When it comes to Key West, Florida, it is important to know where the locals go. Since this part of the country sees many tourists each year, many of the more popular destinations become like a miniature Disneyland. Therefore, if you want to have an enjoyable vacation in Key West, its best two follow two pieces of advice: choose few and choose local.
When in Rome…
For most people in Key West, chickens are about as common as people. No one knows why there are so many chickens on the loose in this town, but is known is people will often “chicken-nap” them and have them fight one another. If you have any interest in Key West’s poultry problem, stop by the Chicken Store on Duval Street. At this store you can learn all about the current state of chickens in Key West. Better yet, you may be able to meet locals who truly care for the health and safety of these birds and how their population on the island is affected by human activity.
Beaches are overrated
If you have decided to come to Key West, you are aware (hopefully) that numerous long white beaches are not the main attraction. The largest beach on Key West at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park will not disappoint in beauty. However, if other tourists have the desire for beach-bumming in Key West, you will find your self elbow to elbow with out-of-towners of all sorts. If you can time it right, by all means indulge yourself with an umbrella and take a dip in the immaculately clear water. However, if you either wish to avoid the crowds or just plan have zero interest in lounging on a beach, then snorkeling is the best alternative. There are several places to snorkel or even scuba dive on the island. Although you get a closer look at the wonderful sea life with the scuba experience, many people do not want to invest the time or money in lessons and certifications. Make things simple. Head to the Fort Zachary and rent a snorkel for under twenty bucks. Hopefully you can time it right and the crowds are small.
Key West, Foodie Capital of the World
There is no doubt that tourists and locals alike value a good meal in Key West. Such gastronomical enthusiasm brings about two unfortunate aspects of food acquisition on this island. The first one being the absolute necessity of having a reservation at most (if not all) restaurants and cafes. Walk around the town and you will be in awe of how many delicious menus that are on display. Ask for a table, however, and you will find that you will either have to wait or come back another day. A way around this is plan ahead of time. There are mobile applications, such as Open Table, that allow you to book a table electronically without being shown the door. The second downside of eating out in Key West is the cost. If you go on vacation, you expect to spend a little more than you normally would at home. However, the danger with some restaurants in Key West is that even though the decor may appear to be “laid-back beach bum” the prices may be more “upscale 5th Avenue”. Play it smart. Check out Trip Advisor or the Open Table application for online menus. Of course you don’t have to go this route if you value spontaneity. However, what you trade for unpredictability may be one or two hundred dollars.