An Amazing Drive On The Overseas Highway To Key West (2018)


Joy and I took Southwest direct from Sacramento to Orlando where we changed planes to Ft. Lauderdale.  Southwest has additional snack options on long haul flights including the "Plane Cookies."  The bourbon was obviously extra, but I had plenty of drink coupons!

We found a great sushi place in Miami Beach for lunch on our first day.

I was very impressed with the sushi and sashimi!

We had to change our plans on the first day since our glass bottom boat trip in Key Largo was cancelled due to a subtropical storm.  We explored Miami instead.  This is a cool cigar factory near Little Havana.

They hand roll the cigars in this place.  I ended up getting one to try.

Joy ended up wanting to find another "Indian" to hang out with on this trip.  LOL.

Joy and I are taking a selfie by the Little Havana sign in Miami.  It was a windy day.

Although I did try the shot of Cuban coffee at the cigar shop, I got a frappe made from Cuban coffee and a typical guava Cuban pastry at this little coffee shop in Little Havana.

I found an AMAZING ice cream shop in Little Havana too!  They have this awesome flavor called Abuela Maria!

Joy found a great place for dinner in Key Largo called Snappers.  They were devasted by Hurricane Irma so they were still rebuilding.  The food was all cooked in this little trailer.

The food was great at Snapper's.  I tried Conch Chowder for the first time there too!

The waterside bar was destroyed by the hurricane.  They are still trying to get over the damage.

The place had a nice vibe, and it was just a cool place to chill and take in the scenery too.

Joy never tried Waffle House before so we stopped there for breakfast the next day on our way down to Key West.

One can see the old railroad which was converted into the old overseas highway from the new highway.

We stopped at Bahia Honda Key State Beach.  We were able to go up and walk on some of the original overseas highway also.

This is Duval Street which many say is like Key West's version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  The street is very lively at night.

We toured the Hemingway House in Key West as well.  It was really tropical looking.

The Hemingway House has a LOT of cats.  Many of them are polydactyl which means they have extra toes.

This was a great view of the Key West Lighthouse from the balcony at the Hemingway House.  The original shoreline was around the house, but they kept reclaiming land from the sea to make Key West larger.

Here is the writing studio where Ernest Hemingway wrote many of his famous novels.

Key West just has a "chill vibe" when one is walking around.

We had a Sunset Rum & Reggae Snorkeling Tour when we got to Key West.  The water looked amazing.  No wonder people call it "America's Caribbean."

The visibility was terrible because of the recent subtropical storm.  The water was warm however.  I took my 4K camera in the water with me.

Here is a picture of the boat from the water.  There was a ladder that was lowered from the boat for us to get in and out of the water.

Key West has lots of roosters and chickens for some reason too.

This is a picture of Joy and I at the Stoned Crab in Key West during dinner.  I am wearing a bib.  LOL.

Here is my custom seafood bake at the Stoned Crab.  I got Key West lobster, mussells, stone crab claws, and clams!

We went to see the Little White House the following day in Key West.

The Harry S. Truman Little White House is an active Presidential retreat.  Many famous meetings were held here in the past.

We checked out Mallory Square too after the Truman Little White House.  This is where they have a festival each night to celebrate the sunset in Key West.

Here is another picture of the beautiful teal colored water in the Florida Keys.

We found a great tequila bar near Mallory Square.  The bartender made amazing drinks from scratch!

I loved my beverage at this tequila bar!

We headed back to Key Largo for a glass bottom boat tour, and we saw this antique boat called the "African Queen."  Apparently, it was in some old movies.

We are headed out to open ocean from one of the canals in Key Largo.  There are nurse sharks inside this canal.

The sea conditions were still not the best so we did not see that much on this trip.

We went to Dania Beach Pier on our last day in South Florida.

It was so relaxing just standing on the pier and watching the waves come in.

We rented a fully loaded Fusion with moonroof for this trip.  I remember James Bond had a "Ford Mondeo," which is kind of the Euro version of the Fusion in a movie.  I thought I would do a Bond shot too.  LOL.

We went to the Zagat rated Bao Kitchen + Bar on the trendy Las Olas Blvd in Ft. Lauderdale for lunch.  The food was delicious!

This is a cool little canal next to Bao Kitchen + Bar in Ft. Lauderdale.

    For Memorial Day Weekend 2018, Joy and I flew out to Florida to go explore the Florida Keys and Miami area.  I have been to Miami a few times, but I had never been to the Keys before.  Taking advantage of our Southwest Companion Pass, we flew from Sacramento to Orlando on a direct flight before having to change planes to get to Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.  Southwest serves additional snacks on long haul flights, and they were pretty good about coming around frequently to refill drinks and bring additional snacks.  I think they got a contract with Nabisco since many of the snacks were not Southwest "branded" items.  Moreover, one of the items was called "Plane Cookies."  They were kind of like "Teddy Grahams," but the cookies were shaped like a plane.

    We arrived into Ft. Lauderdale pretty late after flying what seemed like all day due to the time difference.  After getting our fully loaded rental car with moonroof, we headed out to our hotel in Miramar, Florida.  We stayed at a Home2Suites by Hilton there.  I was worried that subtropical storm Alberto would cause havoc on this trip, but the sky was overcast with no rain when we got there.  I think the media just hypes up a lot of these storms many times.

    The next day, we did have to change our plans around since the glass bottom boat out of Key Largo got cancelled due to the rough seas.  We went to Miami Beach for lunch at a great sushi restaurant.  The place was called Hoshi and Sushi.  It was located in one of those fancy high rise buildings, but luckily they offered valet parking for guests.  Our beautiful Cuban looking waitress served us great sushi and sashimi.  Joy thought it was the best sushi that she ever ate.  We also had some great ceviche.  Afterwards, I took Joy towards South Beach before heading back into Miami to explore Little Havana.  Around Little Havana, we found a cool cigar factory.  They use tobacco grown from Cuban seeds, and they also hand roll their cigars there.  In addition, they serve you free Cuban coffee while you explore the shop.  Cuban coffee is VERY strong, and it is served in espresso shot glasses.  After buying a cigar, we headed out to Little Havana.  In Little Havana, we found a cool Cuban coffeeshop where I enjoyed a traditonal guava pastry with some Cuban coffee frappe.  Then, we found an AMAZING ice cream shop where I loved the "Abuela Maria" flavor.  I think that means "Grandmother Maria."

    After exploring Miami, we headed out to our 2nd hotel for this stay.  The Hampton Inn in Homestead, Florida was our next stop.  After checking in, we headed out to Key Largo.  Along the way, we saw portions of the Everglades National Park.  Key Largo was hit hard by Hurricane Irma last year so they were still rebuilding.  Joy found a great restaurant called Snapper's.  It was right on the water.  The place was practically destroyed in the hurricane.  A trailer was used to do all the cooking, and the seating was all outdoor.  The inside had major water damage.  I tried conch chowder for the first time.  The fish was great too!

    The next day, we stopped at the Waffle House in Key Largo for breakfast since Joy never experienced one of those.  Then, we continued down the Overeas Highway to Key West.  Along the way, we saw some cool little keys.  I thought most of the road was over water on bridges, but I think they created a lot of land bridges so the roadway was not over water as much.  The water was a pretty teal color too, and I think it was fairly shallow.  I can totally see how the area would be devasted by hurricanes since in some areas the water almost was coming by the roadway.  We stopped in Bahia Honda Beach State Park before getting into Key West via the Seven Mile Bridge.  Our hotel in Key West was the Hilton Garden Inn - Keys Collection.  Hotel prices were much higher in Key West than other parts of South Florida.

    We explored Duval Street after getting into Key West.  Duval Street is a fun and bustling area.  Afterwards, we saw the Hemingway House.  Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West for many years, and he also had a liking for cats.  The Hemingway House had these special cats with extra toes.  We got a guided tour of the home.  The grounds were very lush and tropical.  Afterwards, we went to Schooner's for a snack.  Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel suggested this place for their "pink shrimp."  The pink shrimp were so delicious!

    That evening, we had a sunset Reggae and Rum snorkel tour out of Key West.  Unfortunately, the sea conditions were not the best for snorkeling, but we still went since it was our last night in Key West.  I ended up going into the water, but I did not get to see much due to low visibility as a result of the subtropical storm.  They did make great rum punch for us on the boat, and we were able to take in a beautiful sunset.  The crew was very friendly also.

    For dinner, we enjoyed the Stoned Crab in Key West.  I had some conch chowder followed by a seafood bake of Key West lobster, stone crab claws, mussells, and clams.  Dinner was very relaxing and peaceful in the tropical climate.  I love Florida a lot!

    The next day, we explored more of Key West.  We saw the Harry S. Truman "Little White House," which is an active Presidential retreat.  Many famous meetings and summits happened here.  Afterwards, we walked to Mallory Square and took in more views of the beautiful teal colored water.  After checking out a sculpture garden, we found a fun tequila bar to enjoy a drink and some snacks.  The bartender was really good at her craft.

    We had to head back to Key Largo for the glass bottom boat tour in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, the sea conditions were still a little rough, and the visibility was not as good as usual.  We did not see much, and I did get sea sick from the rocking of the boat over the reefs.

    The next day, we enjoyed a nice stroll on Dania Beach Pier just north of Miami.  Afterwards, we had lunch at a zagat rated Asian fusion restaurant on Ft. Lauderdale's trendy Las Olas area.  We loved the food!  Then, we had to go back towards the airport to drop off the rental car before our flight back home via Las Vegas.  Joy and I just finished another fun and relaxing trip together!

Last Updated:  June 1, 2018 6:52 PM