Given the constant rain, we left Key Largo several hours earlier than we had planned. Although driving in the pouring rain isn’t exactly a blast, it’s better than sitting inside! Especially when there’s scenery; we agreed palm trees, islands, and ocean through a sheet of rain are way prettier than hotel room walls!
It was so wet that Elliott ran across the parking lot to bring the car over, and I was fully drenched just running the four feet around the car closest to the overhang to get to our rental car! I got inside, and dripped for a bit while Elliott started driving. He put the best smile he could find on his face and said, “Maybe the sun will come out now that we’re going to Key West!”
Well it didn’t happen right away – but sure enough, after an hour passed, the rain lightened and the sky brightened. As we approached Seven Mile Bridge, Mother Nature smiled on us and the rain STOPPED! We were so excited that we stopped and parked and walked along the now pedestrian-only old Seven Mile Bridge, taking photos left and right. Then we went to the rest stop on the other side of the highway and took photos of the gorgeous scenery there.
Our Sheraton Key West was waiting for us with fresh, warm chocolate chip cookies in the lobby, a huge gorgeous suite and a pool with waterfall. (I was getting really lucky in this respect – pools with waterfalls are my favorite kind, and on this trip to the Keys we were 2 for 2; now if only it would stay sunny here so I could enjoy it more!) That’s all I will say about the resort, but if you want a great place to stay on Key West, I highly recommend this one.
I went swimming in the pool and then before it got dark we ran across the street to watch the sun set over the ocean. Nearby was a heron, a chicken, and another couple who was happy to take our photos. It was super beautiful and romantic and it felt just great to be on the southernmost piece of land in the Continental US, watching the sun fall out of the sky.
Key West had a much more local feel than we were expecting. So, we did local things. After sunset that night we walked for miles until we found a grocery store where we picked up some things. The next day we walked to the marker at the southernmost point of the island, taking in some super old Kapok and Banyan trees, the post office, and a free botanical garden.
We kept our eyes on a huge local iguana at our pool, and enjoyed some complimentary drinks.
Then we went back to the south end of the island to Mallory Square to join hundreds of other people watch the sunset from the pier. We found out it’s a pretty happening place after the sun sets, and we stayed a while to watch a unicycle-riding fire-juggling guy. That night we sought out the 0 mile marker on Route 1 and marveled at how long the highway is and how much of it we have traveled!
On our last day, we decided to check out a somewhat larger beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. It was really pretty, but not like we had pictured. On this trip we realized Key West is not so much a destination for gorgeous picturesque Caribbean-like beaches, but rather a destination for that comfortable, at home feeling with friendly locals who love to relax, have a good time, and take in day after day gorgeous sunsets.