LOCAL EXPERT: STACY PEELE

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ITINERARY FOR WANDERING: KEY WEST

"When I want to relax and enjoy the beauty of our island, I head to Higgs Beach, which offers something for everyone," says Stacy. Escape the sunset crowds at popular Mallory Square Pier to discover your own piece of paradise. 

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ESSENTIALS

 The Historic SEaport / Photo by the Key West Historic Seaport

The Historic SEaport / Photo by the Key West Historic Seaport

When to Go

Key West's subtropical location 150 miles from Florida's mainland provides a Caribbean climate and remains a popular destination year-round. Crowds tend to taper off by late March, and temperatures remain pleasant through May. You'll find the best snorkeling conditions in June.

 The Porch craft beer and wine bar, located just off duval street

The Porch craft beer and wine bar, located just off duval street

Getting Around

With its small 7-square mile footprint, walking is the ideal way to explore the island. Cycling is also popular, with plenty of rental shops dotting the island. "I always encourage visitors to venture off the main roads to seek out the hidden gems tucked away on residential streets," says Stacy.


 Caribbean-inspired Cuisine featuring fresh seafood / Photo By Mangoes Restaurant, Key West

Caribbean-inspired Cuisine featuring fresh seafood / Photo By Mangoes Restaurant, Key West

Cuisine

A sanctuary throughout its 500-year history, the island has welcomed seafarers and freed slaves, artists, chefs, and writers, helping to create a dynamic ethnic food scene. You'll find the signature fruit, the key lime, used in everything from rum to sauces to the quintessential island dessert, key lime pie.

 Fort JEfferson in Dry Tortugas National Park / Photo by Laurence Norah/Florida Keys News Bureau

Fort JEfferson in Dry Tortugas National Park / Photo by Laurence Norah/Florida Keys News Bureau

Nature

A haven for diving, snorkeling, and kayaking, it's easy to interact with nature in the Florida Keys. The area has a long and successful history of conserving and protecting their natural resources, including sanctuaries for endangered bird and marine life, the largest barrier coral reef in the continental United States, and Dry Tortugas National Park, which protects the island and marine ecosystems in its 100-square mile footprint.


SLEEP

The Marker Resort

A luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Old Town, with a rotating arts program and a nod to traditional Key West architecture.

NYAH Not Your Average Hotel

From its central Old Town location, Not Your Average Hotel serves groups of friends ranging from two to six. Much more than a dormitory, guests will find classic Key West architecture with shady porches, several pools and a lively bar.

The Gates Hotel

For a getaway that lets guests get away from indoor fitness altogether, the Gates Hotel offers free sunrise and sunset bicycle tours when visitors want a break from the in-room yoga mats and iPads pre-loaded with workouts.


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