- Money & Business
- LB50 Favs
By Michele McIntyre –
I just returned from an epic trip to Miami and the Florida Keys, including five days in sunny Key West. We stayed four nights at the fabulous Ocean Key Resort & Spa, located at Key West’s best address: Zero Duvall Street.
Key West is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, spa-lovers, sport fisherman and partiers alike. Key West boasts the only living coral reef in the North America just 7 miles off shore. In short, there’s something for everyone. Here are the highlights of the attractions we visited in Key West:
Barefoot Billy’s Jet Ski Tours: For two hours we zipped around the island of Key West covering 28 miles, in and out of coves, along the picturesque shoreline and even under a bridge following single file behind one of Barefoot Billy’s friendly tour guides. We stopped in five locations along the way for a history lesson and commentary from our knowledgeable leader. Even if you’ve never ridden a jet ski before, they’ll have you up and running after a five-minute safety and basic operations lesson.
When our impeller got clogged with seaweed, a very common occurrence with a jet pump, our guide came to the rescue and jumped into the water to clear them away. We were back underway in no time flat.
The tours are fun, kid-friendly and exciting! And they pick you up at your hotel so you don’t have to worry about transportation.
Tip: Go late in the day when the cruise ship passengers have returned to their ships, the sun is less intense and many visitors are at happy hour or getting ready for dinner. Our tour started at 4:00 pm, ended at 6:00 pm and had us back to our hotel in time for Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square.
Key West Conch Tour Train: A 90-minute, 3-stop narrated tour highlighting the sights, architecture and history of Key West. Children 12 and under ride free.
Tip: Take the tour when you first arrive in Key West for a snapshot of what the island has to offer so you can plan the rest of your visit.
Sebago Combination Snorkel Reef and Champagne Sunset Cruise: This catamaran sail/snorkel/sunset combination aboard the Sebago Cubed was a blast! The crew was professional, helpful and well-skilled at both snorkeling and sailing, making guest safety and satisfaction a priority. While our vessel seated 65 there were only 35 guests aboard our cruise, upping the comfort factor and personal attention from the crew exponentially. Snorkel gear and beverages included.
Tip: Plan to have an early dinner or light meal before the cruise – you’ll want to have something in your stomach for when the wine, beer and champagne start flowing post-snorkel. Soda and water is also available. Check-in was at 4:30 pm and we returned to the dock at 8:00 pm. While the beverages flowed freely, there was no food served on board. Guests are welcome to bring their own snacks.
Fury Rum & Reggae Combo: We had so much fun on the Sebago tour, we opted for another sunset/snorkel combination the following night. Fury’s boats are generally larger and carry more passengers than some of the other sailing companies. It can be crowded on board which translates to crowds getting into the water (via the stairway to the sea) and at the snorkel site itself.
The reggae music tended to stray a bit into other genres and the rum punch was a bit tough to swallow. Still, we had a good time and the crew was always concerned with guest safety. And of course the Key West sunset was sensational as always. Snorkel gear and beverages included.
Tip: Board early to get a prime space on the deck of your choice.
Attraction passes supplied by Key West Attractions Association.