The very last thing I wanted to share from our time in the keys is about our day trip to Key West with the kids! We love Key West! I actually went here for my bachelorette party and Peter and I have been back together for a few anniversaries. I am sure we will have more trips in our future without the kids, however this year, we did not really have anyone to leave them with in Key Largo for our anniversary so we did a family day trip!
Key West is definitely not a place I’d think to take my kids to. We like the bar hopping, the relaxing by the pool at our favorite hotel, Casa Marina, and the restaurants (especially Better Than Sex even though I’m not a dessert person! None of this is really kid friendly, however, last year when we were in Key Largo we figured we could take the kids for a day. They loved it and were excited to come back this year! Our wedding anniversary is August 4th so we chose this day to do our trip down there.
I stand by my comment the Key West is more of an adult friendly place, however, we did have a good time with the kids and I’ll share some of what we did in case it helps anyone visiting with kids!
With or without kids, Peter and I have always enjoyed walking around the marina and looking at the boats. We’ll usually grab a drink while we do this and we make it a thing. Key West does not have open container law, however, as long as you are not walking around with glass and are behaving yourself, no one is going to tell you anything for walking from place to place with a drink. We drove into Key West, parked near the marina and grabbed a much needed beer thanks to the heat to take a walk around. Not sure if most kids would enjoy this but my kids definitely liked walking around and looking at all the different boats!
From here we thought the Hemingway house would be something fun for the kids to see. Peter and I had never been either so this seemed like the perfect occasion. While walking over we decided to make a pit stop at one of our favorite bars, the green parrot. I had considered doing a whole blog post about this place with a review on the book that brought us to it, however, when I got to thinking about it I don’t remember enough of the book to write a review right now. This takes me back to how I should have really started this blog sooner! I do know that there are only two books Peter and I have both read, The Art of Racing in the Rain and the book that brought us here, The Cuban Affair. Otherwise, we have different tastes in books. I have to say though, while I don’t remember the details of the book, The Cuban Affair, does appeal to almost anyone! It’s got tons of action, romance, and some pretty accurate Cuban culture. I definitely recommend it and would write a better synopsis on it if I could remember the details of book. In the book, the characters frequent a bar in Key West called the Green Parrot. On one of our kid free anniversary trips Peter and I decided that we needed to figure out if the Green Parrot was a real place. It turns out it is! So we went and in a nutshell, we walked in, ran into a random guy and girl at the bar who were pretty inebriated, and decided to hang out with them the rest of the night… mainly because the whole thing was a train wreck and we wanted to see where it all ended up! They had driven to Key West from Key Largo and had no idea how they’d get back after drinking all day! We drank, danced and partied like college kids! The next morning we decided to behave like adults haha It was a good time! Kids or not though, we couldn’t walk by without going in to grab a drink! Fortunately they actually have arcade games which Peter Jr. loves and it was early on a Wednesday so it really wasn’t too crazy.
After this we finally made our way to the Hemingway House. Fortunately, the Green Parrot is near the Hemingway House. If you are visiting the Hemingway House, be aware that you will need cash to purchase tickets! We did not have cash on us. It’s $17 per adult and $7 per child over 5. Fortunately since Peter is still 5, he went in free! Nonetheless, we had a problem since we did not have an ATM card either. Fortunately a good Samaritan overhead our situation and she had enough cash to pay our entrance. I paid her back via Venmo and we were good to go!
They have guided tours that start at specific times and the one that was starting when we arrived was already full. We did not want to wait around so we just looked around the house ourselves but if you are interested in a guided tour, keep this in mind. The kids definitely thought we were here to see the famous six-toed cats! They loved it because you are actually allowed to touch and pet the cats. Most of them are asleep but it’s fun for the kids!
The six toed cats came about because a captain came down to Key West from North Carolina with a cat who had six toes. Hemingway liked the cat so when the cat had a litter, the captain gave Hemingway one of the cats. Hemingway named the cat Snowball. All the cats with six toes are descendants of Snowball! I think Peter may have picked up more history walking around the house than I did and I would love to go back and do a guided tour sometime but I did think that part was very interesting!
We wanted to have an early dinner and we knew we would need something to hold us over so from here we had decided to check out a food truck that had amazing reviews. It’s called Seaside Café at the Mansion. It was our anniversary and we were in Key West celebrating so if it wasn’t because we were just looking for something to ‘hold us over’ I may not have gone for this since at the end of the day, our research showed it was a food truck. Let me tell you- I am SO GLAD we went! The food and drinks were AMAZING! Also, don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s a food truck. You still arrive to find a hostess at the front to seat you and you still have a waitress bringing food and drinks. We started with the mojitos. I actually do not usually order mojitos unless it’s at a Cuban restaurant, and even then most of the time they are not great. My family owned Cuban restaurants and they had amazing mojitos which are hard to top. Most places will make them to sweet and too weak. Seaside Cafe had signs up saying they served the BEST mojitos and the BEST margaritas so we figured we’d give it a shot. I have to say that the mojito at Seaside Cafe was the first to come close to the ones from my family’s restaurants! We told the waitress we were impressed and she mentioned it’s because they put less of the sugary stuff and more of the rum… just how we like it!
We then ordered the Island Poke Cups and Conch Fritters. Both were SO GOOD! The Island Poke Cups come in a tostone (fried green plantain) and the fish was very fresh. The Conch Fritters were possibly the best we’ve had in the keys- and given the amount of time we spend in the keys, especially between this summer and last summer, that’s a BIG statement!
I am so happy we came here! Everything was so good that after visiting, it will become a staple on any trip we do to Key West!
From here we had some time to kill so we decided to walk around the shops on Duvall. The kids really enjoyed this since the shops mostly have quirky souvenir type things. We promised them each a toy. There was one shop where they both fell in love with respective toys. Peter especially was really excited about his pirate set! Unfortunately, the store was only accepting cash at the moment so we could not buy their toys. Amazon eventually came to the rescue though!
We then had our early dinner at Firefly. This also has amazing reviews! If you are looking for keys style food, this isn’t the place to come, however, since we had been in the keys for almost a month at that point. and still had a couple weeks there, we were ok with a change of pace. It’s a cute cafe but the type of place that has cloth table clothes and somewhat feels more upscale than your typical keys restaurant. As everywhere in the keys though, we were totally ok coming in with our shorts and flip flops! If I had to guess, they may draw the line at coming in wearing a bathing suit! The food was southern style food and it was very good although I can’t say it topped our favorite southern restaurant which is in Disney Springs- Chef Arts Homecomin’.
This concluded our day in Key West since we still had a bit of a drive back to Key Largo. We couldn’t leave without a pit stop in Blue Heaven to pick up the best Key Lime pie in the keys! After all the eating we’d done throughout the day, it was definitely to go! I wanted to mention that I do think taking a photo at the southernmost point where you are only 90 miles away from Cuba is a must, especially if you are of Cuban descent like we are. We did not include this on our trip this time around because we had done it the previous year and the line was long. It was also really hot out. We would have sucked it up though had we not already had a family photo there.
We left thinking our adventures were over for the day but we had a special treat on the way home! Whenever we drive through Big Pine Key Peter always says to keep an open eye for Key Deer. Well, I guess since this time we were driving at night, we had an opportunity to see one! The kids were asleep in the car at this point but we woke them up to say hello to our new friend! Note how I refer to Key Largo as ‘home’. This is because it truly did become our home!
Is Key West more of an adult atmosphere? YES of course it is! Especially on a weekend. BUT can you find things to enjoy as a family- OF COURSE YOU CAN! While at this time I’m not interested in planning a weekend trip to visit Key West with the kids, I think our little day trips will continue as long as we continue to spend part of our summers in the Upper Keys! We definitely had a memorable day!
Thanks for visiting!