When driving over the 7-mile bridge, I could hardly believe my eyes. I grew up in Florida, but had only visited the Florida Keys two times before when I was on a cruise. I had heard a lot about the Keys and we had so much planned, in such a short amount of time. My husband and I absolutely loved Key West! He is from Spain and Key West is the one place he’s always fantasizing about moving. The beautiful beaches, scuba diving, delicious food, and slow paced and laid back vibe can’t be beat!
The entire drive from Miami to Key West was jaw dropping! There were tons of gorgeous beaches and cute little spots to pull off at. We recommend adding at least an hour or two to your drive time to account for a couple of extra stops.
Some spots along the drive that are worth stopping at include:
- Bahia Honda State Park (more on this later)
- Little Duck Key
- Drop Anchor Resort (if you can stay here for one night, you should!)
Bahia Honda State Park
Living the hammock life at Drop Anchor Resort
The Florida Keys are just one of those places that make you feel so grateful
to be there
After stopping to take photos about 10 times, we finally arrived to the award-winning The Perry Hotel Key West. This hotel was exactly what we were looking for! Set on the biggest marina in the Keys, this hotel is the perfect place to stay. With 100 guest rooms, 2 waterfront pools, and 2 dockside restaurants (both are amazing) we had an amazing time here. The location was ideal for us as well, as we weren’t looking to stay in the heart of downtown, but instead about a 10 minute drive away. We wanted a bit of peace and quiet. The hotel does offer a free shuttle bus to and from downtown all day and in the evening as well. *The hotel is also dog-friendly!*
- Rooms – We loved the style of the whole hotel, but especially the guest rooms. Each room is thoughtfully crafted with the perfect blend of contemporary and rustic touches. The beds are so comfortable and the rooms are super spacious!
- Pools – Our room went to directly out to the pool, which made our stay even more amazing. The pool has gorgeous sunrise views, right in front of all of the boats, with warm water and a restaurant/bar right next to it. There is another pool as well on the other side of the hotel, but we never went over there.
- Restaurants & Bars – We tried two restaurants at the hotel and both of them were great, but Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar takes the cake! We had the best fried chicken ever, mouth-watering tuna tacos, and the bacon salt fries. 100% recommend. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic date night if you’re with your significant other.
- Services & Amenities – As we said above, the hotel is dog friendly and has a dog park as well! The hotel concierge can set up tons of things for you to do like water activities, scooter and bike rentals, and even sailing trips. They also offer yoga classes, F45 training, and massages.
*This was a gifted stay, but as always all opinions are our own.*
The Perry Hotel Key West - Sunrise from our Balcony
Our Room at The Perry Hotel
After taking in a beautiful afternoon by the pool at The Perry, we watched the sunset and got dressed to take the shuttle to downtown for dinner and drinks. *We had also planned to do a sunset sailing trip, but we ended up not having enough time. Definitely recommend that you do this though.. The sunsets are so beautiful!*
Best places to eat in Downtown Key West –
- The Lobster Shack Key West – If you LOVE lobster this is definitely the place for you ($$)
- Hot Tin Roof Key West – Latin American style small plates, with an amazing view ($$-$$$)
- Latitude’s Restaurant – Caribbean & seafood, voted into top 100 most scenic restaurants in the US! ($$$$)
- Key Lime Pie Bakery – This one is for dessert. You can’t visit Key West and not try some Key Lime Pie!
Best places to drink/party in Downtown Key West –
- Green Parrot Bar – One of the most loved bars by the locals. Live music ranging from jam bands to funk.
- Lazy Gecko – 2 for 1 happy hour from 5-8 pm
- Aqua Nightclub – This is a gay club with tons of performances and dancing
- Fat Tuesday – This is a chain, but I loveee visiting every time I see a Fat Tuesday. During the day it’s a bar, but at night it turns into a club.
Best photo spots in Downtown Key West –
- Smather’s Beach (photo above) – This beach is stunning and the little boardwalks that connect you to the beach are the perfect photo spot
- Southernmost House (photo above) – This boutique hotel has Victorian architecture and gorgeous pastel colors
- Southernmost Point Buoy – This may be a big tourist spot, but it’s a great place to visit at sunset to take a photo with this famous landmark!
- Key West Lighthouse & tons more (you can find the other spots here in my “Key West Instagram Spots” post)
The next morning we woke up and took some photos around the pool area, then headed to Bahia Honda State Park. This beach/state park was one of the highlights of our entire time in Florida. Although it is a 45 minute drive from Key West, we highly recommend making the journey. The water is so blue, the sand is white, the nature is thriving, and it’s all around just a total dream. Here’s what you need to know:
- Directions: click this link to be directed to the location on Google Maps
- Price: The price is not determined by car, but by the amount of people. Check the photo below to see the prices for up to 8 people.
- Amenities: Bahia Honda State Park has camping, cabins, pavilions, picnic areas, showers, and restrooms
The following day, we woke up early for another morning swim and then started packing our things to make the trek back to Miami, but not without a HIGHLY anticipated stop first… we checked out of our hotel and headed to what we were hoping would be the BEST Cuban food ever. Spoiler alert: we were not disappointed!
When we arrived to Havana Cabana Key West, we felt like we’d been transported straight to Cuba. Havana Cabana is a hotel, but they were all booked for the night, so they invited us to come and try some of their Cuban dishes and mojitos (at the Floridita Food Truck & Mojitos Pool Bar). We couldn’t wait, as Cuban food is one of our favorite cuisines!
After exploring the hotel a bit and taking our seats by the pool, we met with the F&B director, Kevin Harkins, who is an absolute legend. He advised us on some of his best-loved items on the menu! We ended up taking his advice and ordered the chicken empanadas, Cuban sandwich, fish tacos, and plantain chips. While we waited for the food, we ordered some mojitos (they have more than 15 flavors to choose from) and walked around the pool area taking some photos. Havana Cabana is the cutest place filled with good vibes.
Our food came quickly, and we sat down to devour it. It was the BEST Cuban food we’d ever had! Everything was perfect and so delicious. If you’re ever in Key West and want to know where to find the best Cuban food and/or mojitos – look no further than Havana Cabana!
After enjoying the amazing lunch at Havana Cabana, we headed back to Smather’s Beach one more time to take some photos and then began our journey back to Miami. We loved Key West (and all of the Florida Keys) and recommend it 100%. We can’t wait to get back again! If you have any other Key West recommendations, drop them in the comments below or message us on Instagram. We’d love to hear from you!
Carrie & Javi