All I Want for Christmas is a Real Good Tan

"Instead of turkey we'll have Mahi-Mahi grillin & pina coladas in the blender chillin."

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas is a real good tan. (It's what I tell my Kinders every year...& then cue the Kenny Chesney song)!

Last year, my Christmas came a little early. Our Thanksgiving trip to Key West was one of my favorite island trips. And I gotta say, being on an island over the holidays (which has always been a dream of mine) lived up to its potential.

If you're going to do Key West, you gotta do it the right way: Fly into Ft. Lauderdale, rent a car, and drive Highway 1 until you hit Key West. I'm tellin' ya, you'll feel like you're living in one of those beachy Zac Brown Band videos.

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale late Tuesday night, drove to Key Largo (we didn't get into Key Largo until about 12:30am) and stayed in a motel the first night (why pay a ton of $$ for 7 hrs of sleep)? We woke up on Wednesday around 8, stopped to get coffee (a must), and began our adventure around Key Largo. While there we stumbled upon some boutiques, restaurants on the water, and met some of the nicest specifically at April Daze Boutique. It had cute clothes, decor for your home with an island flair, unique jewlery, & one of the owners is originally from Olathe, KS! It's a hidden gem and a must-stop as you're driving through the Keys!

Next stop: Islamorada.
Islamorada is gorgeous and has some great places to stay if you're looking for a quieter setting. The Islander Resort is SO cute, quiet, has a family-style motel feel, and was updated in 2004. (Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma caused severe damage to this cute little place). However, their sister resort (Islander Bayside Resort on mile marker 81) was spared and is open!

Next stop: Marathon
I'm a scuba diver & Marathon is known in the Keys for diving! November isn't their peak season (+ the water was coooldd) so I opted out. However, if you go to Marathon in the summer, you need to stop! We 'beached it' for a few hours in Marathon. I wish I could tell you which beach we stopped at...but that's the fun of having no plan. We just stopped at one that was especially pretty 😉 

Final stop: Key West
You won't need a car. Everything is within walking (or scooter) distance. We turned in our rental car at the Key West Airport and grabbed a cab to our hotel on Duval Street. Duval Street is the heart of Key West. If you enjoy being close to restaurants, bars, and shops, you'll want to stay close to this area. There's SO much to do in Key West. Duval Street alone can keep you busy all day & all night! I'm leaving my top 2 recommendations while in Key West:

  • Rent a scooter & explore like a true islander! It's SO cheap & SO fun! We spent the morning adjusting to the scooter (ok that was just me) then spent the afternoon @ Fort Zachary Taylor State Park (I would suggest this public beach because it's kept up by the Navy & seemed cleaner + with a better view). We got hungry for Key Lime Pie & scooted back to Duval to hit up 2-3 places for pie! (If it's not already obvious, eat LOTS of Key Lime Pie).
  • Eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner on Sunset Key @ Latitudes. You can stay on Sunset Key (which would be dreamy too)! You just have to take a quick 10 minute boat ride into town. We ate breakfast there on the patio (the only way to do it) and it was outstanding!

I'm a home-for-the-holidays girl. Or was. That was pre-Key West. I'm staying in KC this year, but there's a piece of my heart that's still hoping Santa will jet me off to a beach (or at least deliver some realllly good Key Lime Pie).

Sending warm wishes to you this Holiday Season!

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