Florida has not been my number one travel destination—it’s muggy, buggy, and my family’s primary vacation spot every year of my life since I was four. When we recently had the opportunity to tour Key West, images of Jimmy Buffet and spring breaking college students stumbling, screaming drunk, spilling their beer in tow flooded my thoughts (drinking on the street, after all, is legal in Key West). The five-hour drive from Miami to the Keys is not what I would call scenic, either—it’s desolate, swampy, and, quite frankly, a little depressing. Do I have you dying to go yet? With all that being said, the state does hold many unexpected treasures and Key West is one of those most-precious gems.
Recently, we took a week-long vacation to Florida, beginning in South Beach (another love of mine) and ending up in Key West—I was more than pleasantly surprised about how much I ended up liking this remote vacation destination. Somewhere in between Jimmy Buffet’s drink machine, jalapeño popper Margaritaville, the 90 miles to Cuba monument, and the congested cruise ship dock at Mallory Square are historical landmarks, artistic haunts, and culinary delights. The people who live and work there are some of the most hospitable, laid-back, and friendly folks you will ever meet. The views are spectacular and the food (especially the fresh Atlantic Ocean seafood options) is really wonderful. (I also have to admit that I even drank a couple beers while walking down the street.)
At ocean-side eatery, Louie’s Backyard culinary delights abound. It’s a wonderful restaurant with an amazing view. Everything was phenomenal—fresh shrimp and mango appetizer, perfectly cooked scallops and chilled limoncello for dessert. The entire outdoor seating area extends over the ocean. The restaurant is geared towards adults but they were incredibly kind and accommodating to my two-year old. So much so that they brought him a pillow for his chair and made him a special entrée for his finicky palette. Details: www.louiesbackyard.com