My trip to Key West, Florida last month will go down as one of my favorites so far this year. Adam and I had both been to Key West briefly before, but this was our first time together and our first time spending several days exploring the area.
Today, I’m sharing my experience staying at the Marker Resort on the northwest side of Key West, but I’ll also have a travel guide (or two!) on what we did while in the Conch Republic.
VISIT KEY WEST
I’ve always been intrigued by the tropical vibes and lawless reputation that seem to define Key West. It’s a Caribbean town in the United States. You feel like you’re a world away from everyday rules and regulations. And, that’s probably why it’s served as a mecca for the arts and cultural world.
For literary fans, Key West has been somewhat of a pilgrimage spot to see the home of Ernest Hemingway, walk the streets that Tennessee Williams once strolled, and pop in the bookstore that Judy Blume owns and where she’ll greet you with the same friendly voice that may have guided you on paper through your pre-teen years.
Not a bookworm? Visit Key West for the amazing, Cuban-tinged, lobster-rich food, the warm sunshine and plentiful outdoor activities, and the laid-back lifestyle.
STAY AT THE MARKER RESORT
While in Key West, we stayed at the Marker Resort, a four-star property located on the edge of the Key West Historic Seaport. The hotel felt open and airy, a welcome respite from the humidity of a Caribbean climate (I like to think of it as a warm hug as soon as you walk outside), and the pools were perfect for a late afternoon dip after a day of hitting 20,000 steps around Key West and before heading out to dinner.
Looking for amenities? There’s free wifi (a must for a blogger!), a fitness center (that I obviously didn’t use, but heard has everything you need), and, y’all, I swear one of my must-have amenities is a plush robe and I got one here. It’s such a nice treat when I’m traveling – it’s what separates my everyday getting ready process from pampering myself when I’m away from home!
WHAT TO DO IN THE AREA
At the Marker Resort, we were just a short walk from Duval Street and all of the raucous goings on of Key West – totally doable even in the 90% humidity of June in Key West. Even if nightlife isn’t your usual scene, you should still walk up to Duval both during the day and after hours.
You’ll find vibrant restaurants and shops throughout the day, but it’s an entirely different world at night. That lawless characteristic I mentioned? It comes out at night, but in the most cheerful, fun way. Bar patrons walk from establishment to establishment with drinks in hand, everyone coming together for a celebratory evening out. Then, on the walk home, all is calm on the side streets. There’s something about the quiet, the heat, the palm trees, and the porch lights that feels so magical.
Staying at the Marker, you’re right on top of the Key West Historic Seaport, so, of course, you’ll want to make a reservation on one of the sunset cruises. We went with the tour offered through Sebago and had a wonderful time – I’ll discuss more in my travel guide, but I’d highly recommend. You’ll also want to stroll through the busy Seaport during the day taking in all of the characters that walk right off their boats and into the open-air bars.
You’ll find two of my favorite spots within a block of the Marker. Stop by Cuban Coffee Queen for breakfast and make sure to get an iced coffee, then revel in all that is the chocolate covered key lime pie at Kermit’s.
The most important thing when staying in Key West is trying to stay cool and between the light, airy whites and blues of the decor at the Key West, the cranking AC, and the porches above the palm trees, I was able to relax comfortably at the Marker Resort. You may think I’m overstating this, but, seriously, it’s hot. A nice, breezy resort to come back to after a long day of exploring is oh so necessary.
Our room was spacious and modern, with a king size bed with crisp white sheets and a fluffy duvet. There was just enough seating, but still plenty of room to spread out. The bathroom was fit for a queen with double sinks, a soaking tub and glass shower. And, despite the heat, I loved taking my cup of coffee out on the porch in the morning to watch over the busy seaport.
Also, you can’t beat a poolside piña colada, and I had more than a few while I was in Key West. The lush, tropical surroundings made the pools appear to be an oasis amidst the bustling seaport outside the resort.
STAY PUT OR EXPLORE
You could certainly spend your entire Key West vacation at the Marker Resort hanging out by the pool drinking tropical drinks, ordering from the poolside restaurant, Cero Bodega, and relaxing with a view of the ocean. And I 100% wouldn’t judge you. I wish we’d had another day to spend doing just that.
You could also have the concierge book you a bike to ride around for the day and take to the streets of Key West exploring all the sights from the Historic Seaport to the Ernest Hemingway House to the Southermost Point. It’s your to decide. Make Key West as relaxing, as historical, or as boozy as you’d like it to be.