Key West is all about letting loose - kicking back and doing the things a local would do. Of course, what you’ll find on Duval Street isn’t it all that relaxed. That’s not to say part of the Key West vibe is a stiff drink and a good party, but there is a way to do it that doesn’t involve the tourist traps and loud music. That said, here’s The Gates Guide to Letting Loose like a Local in Key West - and escaping from the real world like you’ve always intended:
Step 1: Have a Drink by the Pool
Ok, so Key West isn’t all about drinking, but let’s be honest, most everyone who lives outside of paradise arrives a little stressed, unsure of how to calm down and start their vacation. That’s why we at The Gates Key West like to give you a drink on arrival. It’s to take the edge off - because we definitely don’t want you to be thinking about work when you’re here. That said, take your Mary Pickford (one of our favorite rum cocktails here at The Gates) and go sit out by our gorgeous pool and soak up the sun. And of course, if you’re still thirsty, our poolside bar Rum Row has you covered.
Step 2: Eat like a Conch
There are some things you can’t go without on your trip to Key West. Primarily, those would be conch fritters and Key Lime pie, with fish tacos being a close second. That said, if you’re in Old Town, stop at BO’s Fish Wagon, for conch fritters and the fried cracked conch sandwich or adventure out to Stock Island (just 5 minutes from The Gates) to Hogfish Bar & Grill for their Hogfish tacos and conch fritters. Not only do they have some the freshest fish in The Keys, their key lime pie is divine. A little tart, a little sweet, and all in all the perfect way to end a meal. And if you’ve been hit by a food coma, make sure to grab a Cuban coffee for a pick-me-up. Head to 5 Brothers for the true local experience.
Step 3: Get out on the Water
As you may know, Key West isn’t famous for its beaches. There’s just not much beach. But that doesn’t mean we’re not water babies. We love watersports - water-skiing, paddle boarding, snorkeling and scuba diving, just to name a few. In Key West, we think life is better on the water - or under it. Even if you’re not much for sports, at the very least snorkel the Florida Reef. It’s remarkable. It’s quiet, it’s relaxing, and it’s an excellent time to disconnect from the ‘real world’ and connect with nature.
Step 4: Oooh and Awe at the Key West Sunset
We’re pretty proud of our sunsets in Key West. Frankly, no other can compare. In fact, we’re so fond of the Key West sunset, that we celebrate it nightly at the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration. Although the Sunset Celebration is worth going to at least once, it has the tendency to get crowded, and well, touristy. Instead, we prefer catching the sunset on the beach at Fort Zach, which just happens to be the best beach in Key West.
Interested in putting this guide to good use? Come visit us in the Conch Republic at The Gates Key West.