Discovering America’s Caribbean Island

So many people dream of taking a tropical vacation somewhere warm and exotic, especially as the days get shorter and the weather turns colder. One of the main reasons that people hold back from making these dreams a reality is because they believe it is too much of a hassle to follow through. They need to get a passport, arrange flights that typically have two or more layovers, decide which resort is right for them and worry about converting money and possibly learning at least a few words in a new language. None of that has to happen if they were to plan their tropical escape to Key West, Florida.

Situated 120 miles from the mainland of Florida, sandwiched between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean basin, Key West offers all of the pleasures of a tropical vacation with none of the headaches. Several major airlines offer service to Key West International Airport, many only requiring one stop and several non-stop options not only from Florida airports but some northern cities as well. And for those who do not like to fly, there is always the Eighth Wonder of the Modern World, the Overseas Highway. Spanning the length of the Florida Keys, this road – often cited as one of the ten most beautiful in the world – crosses 42 bridges as it makes its way to Key West, including one engineering marvel that covers seven miles.

Once on the island, there is more to choose from than just a few resorts and chain hotels. Key West offers over one hundred different accommodation options, ranging from five star resorts situated directly on the water to small quirky inns carved out of homes a century old or older. Many of the national hotels also have locations on the island, perfect for people who are looking to earn some more bonus points or who want to cash them in for their vacation.

For every one hotel on the island it seems like there are three Key West restaurants to choose from, and just like the accommodations, variety is the name of the game when it comes to choosing where to eat. Two things that almost all these locations have in common, however, is abundant choices of fresh seafood and outdoor dining patios so their guests can enjoy the beautiful weather while enjoying their meals.

Best of all, no matter what time of year a vacation is planned for, it is almost a guarantee that the weather will be beautiful. Key West, Florida averages over 300 days of no rain a year and the average temperatures rarely exceed 90 or fall below 70. If you are one of those people who have been dreaming about a tropical island vacation, make this year the year that it happens. Now is the time to start making your reservations to ensure you have the vacation of a lifetime.

When The Destination Is The First Part Of The Journey – Key West

There are all kinds of adages about destinations and journeys – “Getting there is half the fun,” “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” and so on – but the biggest journey most people will take in their life is one they do together: being married. Lately, one of the most popular trends in this journey has been to start with a destination wedding. And one of the most popular destinations people are picking is Key West, Florida.

For the last several years, Key West has been the number one choice for couples looking to have a tropical island wedding. The reasons for this are pretty simple to understand. Since it is still part of the United States, it simplifies many aspects of the process. There is no need to apply for a marriage certificate from a foreign country, and nobody needs to worry about passports of visas to be part of the festivities. It has picture perfect weather year round. There are several dozen locations to choose from for both the ceremony and reception, and it is already well known internationally as a great place to have a party.

Another old saying is that success begets success, and that is definitely true down here. The biggest challenge in arranging a destination wedding is not being able to be there for most of the planning. Usually people having an island wedding are at the mercy of a single wedding planner associated with the resort they are staying at. This is not an issue in Key West. First of all, there more than a hundred choices when it comes to where people can stay, from five star ocean front resorts to funky bed and breakfasts scattered through the historic downtown area. This means that the couple can interview different wedding planners and hire the one they think fits their needs best.

Just like they have options when it comes to wedding planners, they can also choose from a variety of beauty salons, Key West restaurants, entertainment, florists, caterers and whatever else they might need to make their dream come true. Speaking of need, one hidden asset is the overseas highway that connects the island with mainland Florida. This means that if something is needed at the last minute, it can be down in Key West within a matter of hours. Having that safety net relieves a lot of the stress that comes from a destination wedding.

Marriage is a one of the greatest journeys people can take in their life, and there is no real destination to it, just the opportunity to spend time together. To make sure that journey starts off wonderfully, it is a great idea to have a destination wedding to begin from.

Have a Summer Wedding In The Winter Months

Most brides dream of having a June wedding, when the weather is perfect and the days are as beautiful as the brides themselves. Of course, there are only so many Saturdays in June which makes scheduling difficult. Instead of trying to shoehorn a wedding in around a limited schedule, a better option is to have a destination wedding where every day throughout the winter feels like a late spring afternoon. The best place for that is Key West, Florida.

Key West is the number two overall choice for couples who are looking to have a destination wedding. Last year, more than 10,000 people said “I do” in the southernmost city, by far the most popular island for people having a tropical wedding. While the weather is almost always wonderful in Key West, it is during the winter when it truly is a magical place. Average temperatures hover between the 70’s and 80’s and the humidity, such a scourge in the rest of South Florida, is almost nonexistent. Just as importantly, the water temperatures are almost the same, making it the perfect time for wedding guests to enjoy their time in Key West by swimming, snorkeling, parasailing and so much more.

The amazing weather is just one of the many reasons people flock to Key West to have their wedding. Unlike other tropical islands, Key West is a fully functioning city, one of the more populated of the Caribbean islands. This means that couples do not have to settle for just one or two options when it comes to planning their ceremony and reception. There are several dozen different venues to choose from, ranging from white sandy beaches and historic old forts to lush private gardens and beautifully decorated homes. It is one of the few island destinations where people can even choose to marry in the church of their faith if they so desire.

Most people who know Key West know it from its reputation as a fun-loving party town, and the reception is the perfect way to let that legacy shine through. There are more than 300 Key West bars where a couple can choose to celebrate with their friends and family. No matter what type of event they are looking to have – black tie and formal or carefree and casual – or how large or small their guest list is, there are going to be several perfect options for them to choose from.

If you want to have a wedding in the perfect weather, do not struggle to find a few random hours in June to try and squeeze it in. Instead, start making plans today to have a tropical island destination wedding in the place where thousands of couples visit every year to make their dreams come true: Key West, Florida.

How To Ensure Wedding Day Bliss On A Tropical Island Called Key West

It would be so nice that if the minute someone told us to “Relax,” Lighten up,” or “Stop stressing,” we instantly could. If you could bottle that ability and sell it to brides-to-be, you could make a fortune. Unfortunately, human nature does not quite work that way, but thankfully, nature is always there to give us a helping hand. Planning a wedding is always going to be a stressful endeavor, but planning a tropical island destination wedding goes a long way towards taking the sting out of it.

Of course, to make sure that can happen you first have to start with choosing the right island destination. You are going to want someplace that is easy to get to with several different travel options, one that has enough hotel rooms and other accommodations to make sure all of your guests can find a place that is within their budget, and enough other non-wedding activities so you do not have to worry about Aunt Edna and Uncle Jerry hanging around with you right up until the wedding begins. You also want an island that hosts close to 10,000 weddings a year and has the industry that can handle that professionally. In short, you want Key West, Florida.

The dream island destination for more than 11 million vacationers every year can also be the perfect choice for your destination wedding. So many different aspects set it apart from choosing other Caribbean islands, but the most pressing one is the fact that, at its heart, Key West is a fully functioning city. That means that your wedding plans, your choice of activities, even the flowers that you carry or the cake that you cut, is not going to be predetermined by the resort you choose to stay at. Certainly many hotels and resorts on the island offer wedding packages for those couples who are just looking for a quick and easy no muss no fuss wedding, but by far, the majority of the couples who choose to get married in Key West do so on their own terms.

The secret to pulling it off is having a trained professional working in your corner. Hiring a wedding planner is the smartest thing any couple can do when planning a destination wedding. They will be your eyes and ears on the ground, making the arrangements, lining up the vendors and finalizing the schedule so that when your big day comes, the only thing you have to worry about is if you want your margarita frozen or on the rocks.

Weddings will always be stressful for the couple getting married, and although nothing will take all that stress away, the white sandy beaches and beautiful blue ocean of Key West, Florida will sure go a long way towards helping. Think of it as the planet’s way of saying “Relax.”

Making Your Fantasy Fest A Reality Retreat

The biggest week of the year by far in Key West, Florida is Fantasy Fest. Held the last week of October, this event has sprawled from a two-day party to a ten-day festival, culminating in an island-wide parade on the final Saturday of the month. Attracting more than 100,000 people, it also means that if a person does not plan ahead correctly, they could quickly find themselves shut out from making the most of their vacation. A few easy steps can help prevent that from happening.

The first decision to make is deciding how much of the festival you want to be part of. With multiple events happening every night, some sense of a game plan needs to be formulated, starting with what days you want to be there. For some people, it is not a true Fantasy Fest experience if they miss the parade, while for others, they want to be sure they do the events the Key West locals prefer. No two nights are the same, so just randomly selecting a few dates during the festival will not guarantee the experience you may be looking for.

Some people are smart enough to recognize that they will need a couple of days to recuperate after such an event and schedule their tropical island vacation to extend into the following week. Not only does this give them a chance to recharge after all the fun, it also lets them enjoy many of the other aspects that make Key West such a desirable destination vacation spot. They get to enjoy the Key West restaurants, spend time walking the streets and soaking up the history, or just lying on the beach and soaking up the sun.

Speaking of Key West restaurants, one of the first things a person should do if they are planning on staying through the parade night is find out which restaurants are on the route and offer the best viewing area. With so many people there, finding a spot on the sidewalk can be troublesome, and dealing with the crowds may make for a less than pleasant experience. Many restaurants line the route and offer special dining and drinking packages. This way not only can you watch the parade from the comfort of a second floor balcony, you can also enjoy the fresh seafood and amazing cooking that the island is known for.

There are certain things that people should experience at least once in their lives, and Fantasy Fest in Key West, Florida is definitely one of them. To make the most of this experience means to start making your plans now. It is the signature event that demonstrates just how unique Key West is in comparison to everywhere else in the world.

Key West: Planning A Fall Getaway Away From The Crowds

When people think about taking a long weekend during the autumn, typically it is to one of the Northeastern or Midwestern states where they can watch the leaves change colors. This is certainly a beautiful event, one everyone should experience once in their lives, but the fall is a great season to take a vacation that takes you in the opposite direction. Autumn is the perfect time for a quick getaway – either romantic or family – to Key West, Florida.

As hurricane season comes to a close, Key West and other tropical islands that are vacation destinations typically have the slowest times of the year. Kids are going back to school, and with that, all of the accompanying obligations for sporting events and club activities, making travel difficult. Plus, most people still remember the heat of the past summer and not the cold of the previous winter, so they are not as in tune with planning a tropical getaway as they will be once January rolls around. With less people going there, it makes it the perfect time to be there.

It means that when you want to sample the eclectic food that the island is known for, you will be able to walk into any of your favorite Key West restaurants without having to wait for a table. It means you will have plenty of time to enjoy the fresh seafood and key lime pie, and probably even have a few extra minutes for your server to give you the insider’s information on what the locals like to do.

It means that the water is still magnificently warm from the summer heat. Granted, it certainly never even gets as cold as what people in New England might call bearable, but it is far more pleasant to be snorkeling in the warm fall waters. It is additionally special because it means fewer people swimming in your way as you watch the parrot fish, spotted rays, sea turtles and other nautical wildlife swimming beneath you, just like it means fewer people on the beach when you are looking to spend a day relaxing under the sun, feeling the gentle kiss of the warm tropical breezes.

Finally, it means spending a few days where you can leave all of the worries behind. Key West is so easily accessible by plane, car or boat from so many parts of the country, it is possible to fit a full three day tropical island getaway into a long weekend. This fall, when all of the leaf peepers are heading north, turn south instead and spend a few days soaking up the sun and the fun that makes Key West, Florida America’s number one choice for a tropical vacation.

Grabbing One Last Week Of Summer In Key West

September may be the hardest time to sneak away for a little mini-vacation. Not only do the kids go back to school, it seems like a lot of companies never got rid of that mentality, and Labor Day means the end of flexible scheduling, casual Fridays and extended weekends. It is also the time most people want just one more taste of summer, a few more days to tide them over until next year. That is where Key West comes in handy.

Unlike other Caribbean islands, Key West, Florida does not require any special passports or travel visas in order to plan a vacation. Meaning if you decide on Thursday afternoon that you are going to wake up with a cold Friday morning and not be able to go into work, you can quickly book a flight that gets you directly to the island. Plan it well enough and you might even be able to sneak into one of the Key West restaurants in time for a leisurely lunch on an outdoor dining patio, feeling the trade winds blow away any touch of autumn that you might already be feeling.

Of course summer means more than just sitting on the patio enjoying fresh seafood. It also means lounging at the beach and enjoying the salt air. With beaches on almost every side of the island, Key West has that covered as well. There are white sand beaches that stretch on endlessly, perfect for finishing off the tan that will take you through the winter. There are shell covered beaches where people can find all sorts of natural souvenirs that the ocean has provided. There are even beaches lined with palm trees and other native species, perfect for hanging a hammock between and catching a few ZZZ’s.

For a lot of people, summer also means enjoying great cocktails and live music with friends. Key West is known for not only being a great party town with one of the largest numbers of bars per square mile, it is also home to world class musicians who perform live every night. With a rich musical heritage that goes back decades, it is also a draw for national recording artists who, just like you, are not quite ready for summer to end yet.

It may take a lot of skill, a little bit of cunning and some unexpected luck, but this might be the year you finally get to extend summer a little bit longer. Not by going to the same beach you have been visiting all summer, this time in long pants and a sweatshirt, but by booking your destination vacation to Key West, Florida. That one more weekend of beaches, palm trees and sunsets just might be enough to help you make it through the winter.

Not Planning A Tropical Vacation To Key West

It seems that even if a person did not need to take a vacation, by the time they were done planning for it, the stress endured from sifting through websites, trying not to overpack, making plans for daily activities and hopefully making everyone happy – not to mention the experience at the airport and on the plane itself – would definitely make them ready for a little R&R. The last thing anyone wants to do before a vacation, especially one to a tropical island destination, is add more stress. That just means it will take that much longer to unwind, which is why smart tropical travelers take their destination vacations in Key West, the one vacation you almost do not have to plan for.

To be clear, they still plan how to get there and where to stay. Well, at least where to stay. Key West, Florida is the only Caribbean island you can drive to, so even if the travel plans are coming together last minute, there are still plenty of choices including a flight directly to the island, a drive down the scenic Overseas Highway or a high speed ferry ride from the southwest part of the state. And since it is in Florida, that means no last minute scramble to find where you put the passports.

Once they get there, it might seem like with all the different options to choose from they would be best served by making plans ahead of time. There are snorkeling charters to explore the barrier reef, museums featuring local and international artists, tours that explore everything from the architecture to the history to the hauntings, and over 300 Key West restaurants to choose from. Even the beaches all have such distinct personalities that first time visitors will be excused if they start worrying about which one they should visit first.

However, the southernmost savviest tourist takes a clue from the island natives, colorfully referred to as “Conchs”, and they spend their vacation on island time. The best way to enjoy a magnificent meal on an outdoor dining patio, indulging in fresh seafood such as lobster tail and stone crab claws, not to mention a piece of key lime pie to finish it off with, is to not be worried about where the schedule says to be next and when it says to be there.

The more technology advances, the more apps get developed for how to plan a vacation and the more stressed the process becomes. The true test at how good a person is at “unplanning” their tropical island vacation to Key West, Florida is by how long they can go without their smartphone or tablet. Everything is all right there to do, and it will still be there waiting for you whenever you are ready.

Celebrate The Changing Of The Season, Key West Style

It may seem like it is happening too quickly, but summer is almost over and fall is about to begin. Many people plan their vacations around the changing of the season, so they can watch the leaves turn colors and enjoy hot cider, but for a truly memorable seasonal experience, now is the time to book your vacation for Key West to enjoy the end of hurricane season.

Hurricane season runs for six months of the year, from June 1st through November 30th. This is a particularly stressful time for the island residents, especially during the typically busiest storm months of the year, August, September and October. Naturally, when the threat of these tropical disasters ends, people of Key West – not that they ever really need one – use it as a reason to celebrate.

The end of these threats is one of many good reasons why a tropical island destination vacation is a smart choice for that time of year. Coming so quickly after Thanksgiving and just a few short weeks before the holiday season ramps up, early December is a typically slow travel month. That means you will have your pick of your favorite Key West restaurants as well as the choicest hotel accommodations on the island. Smaller crowds means less waiting time in general for all of the activities that Key West has to offer, so even if you only have a few days to get away, you will still be able to enjoy much of the island.

That includes all the beautiful water that surrounds it as well. It may be getting close to winter on the calendar but the water is still abundantly warm from all that summertime heat, making it the perfect temperature for snorkeling on the only barrier reef in North America or feeling the spray from a Jet Ski tour. It is also one of the best times to taste all of the amazing seafood that restaurants in Key West Florida are known for, with lobster, stone crab and so many other delicious choices on their menus.

Finally, the slower time of year means more chances to spend time getting to know the people of the island. Ask anyone who has traveled to a tropical island and they will tell you that one of the highlights of the trip was meeting people and learning about the experience of living on an island. If you are planning a seasonal vacation this fall, skip over the ordinary and take a trip to the extraordinary. Join in the burning of the hurricane flag in Key West, Florida and be a part of one of the happiest celebrations of the year.