Key West with Teens: A Perfect Family Day
Your family is growing up, as a bunch of seasoned vacationers you have chosen Key West as the ideal spot to bring your maturing clan and rightly so. Key West has much to offer a family with teenagers eager to get out into the colorful world we live in.
It's so nice to enjoy your omelet at Hot Tin Roof (1 Duval Street, 305-296-7701) looking out over the water while the sun rises. This dining option offers the perfect location to do just that. Make sure you request seating on Sunset Pier. All the restaurants offerings are delicious, though my two favorites are the Noble Benedict, poached eggs over crab cakes with key lime hollandaise (a delicious theme on the island), and the Prosciutto and Melon, cured ham cut paper thin served with melon. Make sure to ask for a bit of aged balsamic on the side.
Snuba diving, a step up from snorkeling but without the hours required for certified scuba, is a great way to get in the water. It is also significantly less expensive at only $99 per person including all equipment and instruction. Snuba is relatively new and your kids are going to love it. A few basic instructions at the dock of Snuba Key West (600 Palm Ave, 305.292.4616) and you are ready to take the catamaran out to one of the many reefs that surround the keys, or even a few of the underwater shipwrecks. The experience of being underwater surrounded by millions of fish, plants, manta rays, octopus and sharks is indescribable. The entire family will be completely enthralled with the fish who are just as curious about you as you are about them. Get an up close look at neon sea anemones swaying in the Atlantic currents, watch schools of 'dancing' fish, and experience the tranquility of being truly away from it all. Your family may find a new passion for the aquatic life after this experience that truly is one you will never forget.
Throw on something comfortable over your bathing suits, Key West is every bit as laid back as you have heard, and head over to Schooner Wharf Bar (202 William Street, 305.292.3302 ) where the service can be as reliable as the beams that hold up the porch. An authentic Key West restaurant located in the harbor and overlooking the docked boats; it is an old mariners' setting and rustic to say the least. Live music everyday and every seat in the house offers a great view of the water. The kids can recount their morning with the friendly strangers at the table next to you and munch on delicious stuffed jalapeños, fresh shrimp cooked how you like it, or sesame seared tuna. They also have a wonderful veggie wrap and lots of salads to choose from.
A great way to work off some bean dip, the Southernmost Scavenger Hunt is a fun way to tour the city and meet other people. You will soon find out this is no run-of-the-mill hunt, as you search for answers to the riddles, hints and questions on your scroll along with your team. Your search covers a 4-5 block radius and leads you into some interesting and, at times, quirky locations. Be quick because the team with the most points wins! The hunt takes between 2 and 2.5 hours and the cost is $20 per person, and prizes include gift certificates of all kinds. Call 305.292.9994 for more information.
When the sky begins to have a pinkish glow, the blue begins to fade and the sun sinks fast into the horizon and everyone begins to move toward the water, then you know it's time to head to Mallory Square, located off Duval Street. The sunset celebration there is unlike any other and it's as colorful as the sky that surrounds it. A celebration of life, there is a parade of performers for the occasion. A very experienced tight rope walker juggles and cracks jokes with the crowd while balancing on one toe. The fastidious cat man and his ordinary house cats turn extraordinary leaping through hoops of fire and clawing their way up high wires. The amateur comedians and knife handlers make their debut. Juggling unicyclist, magicians, escape artists, clowns, variety shows and musicians galore are just part of what you will find along the waters edge at sundown.
It has been an exciting day, so end it right by walking over to EL MESON de PEPE (410 Wall Street, Mallory Square, 305-295-2620) for authentic Cuban food and al fresco dining. Claves beat out a rhythm and the maracas join in the live salsa music; young and old alike get up from their tables to dance. It is a fun atmosphere, and the food is great too. Great options are the Tamal Cubano, cornmeal with roast pork wrapped in corn husk served on plantains or Pollo al Ajillo, roasted chicken with a garlic mojo glaze and caramelized onions. Save room for dessert! The Flan Casero caramel custard is delicious!
- Overview:Key West Travel Guide