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Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

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Westchester, New...
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Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

Hi! I have been trolling the forum getting great suggestions for our first trip to the keys this May - thanks! We are staying in the Middle Keys, snorkeling and kayaking as our interest is in nature, not bars. Still, we have to at least see Key West! We plan to drive down to Key West for a day, go out with Dolphin Watch in the morning and then walk around in the afternoon getting a feel for the place, with a stop at the Hemingway House. 1) We would like to park once for the day in a very safe spot where the car won't get broken into. We don't mind paying for that. Any suggestions? 2). I'm

also looking for simple and inexpensive ($10-$20) lunch. We aren't drinkers but would love something that has that Key West vibe and a maybe a view, and is a short walk within the area we will be hanging out in. Suggestions? 3). Can anyone recommend Dolphin Watch (the reviews are great and we prefer small groups) or have a better suggestion? 4). Anywhere else we should be sure to hit while walking around? Thank you so much! It is really appreciated.

Marathon, Florida
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1. Re: Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

There are several city parking lots - we use them all time with no issues. Follow the "P" signs. Several available. The one at Mallory Sq seems to be the most expensive.

Pjk
New Jersey
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2. Re: Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

For lunch you could sit outside at Alonzo's ---> http://alonzosoysterbar.com/ You will probably be too early for the happy hour specials but there are tables overlooking the Bight and they serve a big variety of seafood, etc.

Pjk

Miami, Florida
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3. Re: Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

You can park in a paid lot or there are plenty of spots along Truman and any of the side streets where you can park for free. As long as the spot isn't marked RESIDENTIAL, you can park there all day. Regarding a relatively inexpensive place to get some grub in the afternoon, you could hit Santiago's Bodega which serves $3 sangria and $5 tapas from 3-6pm. Cannot comment on the Dolphin Watch since I have not done it, but I would also recommend a tour of Truman's Little White House... amazing history there.

Pjk
New Jersey
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4. Re: Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

Fury has one of the least expensive dolphin watch trips and they use a relatively small boat so they don't get too crowded ---> www.furycat.com/key-west/watch-dolphins.htm

A little more expensive and a little longer trip which makes it worth the extra cost is something like the Echo ---> http://dolphinecho.com/dolphin.htm

You have to see which fits your purse and schedule the best, and it's best to book on-line so you should start checking the weather for Key West a few days before you go and decide and book.

There are a few more alternatives if you want them.

Pjk

Westchester, New...
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5. Re: Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

Thanks, everyone!!! Truman's Little White House sounds great. I'll look up the suggested lunch spots. It sounds like we can just find a parking spot (not marked Residential) or lot near where the dolphin trip is and feel safe parking there.

PJK, I have thought about Echo but the reviews seemed to talk more about snorkeling and eating rather than seeing wild dolphins, which is our main interest. The reviews for Dolphin Watch all mention seeing dolphins. Have you done either or know people who have, and do you know if it is typical to see lot of dolphins on both? The cost for the more expensive trip is ok as it's not something we may have the opportunity to do again and want the best dolphin experience possible. Thanks!

Pjk
New Jersey
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6. Re: Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

Virtually all of the dolphin watch trips start by heading out to the same place - the dolphin playground just off Key West since it's the most likely place to see them, but everyone keeps in radio contact with the other boats in case there are better sightings elsewhere. I was on a trip where we saw 18 dolphins (someone was keeping count) but mentioned that the day before they had only seen two. As you can imagine there's no guarantee what you will see, but it's rare that I have taken any kind of trip out of Key West that we didn't see dolphins either on the way out or coming back in. And, yes, it's difficult to find one of these trips that doesn't include a snorkel stop. It's possible to spend a lot of time chasing after dolphins which can cut into the snorkeling time which is what can happen with a trip like the one that the Echo does.

hth

Pjk

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

Turtle Kraals or Schooner Wharf (basically next to each other, on the Key West Bight) come to mind for a great and relatively inexpensive lunch with a good bit of local color mixed in. Avoid pretty much any place directly on Duval, except for maybe Hog's Breath. Conch Republic Seafood is pretty good, too, although slightly more expensive (and tourist-y) and the service was getting crappy last time I was there.

Yeah, the public parking lots/garages are pretty safe. Come to think about it, KW old town is a pretty safe place. Drunk tourists are the main issue.

Checklist of "walking around" places --

Truman House

Hemmingway House

Chart Room bar at happy hour (on the grounds of the Pier House Hotel)

Capt Tony's Saloon (I know you're not into drinking, but the history of these places is amazing)

The Scavenger's museum

Mallory Square at sunset

Westchester, New...
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8. Re: Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

Thanks, JohnK1954!

Thanks again,PJK! it sounds like then we would see about the same amount of dolphins on either trip then? We have no objection to snorkeling, but weather permitting will do several snorkel trips around Looe Key and the Marathon area on other days and are taking the trip out of Key West specifically because of seeing dolphins so just want the best opportunity!

Pjk
New Jersey
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9. Re: Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

Your odds are probably a little better on the Fury's trip since they use a faster, motor boat and would be able to get to places quicker, but I have to believe you'd enjoy a sail on a smaller catamaran like the Echo better.

Pjk

Westchester, New...
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10. Re: Day trip to Key West - where to park, eat etc.

Thanks, Pjk. I actually grew up on the coast of Maine, and we had a (much, much smaller!) sailboat so a sail is appealing!

Thanks, everyone for all your input! If you have any questions about the NYC area, Maine or cuddling koalas in Australia, just let me know!