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Florida: Key West

After a pretty full-on (but fun) time in Orlando, we flew to Key West to stay at Silver Palms Inn for five nights. Located a few minutes from Duval Street, Key West's famous party street, we were close enough that we didn't have to walk for ages to get anywhere, but we weren't caught up in the thick of it. (Key West is only four miles long by one mile wide, so you don't really need to rent a car.)

Sunset, Key West, Florida
For us Key West was about relaxing and recharging, and we definitely picked the right place. Although it's known as a bit of a party town, the island is super laid-back. Pool time, reading and awesome food were at the top of our to-do list, but we did visit The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum (home of many six-toed cats!), the Southernmost point buoy and, briefly, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Briefly because when we arrived some epic torrential rain decided to join us. Doh!

Southernmost point buoy, Key West, Florida
Now, Ernest Hemingway is connected with Sloppy Joe's, a rather famous bar on Duval Street. The ambience is definitely touristy and not what it would have been like in Hemingway's day, but pop in for a drink to say you've been. Another great place to head for a drink is Sunset Pier, right by Mallory Square. Funnily enough, it's the perfect spot to have a cocktail (rum runners FTW) and enjoy the sunset! We enjoyed a local speciality here, too - conch fritters - though Key West is known for its Key lime pie. Make sure you try a piece. Or two! And some Key lime ice cream from Flamingo Crossing if you need to cool down. (Maybe avoid the Key lime Cuban cigars though!)

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West, Florida
Food-wise we LOVED The Flaming Buoy Grill Co. Definitly the best food we ate in Florida - the flavours were beautiful, plus the service was brilliant. For lunch, you want Bien (ranked #1 on TripAdvisor). I gorged on their awesome Carribean roast Cuban sandwich as Key West's famous chickens pecked at our feet. The taste! Those onions! Incredible. (And I'm not a sandwich person.) Other places we enjoyed: Onlywood Pizzeria Trattoria, Firefly (beautiful pulled pork), Bagatelle (the bread is DIVINE!), Charlie Macs and Sandy's (another great spot for a Cuban sandwich). One thing to note though if you're there off-season is that some of the bars and restaurants are closed whilst the owners are on *their* hols.

Pork tenderloin from Bagatelle, Key West, Florida
Whilst we may have arrived in a small prop plane, we left Key West in a shiny red Mustang convertible to drive up the Florida Keys for the last bit of our holiday... Miami! I'll tell you all about that next time, but we had a wonderful time in Key West - despite quite a bit of rain; oh, hurricane season! - and loved the island vibes. x

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