphere is laid back with a band playing on the stage (nicest guys ever – Sam Carlson Music), and the food is spot-on amazing. Trees surround and shade most of the seating. As a fun bonus, resident chickens with their chicks visit from time to time, providing ample entertainment.

We finished with a slice of their famous Mile High Key Meringue Key Lime Pie! Don’t you know I am going to try to replicate these recipes? I already have the key lime pie, but I need to master the addition of the meringue. 

What to Do In Key West for a Day and Where to Stay

Here are a few suggestions based on our short stay in Key West — including things on my list for our next trip to the Florida Keys!

Go Out in a Glass-Bottom Boat

Although there are many things to do in Key West, we really only had a day and a half to spend there, so I wanted to make it count without be insanely busy. 

My mother and father-in-law have always talked about going out on a glass-bottom boat to look at all the sea life. I thought it was a splendid idea and booked that through Courtney Place, which is where we stayed in Key West (yes, I recommend them). 

Scott wasn’t really very hip on going on the glass-bottom boat (too crowded), so we ditched the idea and just walked around Key West to get the full experience. The shops were nice, and we even went to the beach for a bit. 


If I went back in February, I absolutely would snorkel, and possibly go fishing if I had an extra day. I thought it was going to be too cold to snorkel, and I really just hate being cold, but it totally wasn’t. 

Visit the Butterfly Museum

One friend suggested we go to the Butterfly Museum, and another said we must get a picture at the southern most point. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to do either, but they’re definitely on the list for next time.

Visit the Hemingway House

Luckily, we did have time to see Ernest Hemingway’s house. Visiting the Hemingway Home and Museum was my second favorite thing to do in Key West. 

Every part of it was truly breathtaking, from the colors of the paint on the outside to the porches on all sides to the landscape and six-toed cats!

I loved seeing Hemingway’s writing room. Now I feel inspired to make my own! 

Eat at Seven Fish and/or a Waterfront Restaurant

Later that evening, we had reservations at Seven Fish. It was good, but given the shortness of our stay, I think I would have rather had dinner at one of the many waterfront restaurants. 

After we ate, we spent the evening walking on the waterfront and watching the boats come in with their catches from the day.

Favorite Things to Do in Key West

All in all, there are a few favorite things I definitely would put on my bucket list if I go back! My very favorite things were the Hemmingway house and eating breakfast at Blue Heaven. I’m listing those, plus the other things that were runners up and hope-to-dos below.

  • Eat Breakfast at Blue Heaven
  • Visit Hemmingway’s House
  • Walk the Waterfront and Shops
  • Walk through Old Town Key West
  • Snorkel
  • Fish: Take a Fishing Boat Out for Half a Day 
  • Take a Key West Glass Bottom Boat Tour
  • Visit the Butterfly Museum
  • Visit the Key West Beach
  • Eat at Seven Fish / Waterfront Restaurant

Heading Home by Way of Key Largo

On the way back to Miami, we stayed in Key Largo. I can’t say much for the hotel in that they promised a view of the gardens, but we got a bush with a propane tank instead. This is the the view outside the window. It would’ve just been funny, except we paid extra for a pretty view since it was our anniversary! 

We did meet a very nice couple at a nice restaurant by the hotel, though, and had a pleasant evening by the beach. 

The next day, we rode through the Everglades, which was exceptionally beautiful! 

trees view of Florida Everglades
Florida Everglades

Last Tips for Florida Keys Getaway

Whatever you do, just take it easy and relax! Also, the dress is super casual. Anything goes, really, but I discovered that a nice flowy dress is a must. I don’t really wear flowy dresses at home, but if I go back, I will do as the locals do! 

At last, we flew home. There is a no better place than Home Sweet Home!

view from airplane flying home from Florida
On our way back from Florida to home, sweet home.

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  1. Next time you go to The Keys see ahead of time if Howie Livingston Band is playing at Boondocks and book a table if possible online. He’s the coolest and donates most of his earnings to Camp for Kids America. Great music and lyrics!!!

    1. Larry, I sure will!! Thank you so much for this awesome tip!

  2. Oh, goodness! I cackled out loud at your “bush and a propane tank” comment! Thanks for all the great recommendations. Key West is on my bucket list. I got one of those towering meringues on a lemon pie by adding marshmallow fluff. Also, Splendid Table has a mile high lemon meringue pie recipe that uses hot sugar syrup in the meringue, basically a home made marshmallow meringue. I look forward to your recipe!

    1. Donna, I just had to add that photo of our “garden” view!! Hilarious. Thanks for the mile high meringue tips! I’m definitely going to be experimenting. I can’t wait!! My husband’s grandfather looked for the perfect meringue his whole life. We are going to find it!

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