Weekend Getaway

48 hours in Key West, Florida, is plenty of time to relax, rejuvenate and indulge in Key lime pie

48 hours in Key West, Florida, is plenty of time to relax, rejuvenate and indulge in Key lime pie

Casa Marina Hotel
Casa Marina Key West hotel has hammocks for lounging by the beach.  Casa Marina - A Waldorf Astoria Resort/Facebook
Southern Most Point
The Southernmost Point in the continental U.S., at the corner of South Street and Whitehead Street, is 90 miles from Cuba. Shoestringweekends.wordpress.com
Salute on the Beach has Key lime pie with sky-high meringue.  Dinnerinminutes.com
Key West AIDS Memorial
Key West AIDS Memorial commemorates the people who have died from AIDS.  Photo courtesy of Key West AIDS Memorial
Casa Marina Hotel
Southern Most Point
Key West AIDS Memorial

Key West, Florida, is just the place to rejuvenate, fill up on Vitamin D and feel like yourself again after a cold winter season. However you wish to spend your time vacationing — whether bike riding or indulging in seafood, cocktails and Key lime pie — it's all available on the 7.4-square-mile island.

Because the island is so small, you can easily get around on a moped or bicycle, but if you prefer to keep your heels in-tact, rent a car. Here's how to fill your weekend.


5 p.m.: Get settled 
Arrive at Key West International Airport. Check in at the Casa Marina hotel, a Waldorf Astoria resort. Change into cool, casual-chic clothing. Go downstairs and have a martini at the hotel bar. Sit outside and enjoy the ocean breeze. 

8 p.m.: Fine dining
Drive to Louie's Backyard for dinner. Begin with a glass of bubbly and a shellfish starter, followed by a Boston lettuce and watercress salad and fresh catch entrée. Finish with a tart and sweet slice of Key lime pie. 

10 p.m.: See the stars
Drive back to the Casa Marina. Order a bottle of wine at the bar and take it to the hammocks by the beach. After you enjoy a sky blanketed with stars, head back to the hotel for a good night's rest. 


9 a.m.: Start off the day right
Head to Sarabeth's — you know, the James Beard Award-winning eatery in New York City — for an unforgettable breakfast of lemon ricotta pancakes or Key West shrimp and bacon omelet. 

11 a.m.: Duval Street shopping
The main thoroughfare for shopping and drinking, Duval Street is filled with T-shirt shops, art galleries and bars. If goofy T-shirts and seashell mementos are your thing, you will find them here.

Head to Kino Sandals for a pair of handmade leather sandals. The factory, founded by Roberto "Kino" Lopez from Cuba, has been around since 1966 and is currently run by the third-generation Lopez family. You'll find an assortment of men's, women's and children's sandals stacked behind the counter. They sell for $13-$16 a pair and are made to last a lifetime. 

1 p.m.: Lunch outside
Lunch on the patio of SHOR American Seafood Grill at Hyatt Key West Resort. Savor mahi mahi fish tacos and a piña colada as you watch the yachts go by. 

2 p.m.: Scenic ride
Rent bicycles from Eaton Bikes and take White Street all the way to the pier. Park your bikes and visit the Key West AIDS Memorial, the only official municipal AIDS memorial in the world. The names of those who have died from AIDS are inscribed in granite and embedded in the walkway. Take a walk down the pier and take in the expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean. 

For a serious ride, take Roosevelt Boulevard all the way around the island. Return to Eaton and drop off the bikes. 

5 p.m.: Cool off with a frozen treat
Before heading back to the hotel, stop by Flamingo Crossings on Duval Street for a scoop of homemade ice cream. Two of the best flavors? Banana and rum raisin. 

6 p.m.: A night on the town
Dine at Azur, with cuisine focused on European and Mediterranean flavors. Begin with charred octopus and hummus and baba ghanoush for the table. For an entrée, try the pan-roasted yellowtail snapper. 

Skip dessert and instead head to the open-air Saluté on the Beach for a slice of Key lime pie. Conchs (Key West natives) make their Key lime pie a few different ways: custardy or dense like a cheesecake, with whipped cream or meringue. At Saluté, fluffy meringue sits high on the pie, almost doubling the amount of custard.

After dessert, head to back to Duval Street. Drop by the famous grungy Sloppy Joe's Bar, which has been around since 1933, for a cocktail and live music. If one stop isn't enough, then Hog's Breath awaits. After dark, the streets are always packed with college kids, couples and hot bachelors ready to party. 


10 a.m.: Too beautiful to sleep in
Put on your swimsuits and bring towels with you for lying out on the beach. Drive to Sandy's Cafe. Don't be alarmed by the laundromat; this is where you'll find the best Cuban food in Key West. Get a Cuban coffee, a few pieces of buttery Cuban bread and plantains for breakfast to-go.

11 a.m.: Take a dip
Drive to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park — but don't expect white sandy beaches, because you won't find any in Key West. Have a breakfast picnic on the beach, and, if it's not too cold, take a dip in the water. 

1 p.m.: Literature lesson
Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum to learn about the legendary writer, who lived in Key West during the 1930s, after his time in Paris. Take a tour of the gardens and count the number of cats on the property. It is in this home that Hemingway finished A Farewell to Arms.

2 p.m.: Last meal
Go to A & B Lobster House for your last bite of seafood. Order a house specialty, like the lobster Thermidor or the Brazil nut snapper. 

4 p.m.: A final view
Before heading to the airport, drive to the Southernmost Point in the continental U.S. at the corner of South Street and Whitehead Street. At this point you will be 90 miles from Cuba. Snap a picture with your camera phone to capture the moment.