The End of the Road Literally
Coming to the end of the road might be an everyday occurrence for you; the cul-de-sac in front of your apartment building or the dead-end street leading toward your dorm. The ends of these roads are boring and familiar. It is time you discovered the literal end of the road by taking a trip to Key West, Florida.
If you are someone who likes to have a good time and enjoys a party atmosphere regardless of the hour of day, then Key West is the place for you. Affectionately referred to as the Conch Republic, Key West is home to a very diverse population of locals, long-term visitors, transients, and tourists. A visit to this beautiful and unique island is the ultimate lesson in Sociology.
Getting here is simple and aesthetically pleasing
From Homestead, head south on U.S. 1 through the other keys (indescribably beautiful scenery) and continue until you either drive into the ocean or find a place to park. MCRT Insider Tip: Parking is at a premium and can be very hard to come by. There are pay lots around town but they can end up draining your supply of fun money. Although it might be tedious, try finding a spot on a side street- but make sure there are no restrictions. Doing so will save you a considerable amount of time, hassle, and cash.
Do no be fooled by the relatively small size of Key West; you could easily spend a week here and still be unable to scratch everything off your must do list. A quick trip to the Visitor Center will provide you with all the necessary maps and information on lodging, restaurants, sights, et cetera. However, no visitors guide is required to explain the beauty and excitement Key West has to offer. It hangs in the air complemented by the alluring smell of the ocean.
Duval Street is the main drag and a very popular place for tourists seeking a meal or a good time. It is full of restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops catering to a variety of interests. After dark, Duval turns into a massive party. Portions of the street are blocked off from vehicular traffic, leaving you free to stumble around without worry. It bears similarities to Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Mallory Square is another popular destination, especially around dusk when street performers put on shows as diverse as the population. This is a great place to people watch and absorb the true Key West experience. Vendors provide delicious treats for cheap if you are in the mood.
Two points of interest are author Ernest Hemingway’s house and the monument marking the short ninety mile distance between Key West and the island nation of Cuba. Both are interesting, are on the visitors map, and have great photographic potential. Even if you are not a Hemingway fan, stop in at his former favorite hang out, Sloppy Joe’s Bar for a bite to eat or a cold beverage. Top it all off with a slice of key lime pie from one of the many cafés or dessert shops around town.
Depending on where you stay, most everything is accessible on foot and all of these activities are within a moderate walking distance of one another. Because of the parking situation, the three preferred methods of transportation are: your own two feet, bicycles, and scooters. The best way to see all of Key West is to rent either a bicycle or a scooter from the numerous rental shops. Leave your car behind on this road trip.
With so much to offer and a virtually unlimited amount of exciting things to do and see, Key West is an awesome place to visit. Great nightlife, beaches, food, people, and reasonable prices make this tropical paradise irresistible. Who knew a trip to the end of the road could be so much fun!
By: Gordon Alford