Key West is as close to Cuba as you can get in mainland USA (just 90 miles!) and has a delightfully relaxed and tropical feel to it. Drive 200 kilometres south of Miami, past the sandy beach towns of the Florida Keys, over the famous Seven Mile Bridge, and escape to sunny Key West.
Best for: party time!, getting your lit on like Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, eating Key Lime Pie.
Nibbles: The Florida Keys are home to one of America’s, nay, the world’s, favourite desserts – Key Lime Pie. The best pie in the Keys? Try The Blond Giraffe, Kermit’s, or the Key West Key Lime Pie Co. Fill the time in between pies with seafood, Cuban, and Caribbean cuisine. Local favourites include Blue Heaven, Pepe’s Cafe, El Siboney, and Louie’s Backyard.
Sips: Sloppy Joe’s is a local institution with a claim to fame as a regular haunt of Ernest Hemingway. In fact, they hold a Hemingway Look-a-like Contest every July. Captain Tony’s Saloon‘s claim to fame is that it stands on the site of the original Sloppy Joe’s, torn down in 1937. If in doubt, hit up Margaritaville. Nothing can go wrong with margaritas.
Activities: Join the Hemingway-hysteria and head to his old house, over-run with eerie six-toed-cats, and take a tour. The guides (and cats) are delightfully friendly. Who’s haunting Key West? Find out every night on Ghost Tours featuring tales of pirates, voodoo, and other spooky happenings. If a day on the ocean sounds like a treat, head to the docks for sailing, snorkeling, and diving.
Top tip: Key Lime Pie should be yellow, not green. This is because key limes themselves are actually yellow, not green.