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Key West: Turkey Day in Paradise

Instead of stuffing ourselves with turkey and watching football, Nick and I decided to spend Thanksgiving soaking up the rays in beautiful Key West, Florida. We quickly packed our bags and were on our way to enjoy a very memorable holiday trip.

Our Thanksgiving vacation began with a direct flight from Detroit to Miami on Northwest Airlines. Upon arrival in Miami, we picked up a convertible, which would be our means of transportation on the 4-hour journey down the beautiful Florida Keys. With an overnight in Miami, we woke bright and early the next morning to begin our journey and watch the sun come up over the Atlantic Ocean. The drive down Highway 1 is definitely something that every traveler should experience at least once in their lifetime. We spent the morning at leisure, cruising with the top down and enjoying some of the great towns along the way, such as Key Largo, Islamorada and Marathon. By noon, we decided it was time to get to our final destination, Key West!

Once we arrived in Key West, we cruised down famous Duval Street with a Jimmy Buffet tune playing on the radio and we were pleasantly surprised by all that this small island had to offer. Whether you’re looking for fine dining, beaches, round the clock entertainment, great shopping or unbelievable nightlife, Key West is the place to be.

With five full days and no plans, worries or responsibilities, we decided to grab a bite to eat on the pier overlooking Mallory Square and the Gulf of Mexico. By the time, we finished lunch and took a walk down Duval Street, we were able to check into the Hyatt Key West which would be our home for the evening. The Hyatt Key West is a great hotel, with an unbelievable location and outstanding service. This hotel is located just 1 block off from the northern end of Duval Street, and only 2 blocks from Mallory Square. We took advantage of this prime location and enjoyed some of Key West’s unique and lively nightlife, such as the famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar where Ernst Hemingway spent a great deal of time, Hog’s Breathe Salon, Hard Rock Café, and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.

The following morning, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at a Rooftop Café and visited the Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S. where the official “Southernmost Picture Taker” will be happy to take your photo for a nominal fee. After turning in the rental car, we settled into our home for the next four nights—the Banana Bay Resort that is an Adults Only resort located approximately 3 miles from Duval Street. Since we chose to stay a distance from Duval Street and due to the very limited parking in Key West, we decided to rent a moped, which we respectfully named “The Hog” for the remainder of our vacation. The moped experience ended up being one of the major highlights of our vacation, as we spent 200 miles riding double around Key West.

During our stay in Key West, we enjoyed a wide variety of activities. One morning, we went parasailing and had a wonderful view of Key West from 600 feet in the air. We also took a day trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park, which is located approximately 90 miles west of Key West, aboard the Fast Cat high-speed catamaran. Be sure to take along some motion sickness pills, such as Dramamine or Bonine, as the open water can be fairly rough at times. After the hour and half journey to the island, we have the option of touring Fort Jefferson, snorkeling, and enjoying the beautiful beach with an all-inclusive picnic lunch. Key West is also home to some of the most beautiful sunsets that can be viewed from Fort Zachary Park.

On our final day in paradise, we did one last lap of the island on “The Hog” and waved farewell to one the best Thanksgiving and vacations ever.

Contact me today to start planning your holiday getaway to beautiful Key West, Florida.

Julie Schafer About the Author: Julie started at Classic Travel as an intern 15 years ago and now specializes in group, leisure, and corporate travel and is highly regarded for her destination wedding planning expertise. Some of Julie’s favorite destinations include New Zealand, the Caribbean, Europe, and Hawaii. Email Julie: julie@classictravelusa.com