Key West A Great Shore Trip Or Stand-Alone Experience

We have visited Key West a number of times and always considered a stop in the Florida port a bonus on any cruise itinerary.  A recent tour that hit many of the highlights in a short amount of time, bringing a good overview of what Key West has to offer in the way of attractions, dining and history.  Still, lingering a while at Key West might bring an entirely different experience and be a viable pre- or post-cruise option when sailing from a South Florida port.

It’s that notion of adding a visit to Key West either before or after sailing from Miami or Fort Lauderdale that piqued my interest during this visit.  From our home in Orlando it’s about a six and a half hour drive.  Kind of long for travelers sailing from Port Canaveral with a day or two on the front or back end of a cruise.  Still, it is a beautiful drive and those who do it would surely see a great part of the state of Florida.  But at a little over 3 hours from Miami, flying in and renting a car for the trip is surely something to consider.

In Key West, we find a variety of places to stay from top-end hotels to homey bed and breakfasts.  The 5000+ rooms available in Key West often feature ocean views too.

Cruise travelers commonly walk off their ship and into town for shopping or lunch and make a quick day of it. That’s a mistake, as we saw on a whirlwind tour of Key West, first stopping by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary for an overview of the area.  On the Key West Old Town Trolley Tour, we went through the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum then on to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.

No trip to Key West would be complete without a Conch Fritter or two so off to landmark dining and drinking venues  Hogs Breath Saloon and Sloppy Joes we went, as we see in this photo gallery.

See more photos in our Visit Key West photo gallery