North America,  Plan,  Travel,  Travel Itinerary

Visiting Key West on a Terrific Last Minute Vacation

Key West is a great way for people in the United States to have a last-minute vacation without leaving the country. Here you can enjoy Cuban coffee, visit Ernest Hemingway’s house, and indulge in key lime pie all in a day. Located on the southernmost point of Florida, Key West is a fantastic option to see the sun and enjoy an ocean view. 

When flights to the Caribbean don’t’ fit in your work schedule, head out to Key West to feel like you’re miles away from home (unless you live in FL, obvi). Why visit that mouse’s house when you can stand outside somewhere with a smile on your face? Not that the mouse is a bad host, it’s just that sometimes you want to sit on a boat and enjoy the sun.

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Enjoy a Cafecito at Key West’s Cuban Coffee Queen 

 I know you have your favorite drink at Starbucks/Dunkin/local-coffee-shop. And you may have learned how to enjoy espresso (just like Eay Pray Love). But you haven’t lived until you’ve tried Cuban coffee.

On this occasion to Key West, I stopped at the Cuban Coffee Queen for a caffeinated pick me up. Drink more Cuban coffee and do stupid things faster. You could order a cafe con leche (known as the best in Key West), but I decided to have a cafecito, which is like a shot of espresso with sugar. Straight to the brain. 10 out of 10 recommended for the extra energy to walk around Key West. 

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Check out Where That Rum Drinking Hemingway Lived

I hope you’ve read at least one of Ernest Hemingway’s works, and if you haven’t –shame! Start by reading A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway (purchase on Bookshop), especially if you plan to visit Paris. I’ll be here waiting…

Now that you are up to speed on what a legend Hemingway is, it’s time to see one of the places he lived. Now a museum, the Ernest Hemingway home is where you can find the infamous polydactyl (six-toed) cats. That’s right, some of these cats have one more toe than normal. 

Obviously, you’ll need to be super careful here if you have a cat allergy. But if you love cats, a visit to this home is a MUST. Even though there are signs throughout the property, “don’t pet the cats,” a simple seat on a bench will invite a fluffy feline over. If you wear black (like I did) be prepared to be covered in cat hair for the rest of the day. Worth it.

I could continue going on and on about the history of the house. But you just need to listen in on their guided tours and they’ll tell you all about it. My favorite was a story about a penny. It’s on the floor and has a great story regarding marriage (divorce?) associated with why it’s there. As always, tip your tour guide!

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End the Day With the Best Key Lime Pie Ever

Finally, you must enjoy some key lime pie while in Key West. The best way to end a day here will be a slice of pie at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. You can get some pie on a stick dipped in chocolate or even a gluten-free slice (totally separate from the other gluenated pieces).

What’s more, if you’re truly lucky, you’ll be able to see Kermit himself at the front door! You don’t have to eat just dessert, they serve breakfast, sandwiches and a kid’s menu too. I enjoyed my pie on the patio and relaxed.

There are so many more things to see and do in Key West. But relaxing with coffee before visiting a literary great’s home is good in my book (see what I did there?). The cats were very friendly and made the home tour that much more special to me since I love animals. 

Now, you don’t’ have to see the southernmost point, but if you do be prepared to stand in a long line without shade. Why stand in line for a sunburned photo when you can just chill and enjoy some pie? You could do both, just make sure to wear sunscreen, pack water, and enjoy the warm Florida sunshine. 

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Cat on Hemingway's couch

Have you been to Key West? Let me know what you did in the comments below.

The Basics – A Key West Guide

Best Time to Visit:

Whenever you want, Florida is beautiful

How to Get There:

I flew. If you drive, be prepared to sit in a lot of traffic

Getting Around:

Walk or use the FREE Duval Loop (a bright pink bus you can’t miss!)


USD or your credit card


Floridian. A form of English


Southernmost Beach Resort – Near public transport and the famous Southernmost point

Simonton Court Historic Inn and Cottages – A converted mansion in the historic district

What to eat:

Cafecito at the Cuban Coffee Queen

Gluten-free key lime pie at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe

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