Earlier this summer my husband, parents, and I traveled down to The Florida Keys for a family vacation and celebration of my father-in-law getting married. I’ve been to Florida a couple of times, but never to The Keys so this was a really exciting trip!
We stayed at Marina Del Mar on the island of Key Largo. Other family members and wedding guests stayed right across the marina at The Holiday Inn. The hotels were associated with each other so it was easy to jump back and forth throughout the week. Marina Del Mar had a lot of of the old school Keys feel while The Holiday Inn was a bit more updated, but both were great! Here is a panorama of our view from the room…
We had our fair share of seriously amazing food on the island. Each place we ate had a few things in common including water frontage, live music, and a relaxed feel. The first night we knew wanted one thing and one thing only… seafood! We found a super cute restaurant Snapper’s that gave us a great first taste of what would be many freshly caught meals that week. My favorite restaurant was Bayside Grille, which had a perfect mix of relaxing but upper scale feel to it. It was there that I caught my first glimpse of a Florida Keys sunset…
Our hotel was right in the middle of two restaurants, Skippers Dockside and Sharkey’s. We ate at both several times because of the charm and convenience. Skippers Dockside had a gorgeous deck and outside seating area equipped with lawn games and a few fire pits. Inside there were beautifully decorated seating areas and a fun bar. Sharkey’s was very casual. It was more of a party place and we sure did party! The group of men that were on the trip did some fishing on a charter boat and Sharkey’s fried it up for us. It was literally the best fish I’ve ever had! We also ate at The Pilot House Marina & Restaurant, a fun restaurant that had a glass bottom bar. And we couldn’t forget about dessert! Key Largo Chocolates was our go to ice cream stop throughout the week. It is a must stop for gourmet sweets, even if you’re just passing through.
The main attraction on Key Largo is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. We spent a whole day here sun bathing, relaxing a bit, and snorkeling. It was a fun way to truly experience The Keys as most people spend their time in The Keys right on or in the water. If you ever do go snorkeling here, take Dramamine! We went out on a overcast day. The waves were high and my stomach was not happy with me. All in good fun, though.
And of course a vacation wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of shopping. Shell World and Florida Keys Gift Company were great souvenir stops, though they also had quite a bit of home decor and other fun treasures. Pink Junktique was a cute thrift and consignment shop filled with many girly finds.
A few last tidbits that you should know about Key Largo in case you ever do go… It is the oldest Key, closest to the main part of the state, so keep in mind that many things look a bit run down. The feel on Key Largo is very old school and classic. There is one main highway that goes straight through all of The Keys and we found that once you get off the main drag you will find many hidden treasures. Everywhere on the island is very relaxed so don’t pack anything too fancy. You’re much more likely to see people dressed in swimming suits and cover-ups than suits and ties. Lastly you absolutely have to get on the water! Everything is based on a marina, ocean, or lake. Get your booty on a jet ski, fishing boat, snorkel tour, or just take some time to swim around. You won’t regret it!
Keep an eye out for my upcoming post on the second main part of our vacation, Key West, XOXO.