After 2 days in Miami beach it was back to the airport to pick up a car with a couple of girls from Spain that I had met the day before in my hostel. They had told me they were going to get the bus to Key West but as I had an empty car they decided to come with me.
There is a bus that picks up from different locations in Miami beach around 7am and then leaves Key West at 5.30pm, so you don’t need a car but as I wanted to visit the Everglades after and stop on the way to Key West I wanted the flexibility. Cars are cheap to hire in Miami but a pass for the toll roads costs nearly as much as the car!!
It was so nice to have people in the car to chat to on the drive. To break up the 120 mile drive we decided to stop part way at “John Pennenkamp Coral Reef State Park” – its supposed to be a great place for diving and snorkeling but because of the winds from the previous few days the visibility was not great, so I decided to chill out on the little beach there while the girls had a snorkel.
After a few hours it was back on the road to try and get to Key West before sunset. This did not happen and instead we got to see the sunset while driving over bridges connecting the islands.
In Key West I had booked a hostel, NYAH, it turned out to be the best hostel I have ever stayed in, I was in a 4 bed dorm room and despite being on the top bunk, it was amazing. It had been open less than 2 years when I was there and was immaculate, the rooms and bathrooms were amazing and there were 3 pools and 2 jacuzzis!! Breakfast was included too and I paid around $35 a night.
Parking in Key West can be an issue – there is on street parking available, but be careful as there are so many restrictions, and not being familiar with US parking, I decided to park in a multi storey car park for the 2 nights I would be there, cheaper than getting a fine I decided!!
That evening I met up with the girls and went and explored Duval Street, there are a lot of shops, bars and restaurants on this street.
The next day I walked up to the old port and explored that area, also lots of nice bars and restaurants overlooking the water. I then walked down through the residential areas and saw some beautiful houses, including Truman Little White House and the Lighthouse, finally ending up at the Southernmost Point of the USA, just 90 miles away from Cuba.
In the afternoon I decided to go to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park and to stay there until sunset. It is a beautiful state park on the west coast of key West with the fort still there to explore and Iguana’s strolling around the grounds.
There is also a little beach and picnic area and you can hire sun beds and snorkelling equipment too. As a backpacker paying for a sunbed was not an option so I got out my sarong that doubles as a beach towel and put it out for a sun bathing session before the sun went down.
A couple of hours later I watched the sunset from the beach with very few people around, a perfect finish to my trip to Key West, I then walked back to town had a nice burrito and cider in a bar before going back to the hostel and chilling out in the Jacuzzi (The Jacuzzi was an amazing treat for a backpacker).
The one thing I regret I had no time to do, was visit Dry Tortugas National Park. There is the option of booking through the hostel but the cheaper option is to get the public ferry. Most people go as a day trip but there is also the option of camping overnight. As its on my bucket list to do every national park in the US, I will be back to the hostel and visiting Dry Tortugas then.
The next day I packed up and got in the car heading to Florida City where I would base myself for visiting the Everglades, to break up the long drive I decided to stop midway in Marathon at Sombrero Beach, this beach is free to visit and there is lots of free parking too. It was a beautiful day but the wind and rough seas meant there was lots of seaweed close to the shore so a swim in the sea was not possible. Still a beautiful spot to relax for a few hours before driving on.
If you enjoyed it, then don’t forget to pin it.
Subscribe now to read my next blog – Everglades
Subscribe to Blog via Email