I can’t believe we are already in December! As I mentioned in my last post- life has been pretty crazy these days and it has definitely been hard to find time for my blog. I sure am trying though! Although we are definitely already almost officially in winter, and Summer 2022 is behind us, I couldn’t go without sharing about our time in Key Largo this summer. Every year I fall more and more in love with this paradise! Last year I had weekly-ish posts and you can find most of them in my special section dedicated just to the Florida Keys. Visit this link to check it out: Florida Keys Life. There is definitely more detailed information on our favorite spots in the keys within those posts!
Despite being there for about 6 weeks this summer, this year will only get 1 post and it’s mainly dedicated to what was done differently this year versus the past 2 summers. Maybe the true locals will tell me I’m wrong, but I felt this year we definitely had a few discoveries that weren’t as ‘touristy’.
I’ll start by sharing that aside from taking the exam to become a licensed real estate agent in the state of Florida, I actually started my real estate career while in Key Largo! I interviewed with brokers virtually and/or over the phone and chose which brokerage to hang my license with while living in Key Largo. On my Instagram it may look like we are on a long vacation but the reality is, we cannot take that much time off from work so we do need to bring some reality with us. I also figured since life is a little more laid back on the kid’s schedules end over there since there is no homework to worry about or after school activities (somewhat! I’ll share about this!) I would have more downtime to train and hit the ground running upon returning to Miami. I ended up jumping right into working and closed my first deal from Key Largo!
In my perfect world, I’d live in Key Largo and be a realtor there! Haha Peter also had a big work project that needed to get done so he was working quite a bit despite not being in tax season (for those who don’t know, we do taxes). We definitely DID life here and I have to say, I’ve realized that I am truly an Island girl at heart! I love the more laid back and slow pace. I had the opportunity to get to know a few true keys locals this summer and they are honestly just so happy and easy going. I also realized that while Key Largo has plenty of tourists and people who own vacation homes that come in and out, as far as true locals go, it’s actually a small town. I LOVED that small town feeling! It’s also such a beautiful place! Not a day went by that we didn’t see the ocean or some kind of wild life weather it was sea creatures or iguanas.
We definitely immersed ourselves more with locals this year than we had in the past and that is why on this post, I am sharing about some of the places we learned about that maybe aren’t as well known or as frequented by tourists as I shared last year.
You can spot this gym right off of Overseas Highway! It’s actually minutes from the house we rent so it was the perfect solution for us to make sure we stayed active over the summer. We joined for the CrossFit programming, however, they also offer a traditional gym that you can have access to 24/7.
More importantly though, we met some of the nicest people at this gym! Everyone was so friendly and welcoming! My kids even started to jump into our 7AM workouts! We truly enjoyed our experience here and if you are looking for somewhere to workout in the upper keys I definitely recommend you visit! You can totally drop in if you are just in the area for a few days.
This was definitely a favorite during out time in Key Largo this year! Despite only being there part of the summer, we ended up frequenting this place so much that some of their staff started to recognize us! This is quite possibly the BEST pizza in all of South Florida. If you have found better pizza, please let me know. Not only the pizza is amazing but the appetizers are too. We may be willing to make the hour drive to come eat here one of these days!
Do be warned, this is not your typical keys establishment so if you are looking for a tiki hut with waterfront views, you won’t find it here. If you can get past that though, the ambiance is actually really nice! You walk in to find a beautiful wine bar and what I would consider a more upscale pizza joint. Don’t worry though, you are still in the keys so you can still come in shorts and flip flops!
This one was definitely a surprise! Part of the reason we started to check out new places is because the typical keys establishments with the beautiful waterfront views were really weighing our pockets down. Given the current inflation, prices of everything have skyrocketed and the more well known places by tourists have become unaffordable on a regular basis. We decided to start asking locals what their recommendations were since we figured they are not frequenting the places tourists are. Time and time again, every time we asked, the first words out of their mouths were Alfredo’s Cookhouse. You can easily spot Alfredo’s cookhouse off the overseas highway, however, if I’m being honest it does not look like much and without it being recommended to us over and over, I would have never considered trying it.
The food is AMAZING! What is also interesting about it is that they serve different varieties of foods. My favorite was the Hibachi. I believe I was told at one point it’s so good because one of the chefs worked at either Benihana or Samuri. I also heard another chef is Mexican so while it’s a totally different cuisine, they also offer amazing Mexican food! The tortilla chips taste homemade! They also offer American cuisine. Honestly- almost anything you can think of, they serve it, and it’s all REALLY GOOD FOOD!
Another favorite this summer was Buzzard’s Roost! you will find Buzzard’s Roost right at the entrance of Key Largo on the ocean side. While it is on the water, it is located within a sound and in a marina. Being on the water is always nice and relaxing but you aren’t going to see a beautiful sunset here and I guess this makes the prices a little more affordable.
If you are looking for food that is more typical to the keys, this is the place! The fresh yellowtail snapper ceviche was probably our favorite! It is an appetizer but we ordered it a few times as an entree. The loaded potato skins are also delicious. We also enjoyed the fish dip which is made 100% with mahi. They explained to us that many places mix different types of fish into their fish dips. I also recommend ordering a margarita. They make their own mix. I personally am not a fan of margaritas with pre mixtures so I knew I had to try when they said theirs was homemade.
Finally, the coconut cake is an absolute MUST. I am not huge on desserts but this one is AMAZING! Unfortunately, I did slack with photos a bit at all these restaurants since I was slacking on my blog in general (I am getting this post up in December after all!)
I’m including RockStar Dance Studio because if I’m sharing local places, they definitely deserve a shout out! If you are visiting Key Largo as a tourist though, you’d need to be in a specific situation as we were in order to check them out!
Natalia has been working really hard on her aerial. It’s a popular skill in dance and the best way to describe it is that it’s a cartwheel with no hands. She is very close to achieving this, in fact, her instructors report she can do it as long as she thinks she is being spotted. She’s been working on this skill since summertime though and I did not want her to lose what she had worked towards before summer by taking 6 weeks off. I sought out RockStar Dance Studio and scheduled private classes for her. They were amazing and she absolutely loved going! She would train weekly with the owner’s daughter Jade.
Although we never got around to taking the kids since we usually had friends and/or family visiting on the weekends, RockStar offers a kids night on Fridays! They have a Ninja gym and show movies with popcorn. If you are ever in the area and want an adult date night, this is a great option.
That’s a wrap on what I can share on the keys this year! This post only took me almost 4 months! I’ll admit that I recently had to write a testimonial for my parish’s upcoming Emmaus retreat and it reminded me how much I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts. Fingers crossed I carve out the time for this blog and finally attain my goal of posting consistently!
Thanks for visiting!