jillgg’s good life (for less)

Quite a few of you requested a Key West vacation recap with all of the details of where we stayed, what we did, etc. So here it is!  We booked it wanting to get far from home without leaving the continental US and of course, to be somewhere warm. A bunch of people started giving us recommendations for their favorite bar or telling us their wild drunken Key West stories – which really isn’t our vibe, especially with two teenagers traveling with us. So as the trip approached we were a little nervous what to expect. Key West is DEFINITELY a party town. I’ve heard it called the New Orleans of Florida and that is actually quite accurate. We had a great trip and did (almost) all the things we wanted to do because we likely won’t be back. It’s very beautiful in Key West (dang that water is blue!) but we also found it really difficult to get down there… we flew into Fort Lauderdale and drove down. It was a beautiful drive but LONG. I can’t say definitively if I recommend that or not. Flights straight into Key West can be pricey though. Here’s all the details:

Where We Stayed

Parrot Key Resort & Villas

This resort was our favorite part about the trip. It was such a quiet oasis away from everything. If you want to be right in the action this hotel isn’t for you though. We had to drive and find parking (which wasn’t so bad actually!) to get into the ‘action’ in Key West. But for us, it was perfect. We are more “quiet” vacationers and loved how lush and beautiful the grounds were and the four pools are just stunning.

Where We Ate

Firefly Cafe – more upscale dining with great outdoor seating, we sat on the top patio and it was a good view and a nice breeze.

Blue Heaven – yes, the wait times are atrocious. We checked in for brunch around 10am, with a two hour wait we did some shopping and also toured the Hemmingway House. If you have the Hemmingway House on your list and Blue Heaven on your list this is a great way to do both since they are walking distance to one another. The brunch/breakfast was insanely good and the Key Lime pie is NOT to be missed. Definitely our favorite on the trip. If you don’t want to wait for a table or only want drinks and pie they have a small walk up window across the street for both with no wait.

Alonzo’s Oyster Bar – my husband and son love oysters and I love seafood. This is a fun (but busy!) location in the marina section of the island so get a table outside and enjoy the boat watching! We went for happy hour, which I highly recommend. The prices were great and we all shared a bunch of food. Their Key Lime pie was minimal but delicious.

Eaton Street Seafood Market – this is a walk-in seafood market that also makes quick lunches and dinners with outdoor seating. We got peel and eat shrimp and lobster tails and I order the best lobster roll I’ve had in a long time (or ever!?!) that was so stocked with lobster I almost couldn’t finish it. It is ultra casual and fun and sells some beers and wine too. 

Le Meson de Pepe – this cuban food is INCREDIBLE. Huge portions and a great atmosphere right in the middle of Mallory Square. They supposedly have the best Key Lime pie on the island but they were sold out. (I still think it would be difficult to beat Blue Heaven’s pie though, but now I’ll never know.)

What We Did

Mostly we sat by the pool because that was very much our mood for this trip. We also rented a pontoon one day but the winds were dangerous and we sadly were not able to reschedule. I’m still sad that wasn’t a go though. We also weren’t able to visit Fort Zachary beach because of some poor planning on our part, but it looks very cool. 

Hemmingway House – I loved this and so did the family. It’s a beautiful home and interesting to see how the islanders lived before all the tourists flooded in. Plus, there is some great memorabilia, photos, etc to see here. The kids loved all the cats!

The Truman Annex – This is a gorgeous neighborhood to stroll with historic homes and it’s closed to the public in the evenings. It’s also home to the Little Truman White House where many presidents have visited to work.

Smather’s Beach – we were told not to expect much from the beaches, but we thought this one was beautiful. It was quite windy the day we were there but super blue water and lots of parking.

Mallory Square – there are lots of shops and restaurants in this area and in the late afternoon before sunset performers set up shop. There were bagpipes and a magician and food booths. 

What I Wore

Here’s a look at some of the outfits I wore!

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