We spent 24 hours in the Florida Keys this past weekend and I'm already looking forward to going back. The Keys start just 15 miles south of Miami, but it takes about 3 1/2 hours to reach Key West.
It's worth the drive though...says the passenger :) Key West is beautiful and as long you stay far from the drunk bachelor parties on Duval Street, it's a great place to visit!
The islands divide the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico, and the water is a gorgeous turquoise blue. The beaches are very rocky, but the water felt great. We were both surprised to find that the water wasn't nearly as warm as Miami beaches...which was awesome because it actually felt refreshing.
Saturday night we had dinner at Azur, which was recently recommended by Key West Girl. Stephanie is just one of many bloggers I started following after moving to Miami. TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc are great, but I trust local bloggers' recommendations even more.
Chris and I both loved Azur. The food was great, the service was phenomenal and it was located near the one and only parking garage. We brought our bikes, figuring they would be the best way to get around the small island, but road construction and lack of bike lanes forced us to drive instead :(
On our way home, we stopped at Bahia Honda State Park. Pictured below is the Bahia Honda bridge that was originally part of the Overseas Highway. Sections were removed in order to accommodate boat traffic.
After taking bridge photos, we drove through the park checking out the campsites and (air-conditioned!) cabins. It's so hot and humid down here that I can't fathom trying to sleep in a tent, nor do I want to encounter any Florida wildlife while tent camping.
In Key West, we visited just a few sites during this first trip, including the Ernest Hemingway House (and his 44 polydactyl cats), Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Higgs Beach and a super short stop at the Southernmost Point buoy...just to say we'd been there :)
We already have a list of things we'd like to do on our next visit, including sailing on a schooner, eating homemade pasta at Mangia Mangia, yoga on the beach and maybe a trip out to Dry Tortugas National Park.