Last year I had gone to California and wrote a blog about our itinerary. I enjoyed doing it and got great feedback. So, I figured I would do the same thing with this trip. So if you're interested read on.
This was a different trip for me. We were not focused on the activities but more so exploring and eating a lot of wonderful food. And I loved it.
Let's start with what to pack. Now, it's important to know what types of activities you'd want to do so you know what to pack. For example, if you burn easy and plan on being in the sun, pack your hat a sunscreen. Or you can buy a nice one at the Sandals factory in they keys. ( thats what my husband did)
Another thing to keep in mind is the assortment of outfits. For us ladies we want to be cute during the day and a little spice at night. I had brought a few jumpsuits and that did the job. But on certain nights or days I would have liked a nice pair of white jeans or jean shorts with a cute top.
As far as during the day you may be beach hoping or doing different excursions. So I would suggest a cute sundress or cover up over your bathing suit. Be sure to bring extra clothes in the car so you're not stuck in your wet clothes on the way back.
Bring your sun tan lotion, lotion AND aloe! the sun is different there. You don't want to be stuck with a nasty burn or dried out skin. Also the water and pool did a number on my hair. I wish I would have brought a leave in conditioner. Lesson learned.
Now for where to go. Where to go and what to do can be grouped together. Right off the bat Smathers beach. If you want the bluest water and nice beach definitely go here. I would have spent the whole day there if we could.
We were not staying in key west but I suggest you go there. We did a dolphin and snorkel tour through Viator. I recommend using this company to book any excursions. I so enjoyed this boat ride and activity. If I were to do it all over again or go another time I would go to Tortuga national park and take a sea plane to get there. This is an all day expensive trip but seems amazing. What we did was perfect for the pace we wanted to be at and the price we wanted to pay.
We also went to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State park. This is another great place to spend the day that was beautiful and cheap. You can lay on the beach, walk through the trails. Not sure if id consider them trails but perfect to get yourself moving or do with kids. Here is where we saw a manatee and her baby up close. This is also a great place to snorkel off the beach.
If you're going to want to snorkel on your own time or off the beaches you should bring your own or get one from "Marine Thrift". You can purchase gear there (Including fishing poles or wet suits) and return it to get half your money back. The gear is cheaper than anywhere you'd rent from.
Before we got to the keys we stopped at a Walmart outside the keys to get all our groceries for breakfast, lunch and snack. We, also, bought fishing poles at Walmart but if we were to do it again would maybe have gone to marine thrift for it instead. We bought fishing poles because fishing charters are very expensive and the guys were not super into it. So they decided to fish in different areas multiple times rather than one afternoon on a charter.
Where we stayed. We stayed in a condo in Tavernier. It was perfect. We were on a beach, had a pool and hot tub (which we went in every night) We were close to a lot of nice restaurants. It was about 2 hours from key west so we went to key west for one full day. I would absolutely stay there again and recommend it.
What to eat. Let me start by saying you MUST. MUST. get key lime pie on a stick covered in chocolate. Going into Where to eat. Definitely go to Blond Giraffe Key lime pie factory. The place itself was sooo cute and the key lime pie on a stick was AMAZING. side note: I don't like key lime pie and this thing was amazing.
You have to get some cuban food. We liked Habanos on the creek. I got there cuban sandwich and it was delicious. Along with that pine crest cafe to get some cuban coffee. Cafe con leche PLEASE. Get it with some sugar and oh my gosh. amazing. I also got this pastry that was a long doughy pastry covered with sugar and filled with some sort of cream cheese filling. That was amazing but i couldn't tell you the name of it.
You have to go to at least one tiki bar. The one we went to was Tiki Bar at holiday Isle. We watched part of the super bowl there. It was so cute and had a beachy area you could walk and explore as well.
Of course if you have never gotten a Publix chicken tender sub with ranch you MUST make a stop to get that. You can get it anywhere in Florida so anytime I go its a must.
I hope this encourages you to book a trip to the keys! You can refer back to this to plan out some of your trip. 😄