“…we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow. That’s where we wanna go. Way down to Kokomo”! Fun fact: Kokomo is not a real place on the map. Like WOLOtude, it’s just a state of mind! But Key West is real, and that’s where we began our adventuring in 2017. Unlike the song lyrics, we got down to the Keys slowly (flight delays that subsequently resulted in an extra four hours of driving) and with only four days we had to take it fast, but it was still amazing! Key West has the typical tourist draw – beach life, bar life, brunch, booze, shopping, and key lime pie (or key lime margaritas, depending on who you are). The food is generally overpriced, the bars are crowded and sticky, and the beaches are under par, but the people are always up for a party, and if you look in the right places (Cuban food, hint, hint), you’ll find a new side of Key West. WOLO-approved recommendations include cafe con leche and pork with rice and beans…yum as!
What made the trip to the Key West (other than seeing two of our dear friends tie the knot), was the drive along Route 1 through the Keys. We’re not ones for splurging on much, but you MUST make that drive in a convertible! The wind through your hair, Florida sun on your skin, tropical melodies coming out of the speakers – it’s worth the extra dough you’ll spend on the rental. Trust us. And the views, how could we forget about the views? It’s turquoise water for as far as the eye can see!
Hint: You can use any of your favorite online search drives and you’ll find plenty of touring guides for the Keys, which generally come with great recommendations. To save you some search time, and because we appreciate you coming back to this blog, here’s a free insider tip: Sombrero Beach, Marathon Key – free parking, free bathroom facilities, lapping waves, and a white sand beach. Grab a few cold ones and enjoy the sun on us!
The highlight of our trip, other than wedding bells and a fruit smoothie from Richard’s Was Here Farmstand (check this place out if you’re in southern FL), was visiting Everglades National Park. The Everglades, also known as the River of Grass ecosystem, is the largest, continuous tract of sawgrass prairie in North America and is home to over 70 threatened and endangered species of wildlife. When we were there in January, we saw crocodiles, alligators, and shorebirds of all shapes and sizes! We even observed manatees playing around in the mucky shallows at Flamingos Point located at the southern boundary of the park. The wildlife was incredible, just incredible! But that’s not all; one out of every three Floridians rely on the Everglades for their water supply! This place needs to be protected…and if you visit here, you’ll see why.
As mentioned, our trip was quick, but we squeezed everything out of it, including a night in Miami and some delicious Caribbean food along South Miami Beach before our flight back to New York. When we got the wedding invite, it was a no-brainer, and we are so glad we made the trip: we will never not be able to go back to Florida without having a convertible, fruit smoothies, cafe con leche, rice and beans, and salt water! It was a great opportunity to see a happy couple say “I do”, to start the new year off with adventuring, and to bust out our snorkeling gear before our big trip to Thailand!
Next stop: Southern Thailand