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Old 02-06-2019, 06:02 PM   #1
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FL Keys – Landside Excursion

There are lots of TFers here that are familiar with the Keys. My bride and I plan to visit friends in the Fort Lauderdale area this fall (October) and decided to give the Keys a look. All by auto and just for a few days.

She’s been looking at the usual travel info. It occurred to me that there might be a wealth of info from the folks here – things off the beaten path that would be worthwhile to check out. Any ideas?

Appreciate the help.
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:04 PM   #2
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Oh, yeah - I don't think Fantasy Fest is in the cards, durn it!
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:27 PM   #3
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Wifey B: We did Fantasy Fest for the first time last year, all 9 days.

I'd recommend looking at Trip Advisor. That way you can see different types of things that might appeal. There's such a variety of things. One person might like museums and Hemingway while another likes butterflies and the aquarium. I really like some of the specialty museums like Mel Fisher's, just very unique. Then, if you like art at all, you can just walk from gallery to gallery as there are over 30 galleries, most in a line with each other. Some are touristy and you may think are just overpriced stuff you could see anywhere, but some are very local and very much in the key west theme.

Then you have to walk Duval Street and Mallory Square and circulate at night and see the old standby Key West from Blue Heaven to Green Parrot. Immerse yourself in the flavor.

Now, my less known recommendation. Not Key West like at all but just very special. It's "Better Than Sex" and it's a dessert place so eat dinner early so you're hungry again. My faves so far are Cookie Nookie Pie, The Fever, Double Stuffed, and Between my Red Velvet Sheets Cheesecake. Very romantic place.

Get into the Key West experience and let go, step outside your norm. Observe and enjoy. Do Key West right and you'll go home refreshed and with a smile on your face.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:11 AM   #4
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A day trip to FT Jefferson is interesting.
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:31 AM   #5
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Turtle Rescue in Marathon, Neapolitan pizza at Roostica, drinking at Hogfish........
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:10 AM   #6
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Appreciate it, Ms B.
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:19 PM   #7
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Swim with the Dolphins at several locations, hand feed giant tarpon at Robbies, snorkel or dive any reef off Key West (much better than the other Keys) as mentioned Ft Jefferson, but by seaplane is cool, the Fischer Treasure museum in Key West. The Duval Bar Crawl of course.

Take care that time does not slip away, the Keys are populated with many Skip's and Buzzy's and Bubba's that came for a week, dropped off the radar, and stayed a decade.

I lived in Key west for 10 years, then moved to Islamorada, I'm told I had a very good time.

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Old 02-07-2019, 08:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
things off the beaten path that would be worthwhile to check out. Any ideas?
No Name Pub on Big Pine Key for pizza, and pretty dang good pizza at that.
Turtle Rescue was a good suggestion.

Lorelei's in Islamorada with a quick stop by World Wide Sportsman (part of Bass Pro but still kind of cool, not so much off the beaten path).

If you are feeling luxe, maybe a day at Little Palm Island.
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:55 PM   #9
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On your way south take the Card Sound road over to Key Largo and stop at Alabama Jacks for conch fritters. It’s located at the mainland side of the bridge. The food is great and the setting amazing. Get a table next to the water if you can.

If there is no traffic, slow down at the top of the bridge and enjoy a spectacular view.
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:07 PM   #10
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Some great ideas. My first visit. I've always been keen on the old coastal fortifications - entirely forgot Jefferson.
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Old 02-08-2019, 05:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbu22 View Post
things off the beaten path that would be worthwhile to check out.
Taken literally, much of anything in the Keys are right on the beaten path. I some places with a good arm you could throw a rock from the Ocean to the Gulf side.

As Caltexflanc mentioned, No Name Pub is about as far off the path you can get. Big Pine Key is the second largest island after Key Largo, and don't even think of speeding anywhere in Big Pine. The Sheriff gets funding from the Feds to protect the Key Deer on the island. The "Blue Hole" in in the same vicinity as No Name, the only open water on the Keys, just a pond and not too fresh at that, but kind of creepy.

Just South of Islamorada are Indian and Lignum Vitae Keys. There's a tour boat that runs on a schedule that goes out there. For History types, the grave yard on Indian Key is unique, and speaking of graveyards...

The Key West Graveyard on Solaris Hill, a nose bleed 18ft above sea level has some interesting graves, one is famous with the graveyard groupies:
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:56 AM   #12
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Don't forget the bat tower... forget which key, Cudjoe?

Key West is fun for the touristy stuff, but gets old quick, however, worth the visit and a few neat things to see there, as mentioned.

Fun to rent a boat in the lower keys and just tool around. If you're so incline, equip for catching a few lobsters on the gulf side (need a license, and perhaps a bit of instruction), but a lot of fun, and taste good, too. You'll find them many places. My fav is out Kemp Channel, by Cudjoe Key, into Cudjoe channel, just east of Sawyer and Riding Keys in and around the channel in 8 to 12 feet of water, under coral heads and ledges.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:57 PM   #13
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They do not advertise but you really need to go to the Hogfish on stock island and have the Hogfish sandwich. They fry the fish and serve it on a hoagie with sautéed mushrooms and cheese. Best sandwich in the keys, IMHO. Also, the conch fritters from the bolo guy in Clinton square and the Mexican place on stock island has a seafood enchilada with green sauce that is amazing, (and I do not like Mexican food but wife does so we go there). Hope you have an awesome time, I have been going there since for the past 40 years, mm 23 on Cudjoe is where our place is.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:18 PM   #14
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There's a 130' sailboat in the harbor that has a dinner cruise agenda. We took it a few years ago when we were down there and had a helluva good time. Wine is free. Food was pretty good, but after the free drinks I don't recall too much about the food. The cruise lasts about 4-5 hours and was well worth it.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:46 AM   #15
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Much appreciated - expands our horizons. Really looking forward to seeing that area. Wish we could do it by boat, but it's not in the cards
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