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1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

Houston, TX
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76 posts
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1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

Families from Houston: 4 parents and kids ages 25,21,12,7 are in love with KW!

1.Best pre-planning: reading this forum every day! Also from Amazon, the book: Key West Explained by Marsh Muirhead. Actually very informative and fun to read. Amazon also has a cool map of KW – it's fabric and won't fade and you can wad it up in your pocket. My gang made fun of it at first, but by the end they were all fighting over it.

2.Had packed a collapsible cooler, and on the way from FLL on the Turnpike, took exit 19 and went to the Kendall Costco only 1.5 miles out of the way. Stocked up on sliced meats, breads, cheese, salami, fruit, & snacks. Smartest thing we did considering our hungry bunch. This location has a liquor store - so we got the mojitos, beer, and wine here too. (Forum advice had been to just wait to get groceries on N.Roosevelt. But I can navigate Costco in my sleep, and we were in and out in under an hour.)

3.Rented a house in gated Truman Annex - gorgeous, private pool, lush garden, 5 porches, plenty of space for chillin'. Would do this again in a heartbeat. The walk through the Annex to Front Street was beautiful and shady.

4.Best forum tip: We arrived at exactly 6:30 on Tues, so we headed straight for Sunset Pier and the shrimp/corn/slaw. Thanks to photos posted, I knew exactly what to look for. Dinner and drinks for 5 for $50? Priceless! View was awesome - perfect intro to KW.

5.Highlight: Meeting the TA gang at CTH on Friday! Such a friendly bunch - Tim( Seabus) should be the mayor! It was great to put faces and names together - my family was relieved all my TA friends weren't just figments of my imagination - I got hugs and photos of all. Wish we could have visited more.

6.Ft Zach beach - took beach chairs, swam, snorkeled, read & napped under the pines. Did this 3 days! Totally relaxing. ( I gave up on Hemmingway, and read a Tom Corcoran book. All his books are murder/mysteries set in KW so it was kind of fun to note the streets, bars, etc. The book store on Fleming pointed me to this.) The walk is actually long and hot (no shade), especially on the way back home. We took our car the next two times with coolers and the chairs – waaaay better!

7.Favorite HH: Kelly's for key lime margaritas and wings – yum!

8.Outings: We all loved the Butterfly Conservatory – breathtakingly beautiful. You won't want to leave. The Mel Fisher Museum was cool – the guys especially like this. Took the younger kids to Nancy's Secret Garden – so secret we almost couldn't find it! The kids were infatuated with the talking birds. Had to do a Ghost Tour – totally campy and fun. Some stories are really creepy – Robert the Doll? Eeee....

9.Favorite stores: Fausto's and the book store across the street.

10.Favorite food: El Siboney! I'm trying a Cuban pork roast recipe and sangria for tonight! Also B.O.'s Fish Wagon was fun – great fried shrimp/ice cold beer and very friendly folks!

11.Funny moment: Waking to “When You Wish Upon A Star” played loudly by the Disney cruise ship horn! It had been a late night....

12.We picked up key lime pie slices from all over town and had a “tasting” contest at our house. Had a hard time getting the chocolate dipped pie on a stick - blame it on the Disney cruise ship wiping out the town! Blond Giraffe with meringue was the favorite.

13.The older kids and adults enjoyed the abundance of bars and craziness of Duval. We seemed to end up at Hog's Breath ( Moose's blues/awesome), Sloppy Joe's, and Irish Kevin's a lot. My 21 y.o. daughter enjoyed flashing her brand new legal I.D. She loves to dance and her favorite spot was upstairs at Ricks ( a younger dancing crowd).

So much to do, so much to see, so much to eat, so much to drink.... we'll have to go back! Key West definitely has something for everyone! Big thanks to all the folks on this forum for great, friendly advice. Our trip would not have been the same without you!!!

Rochester, NY
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449 posts
10 reviews
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1. Re: 1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

Great report. CTH was the highlight of my last trip, too. Still haven't made it to Kelly's....one of these years! lol Glad the whole group had fun. Just goes to show KW has something for everyone! Where did you stay in Truman Annex and who did you go through? I'm reseaching houses there now for our next trip...

Syracuse, NY
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2. Re: 1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

i saw the fabric map .... too cool! ;) ... Great to meet you Vicky!!

Athens, Tennessee
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3. Re: 1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

Great trip report! It was wonderful meeting you at CTH. :)

Fort Myers Beach...
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for Key West
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4. Re: 1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

Sounds like we have a new case of the Keys Disease on our hands.

Glad you had a great time!!!!

Houston, TX
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5. Re: 1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

Ladies - it was nice to meet you and your hubbies too. Everyone looked very "happy" at happy hour! That was some birthday cake, huh?

Houston, TX
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76 posts
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6. Re: 1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

To kysdisease1: we went through homeaway.com and stayed in the heart of the Annex.

Pjk
New Jersey
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for Key West
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7. Re: 1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

Great! and the nice thing is that you've just scrathced the surface of Key West. But B.O.'s and the sunset pier outings are good starts. I hope they keep doing that for a long time this year and againnext.

Pjk

New York City, New...
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687 posts
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8. Re: 1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

Glad you had fun! I'm on my last day here (boooo!) and appreciate the tip about renting in Truman Annex, since hubs and I want to bring the kids (16/18) down with us next time.

One of these trips, we'll be down for CTH, but we tend to travel Sunday thru Friday morning, with the flight out of FLL Friday night.

louisville
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9. Re: 1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

What a great trip report! I've been reading this forum every day for a couple months now.. although I don't post much. I've been looking for a good book to read while in the keys.. sounds like a good Tom Corcorn book would be appropriate. I love murder mysteries! ..which books would you recommend?

Houston, TX
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10. Re: 1st timers/family vacation - highlights!

The lady at the KW book store recommended Tom Corcoran's "Mango Opera" to me because it was the first in the series. It's a good tale, but especially fun to read while actually in KW. I think all his books are set in KW. I really went in looking for Stewart Woods "Loitering with Intent", but it is so new they didn't have it. Is also supposed to be set in KW and is a murder mystery. You might want to check that out and compare reviews. FYI, at the bookstore all the books that pertain to KW are in the front by the cash register and straight ahead as you walk in.