For our honeymoon, we spent a week in Key West, Florida! It was a wonderful trip, much needed time away, filled with lots of great food and drinks, sun, and exploring. Today I’m going to share a recap of our honeymoon in Key West, some of our favorite things we did, and some tips for planning YOUR trip to Key West!
Why did we choose Key West?
Right off the bat, we knew we wanted to stay stateside for our honeymoon. Next, we wanted to go somewhere with access to National Parks (it’s a goal of ours to see all 63 parks). We also wanted somewhere warm with a lot to do, but also plenty of opportunities to chill out and be lazy for a day or two. Bonus points if it was somewhere neither of us had ever been. The Florida Keys ticked all those boxes for both of us, and we chose Key West specifically because we’d heard so many fun things about it. Plus, Key West has its own airport, so we could fly directly in, instead of flying into Miami and driving.
Where We Stayed
We stayed in an AirBnB on Olivia Street, about a quarter-mile walk from Duval Street. When I was booking in late January, I looked at a bunch of options: hotels, resorts, AirBnBs, regular BnBs, etc. Price wise, there wasn’t a huge difference between hotels/resorts and AirBnBs, not really enough to make me choose one over the other. We’ve always had good experiences with AirBnBs and love having a bit more space to ourselves. We had a great, easy experience with Key West Hideaways!
This location was perfect because we could walk just about everywhere we wanted to go. We only took a couple Ubers the whole week. Plus, the island is only like two by four miles, so it’s super walkable anyway.
Now the fun stuff: here’s what we did in Key West!
Dry Tortugas National Park // This was the highlight of our whole honeymoon in Key West. Dry Tortugas is the most remote National Park in the lower 48 states. It’s 70 miles off the coast of Key West; you can only get there by ferry or sea plane. We booked tickets on the Yankee Freedom ferry back in January, and we’re so glad we did. Apparently it gets booked months in advance! Once you get to the park, you can explore the old fort and its ruins, swim and snorkel in the clear blue water, and relax on the beaches. My massive sunburn was well worth this excursion. If you get motion sickness, I recommend bringing some Dramamine with you!
Key West Aquarium // I’m a sucker for aquariums, and this one was super cute and educational. Tickets are a little cheaper online, so definitely buy the day before you go. They’ve got lots of fish, sea turtles, nurse sharks, and other marine creatures, and the staff love to share their knowledge and passion for conservation.
Ernest Hemingway Home // If you’re not a cat person or a Hemingway fan, skip this. I love cats and Hemingway, so of course I wanted to go. You can tour the historic home and read all about Hemingway, browse the little bookstore and gift shop, and pet more than 40 famous six-toed cats. This is cash only!
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park // On the south end of the island is another state park, home to a historic Civil War era fort and more beaches. We spent a couple hours here one morning before heading to lunch and more exploring. There is an entrance fee (I think it was $7 for our car) but if you keep your receipt, you can come and go throughout the day. This would be a great place to get coffee and breakfast to go and eat in the picnic area!
Bahia Honda State Park // Several people told us about this park, and we’re so glad we went! It’s about a 45 minute drive from Key West, so we rented a Jeep (highly recommend Key West Adventures) and drove up for a day. Once there, you can camp, hang out on the beaches, snorkel, and rent kayaks, paddle boards and such. We picked up Pub Subs and a six pack of local beer on our way out of town and opted for a beach day. Despite all the stinky seaweed that washed up, it was really nice, and the water felt incredible.
Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory // I’ve never seen so many butterflies in one place. Not only is this conservatory home to 50+ species of butterflies, they also have many species of birds and plants from around the world. Super cute and peaceful way to kill an hour or spend a rainy afternoon.
Where we ate and drank in Key West
I ate my weight in fish tacos and key lime pie, and drank more rum in a week than I’ve consumed since college. We ate outside on patios almost everywhere. We never had to make reservations for any place we wanted to eat, and never had to wait too long for a table. Here are our food and drink highlights from our honeymoon in Key West!
Kaya Island Eats // This was our favorite food spot; we went there twice! We spotted it our second night in town on a side street. It wasn’t crowded at that time, so we grabbed a table on the patio. When I say those were the best mahi tacos I’ve ever had, I’m not kidding. Husband had some kind of Asian and Cajun fish and rice bowl. When we went back the second time, I had fish and chips (mahi, of course), and Husband had the same dish as before, but with a different fish. If I remember correctly, their signature drink is their Mai Tai, so if that’s your thing, don’t skip it!
BO’s Fish Wagon // I was told BO’s had the best fish tacos in Key West. After tasting them, I agree! This place isn’t much to look at (true to its name), and its menu was very simple. But honestly the snapper tacos (and hubby’s crab sandwich) were so good, it didn’t need anything more.
The Conch Shack // If you’ve never had conch fritters before, you’ve gotta try them! Most places in Key West have conch fritters on their menus, but we specifically loved them at this little shack off Duval Street. The key lime aioli dipping sauce was the perfect touch.
La Grignote // This little cafe was everything I wanted in a cute little breakfast spot. We also ate here twice. It’s an artisan French bakery and bistro with a full pastry display right when you walk in. Everything is made and baked from scratch. Husband enjoyed his seafood benedict, and I still think about my croissant sandwich with arugula, prosciutto, apple, goat cheese, and honey.
Caroline’s Cafe // I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to love this place, but that grilled mahi sandwich I had was delectable (they called it a Dolphin sandwich). Tender, flavorful, juicy, perfectly grilled. My Key Lime Rum Punch was the perfect drink to go with it.
Tiki House // If you like tiki drinks, this is your place to be. We actually went here our first day there and made friends with a bartender named Brad. He gave us lots of tips and recommendations for our trip. They were out of their Jungle Bird (my favorite tiki cocktail) that day, but Brad made me some kind of gin drink with glitter in it that made up it.
Hogsbreath Saloon // We never got any food here, but we loved their drinks and atmosphere. We spent a few hours here sipping rum punches and local beers on their patio while listening to live music. This is also close to the Conch Shack, so we strolled over after enjoying some fritters.
Honorable mentions: Pescado food truck, Green Parrot, Moondog Cafe, Waterfront Brewery, Banana Cafe, Kermit’s Key Lime Shop, Courthouse Deli, Mangrove Mama’s (Sugarloaf Key).
Would We Go Back?
Absolutely, we had a great time on our honeymoon in Key West. To be honest, we were tired by the fifth full day, and agreed we probably wouldn’t do a full week just in Key West again. Next time, we’d spend a day or two in Key West, and spend more time exploring other parts of the Keys, like Islamorada and Key Largo, and other state parks.
If you’ve been to Key West, I’d love to hear what you loved about it! Leave me a comment with your favorite things to do and eat in Key West. Maybe when we go back, we’ll check that out!