Tag: Key

The 15 Top Things to Do in Key West

By MM Travel and Tours in Destinations to Travel


Are you heading to Key West in Florida?  Good choice!  There’s a lot to do there from water adventures to the social scene.  Here is a list of the 15 top things to do in Key West.

1.  See The Southernmost Point

The Instagrammable Southernmost Point is found at South and Whitehead Streets. This place is significant because from here you only need to travel 90 miles to reach Cuba.  In 1983 the City of Key West erected a special concrete oversized buoy here.  Ever since then this peculiar landmark has become one of the isle’s most photographed places.    

2.  Take A Tour Of The Hemingway Home

Key West

Key West might be small but there’s a lot of history here.  There are also a lot of museums.  Why not begin your visit with the popular Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum.  You’ll find it in Old Town Key West.  Explore the former home of the Nobel Prize winner and pet one of the famous six-toed cats too. 

3.  Walk Down Duval Street

Veteran visitors confirm that Duval Street is the place to be in Key West.  This popular passage runs north and south from thriving Mallory Square to the Southernmost Point.  It features funky boutiques, outdoor cafes, art galleries, restaurants, and some of the nation’s most well-known bars and saloons too.  The American Planning Association declared it an official “Great Street” in 2012.

4.  Enjoy A Paddle Adventure

Try taking a stand-up paddleboard or kayak through the many mangroves and beyond to the sun-kissed crystal clear water.  Then you can go for a little swim with tropical fish, sea turtles and possibly a dolphin.  Take a class in PaddleYoga.  There are even companies that offer private charters and guided tours.  Rentals are as low as $30.00 each.

5.  Visit The Key West Lighthouse

Again, Key West has a lot of history.  Part of that is the Key West Lighthouse & Museum.  It harkens back to the 1800s and is managed by the Key West Art and Historical Society.  So climb those 88 steps up to the top.  Learn about the first lighthouse keeper, Barbara Mabrity, who was one of the only ladies who had the position. 

6.  Hit The Beach

This one’s a no-brainer!  Smathers Beach has everything you need for a day of fun in the sun.  Hit the beach and enjoy yourself!  Swim in the aquamarine water.  

Rent a mini-sailboat.  Play a rousing game of volleyball on the sand or simply relax.  You can rent chairs, rafts, umbrellas, and even more for as little as $10.00 a day.

7.  Set Sail In Sunset

Another well-known natural attraction here in Key West is the stunning sunsets.  Naturally, you really must make time to set sail for an exceptional evening that is both beautiful and traditional.  There are businesses here that specialize in a number of different sunset cruise opportunities.  They range from peppy run and reggae parties to rather romantic champagne-style cruises.  Rates start at $40.00.

8.  Go Barhopping

Not big on water sports?  Key West has plenty to do for partiers too.  It’s home to numerous unique clubs and bars as well.  

Frequent flyers suggest starting at Captain Tony’s Saloon.  Opened in 1851, this pub was originally an icehouse that also served as a morgue.  This historic hot spot once hosted such celebs as  Jimmy Buffett, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and the infamous Captain Tony himself.

9.  Browse The Local Art

key west

Some travelers believe that the local artists are often inspired by the beautiful tropical landscape and the eclectic culture too.  Whatever the case, Key West has many artistic residents.  Browse the numerous art galleries along Duval Street.  The best place to start is at Gallery Uno where you can check out the work of well-known local artist Alberto DeAndrea.

10.  Taste The Key Lime Pie

Foodies and folks with a sweet tooth simply must sample a slice (or more) of the delicious Key lime pie.  Those in the know suggest stopping in at Kermit’s Key Lime Shoppe.  It has been a popular place for dessert for decades now.  Be sure to try their citrus salsa, lime mango chutney, and homemade taffy too.

11.  Catch A Great Show

Image courtesy of waterfrontplayhouse.org

Don’t forget!  Key West offers visitors great entertainment choices too.  See a drag queen show at Aqua Key West or take in the nightly celebration held at Mallory Square.  It features many local artisans.  You can even catch one of the popular COAST Projects’ live concerts.  Don’t forget the Waterfront Playhouse or the Red Barn Theatre either.

12.  Go Biking Around Town

Key West
Image courtesy of Pinterest

If you’d like a little exercise, travel the isle via bicycle.  It’s a nice way to enjoy the Key West sunshine and warm tropical breezes.  In fact, several of the hotels in town even rent bicycles to their guests.  It’s an invigorating way to take in the sights and avoid the hassle of hunting for parking spots.

13.  Try Dining al Fresco

Again, Key West has plenty of options for anyone looking to eat his/her way around the isle.  Begin your food run on Duval Street at Caroline’s Café at the Dr. Joseph Y. Porter House.  Try Caroline’s Famous Fish Sandwich or some Key West conch fritters.  Finally, have a tasty handcrafted cocktail at Caroline’s Other Side. 

14.  “Butterfly Kisses”

Visit the popular Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.  It’s a great place to see especially if you like vibrant butterflies and nature in general.  There you will discover not only 50+ species of butterflies but also waterfalls, and gardens as well.  Admission here is as low as $412.00 per adult and only $8.50 for children.

15.  Take The Ferry To The Dry Tortugas

Take a 70-minute Yankee Freedom ferry ride to the Dry Tortugas National Park.  If you like boat rides then charter a boat.  Highlights here include one of the country’s biggest 19-century fortresses.  The Ferry rides are as low as $175.00 per adult and $125.00 per child.  Prices include the entrance fee to the park.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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River Cruising with Avalon Waterways: First Thoughts About Key Differences

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel


By Matt Long | Published to LandLopers.com

In the last 7-8 years, I’ve been on a number of river cruises not only in Europe, but also in many other parts of the world. My enjoyment with this style of travel isn’t unique either; interest in seeing the world from a smaller and more intimate ship has increased dramatically. I just returned from another one of these fun travel experiences, but sailing with a company that was new to me and on an itinerary that certainly wasn’t average. Since I’m in a position to compare and contrast with other cruise experiences, that’s what I want to do today and, in the process, hopefully share what the experience of sailing with Avalon Waterways on the Danube was really like. This isn’t a full review; that’s still to be published. No, rather I think that given just how many river cruise lines there are, that it’s first important to learn what makes some of them stand out.

What is Avalon Waterways

Founded in 2004, Avalon Waterways regards itself as a relaxed luxury cruise line that operates 16 ships in various parts of the world, but especially in Europe. Their ships are called Suite Ships, which I’ll detail more in another paragraph, but it means that their rooms are larger than the industry average and feature incredible panorama windows. From my own experience, they are a company that doesn’t fear innovation and offer unique experiences that do indeed make them stand out from their competitors. They also have a fierce commitment to the welfare of their crew and staff that, in turn, improves the guest experience in almost every way. Ships also accommodate slightly fewer guests than the industry norm, creating a more intimate and almost private experience. No, Avalon certainly isn’t your average cruise line and I think it’s the experiences off the ship that best prove that.

Active & Discovery

I sailed on the Danube from Budapest to Linz, Austria on one of the company’s Active & Discovery itineraries. Offered several times throughout the year on different rivers and ships, these itineraries are definitely not your average river cruise experience. These cruises are for guests who want to do and not just see and offer a wide variety of included-excursions that enable passengers to be active and fully engaged with the local cultures. As I learned, Active is no understatement and on my cruise guests had plenty of options including: biking in Budapest, hiking through national forests, jogging along the streets of Vienna, just to name a few. This is tempered by the Discovery side, which is very much focused on bringing local cultures to life in any number of ways. For me it meant learning some Hungarian in Budapest, taking a cooking class in Vienna and visiting a Trappist monastery in Austria followed by a beer and cheese tasting. When combined, the Active & Discovery itineraries feature some of the most engaging excursions I’ve ever seen, whether on a river or ocean ship, and nearly all were included at no extra charge. Looking back at it now, the excursions made an already fun experience so much more robust and engaging and it’s a concept I can’t believe more companies haven’t copied.

Cabins

Unless I am in a suite, I am nearly always underwhelmed by cruise ship cabins. They are what they are and over the years I’ve become accustomed to their compact size. Avalon is different though and for the company, it’s one of the major features that sets them apart from others. Onboard their Suite Ships, nearly all rooms are Panorama Suites and feature a much larger room size than the standard cabin on any of their competitors. When I walked in, it didn’t feel like a small river cruise cabin and, for me at least, that was the first test. What drew my eye instantly though were the massive windows, a standard feature in all of their Panorama Suites.

With the widest opening windows in river cruising, these wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows open 11-feet wide and, when combined with the innovative Open-Air Balconies, create an incredible feeling of bringing the outside in. To feature these views, the beds in the cabins actually face the windows, another unique design concept that shockingly hasn’t been copied by rival lines. Beds can be further personalized with a mattress and pillow menu, ideal for picky people like me who want a certain firmness in their beds. All together, these features come together to create a luxurious and infinitely comfortable experience the likes of which I’ve never seen onboard a river cruise ship.

Austria

The Intangible

I usually tell people that no matter their background or inclinations, there is somewhere in the world a cruise for them. I believe that strongly because I’ve been on a fair number of them and understand the different personalities that cruise lines possess and how those personalities greatly impact the travel experience. This was my first time sailing with Avalon and after more than a week with them, I walked away impressed. They feature many special touches I would expect in a luxury experience, but without any stuffiness or rigidity. The cruises aren’t just destination focused, they are guest-focused which, oddly (and sadly) enough is not the industry norm. Every guest was made to feel special, that their unique needs would be met, allowing them to enjoy their trip. Finally, all of these disparate features coalesce for me to create an intangible feeling that I can’t necessarily put into words. Avalon felt like a warm and welcoming space, a ship that would allow me to explore but also have fun. It all just felt right and sometimes in the travel experience, that’s enough.

As I mentioned in the introduction, expect a more comprehensive review of the sailing experience soon. I first though wanted to share not those quotidian details one might find on any river cruise experience, but the special attributes only found onboard an Avalon Suite Ship experience.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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All content is property of the owner, unless otherwise specified. This content is not owned, or maintained by M & M Travel and Tours, and is used only for informational purposes. Please visit the content owners link via the source link for more information.