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Here we are at the close of our posts from Key West. We spent a total of 6 days in South Florida on this trip. It was my second trip down there, my wife grew up there. We had our Innova inflatable kayaks packed in our checked airline bags (each bag weighed 49 1/2 lbs after the kayaks, paddles (4-part aluminum), pump, and waterproof bags). Our trip was in February, the weather was a little cooler than normal, but still pretty nice coming from Seattle. Important: if you attempt this trip in the summer your hotel may be cheaper but it will be really, really, hot.
As our final post about the trip, we're leaving you with links to where we stayed, ate, and paddled.
1) The Merlin Guesthouse, Key West
Great atmosphere and location (a couple blocks off of the main drag - close but not too close), we actually found parking pretty easily (but didn't drive that much). Our only complaint was that the walls are a little thin - baby next door the first night, lots of TV the second. They have a few room choices so this could be eliminated with a little planning (and $).
2) The Gardens Hotel, Key West
We'd didn't stay here but I'd like to try it next time...A sweet layout and tropical gardens surrounding the place. The rooms look equally nice from their website...a good 50% more expensive than the Merlin Guesthouse however...
RESTAURANTS we dined at:
Coffee & Pastries: Croissants de France
A Key West classic...get a "con leche"...mmm so good - espresso, hot milk, and sugar to taste. I drink my coffee black in Seattle but fully loaded in South Florida!
Sushi: Origami Japanese
Amber's basically a local so we avoid Margaritaville:) Nice secluded-off the main drag with outdoor seating (like almost everywhere in the Keys). Good sushi, parrot next door.
Italian: La Trattoria
So good. How does a nice looking Italian restaurant with great service and delicious food sound? Imagine that with a lot cheaper price tag than you'd expect. Make a reservation by phone the day you plan to dine.
Sandwich Shop: Waterfront Market
The best sandwiches in the world! Just mark down what you want on your sandwich and they make it fresh...it seems like the more you add the cheaper it gets (a.k.a. don't chose the pre-planned sandwiches, take the time to chose your own ingredients).
Mexican: Salsa Loca
Pony up to the bar for some tacos and cervezas...Hey, the Times liked it.
Breakfast: Pepe's Cafe
A legend that's been in Key West for 100 years. Tasty.
Dessert: Better-Than-Sex - A Dessert Restaurant
This place looked awesome, we were too full...we'll hit it up next time.
KAYAKING SPOTS we visited on the trip:
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park: Key Largo $8/vehicle
Bahia Honda State Park $8/vehicle
Key Biscayne: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park $8/vehicle
Kayaking book for the Keys:
Florida Keys Paddling Guide: From Key Largo to Key West
Well, that's about it everyone. Go to the Keys - it's the best spot in Florida for sure! Check back to the blog soon - the posts return to the Northwest for a little while...
Everyone's Travel Club returns with part 5 of 6 of our kayaking adventure in Key West, Florida! Although a little muddy at our launch, we set out from Big Torch Key to search for a sunken ship I had read about in a local kayaking book. We paddled in beautiful weather for about half the day. We explored mangroves, fought the tide a little bit on the way back, watched a shark play in the distance (sorry no pics...not enough zoom!), and eventually stumbled upon...the sunken ship!
Check back for the big finale - kayaking adventure in Key West part 6! We'll give you links to hotels and restaurants that we recommend. We hope you'll have your own adventure in the Keys!
Everyone's Travel Club continues chronicling our kayaking travels to Key West, Florida. Part 4 picks up in Key West. After a little con leche coffee in the morning, I walked 10 minutes from our inn located in Old Town and found a nice little spot to put our single Innova Safari kayak together and launch.
I paddled East/NorthEast towards White Street Pier. The water was pretty shallow, I just had to be careful of old dock posts underwater. The tide was up so I had to go around (rather than under, which you're not technically supposed to do) a lot of the hotel docks and piers.
After the morning trip, Amber and I walked over to the Key West Cemetery.
How cool is this place?
Next we toured (on foot...the car has been parked ever since we arrived at Key West) Schooner Wharf, sunset cruise anyone?
OK, that was a bit of a joke - this is a very cool spot, however, you do have a few captains trying to get you on their next cruise. They are actually pretty nice and not too obtrusive. We took a sunset cruise a couple years ago and highly recommend it.
Finally, we took the double kayak out around sunset. The tide was out, we were farther South than the Southernmost buoy and the water was beautiful. Check back to the blog for Part 5, sunken ships and illegal dumping (not by us)!
Part 3 of Everyone's Travel Club's kayaking adventure in Key West was really a scouting mission for future expeditions. Check out these pics from 3 great launch sites.
#1 John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Just an hour from Miami, this park had lots of great places, with close parking, to launch a kayak or canoe. Rentals are available but we heard from a few locals that they restrict a lot of the places you can go (if you rent that is).
#2 Bahia Honda
Keep driving South and you'll eventually pass Bahia Honda, arguably one of the best beaches in the Keys...it's locally pronounced Bay-ah Honda...for some reason...You're looking at about 2 1/2 hours from Miami, or 45 minutes from Key West.
Picture looks like it is underwater...but it's not.
#3 Key West
We made it! I caught a great sunset at the South end of the main drag. The next day I launched from here! Check back soon to catch the trip!
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