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Half Day in Key West

cruising mickey

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Of course that's not enough time to explore pretty much anywhere, but if I were you, I would start with a ride on either the Conch Train or Old Town Trolley.  There are many threads that describe the differences between them, but I would go on a tour that takes you around the whole island, not just around the Old Town area.  That will give you a good overview of the island, architecture, and history.  


Beyond that, it depends on your interests.  For me, the only must do would be a snorkeling trip to the reef.  For history buffs, the Truman White House.  Literary buffs, Hemingway's House.  Beach lovers, Ft. Zachary Taylor Park.  Shopping buffs, the Coach outlet (really joking, but that was my niece's main interest).  There are art galleries and t-shirt shops, etc., on Duval Street.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just noticed this ole post and thought a response was appropriate.  DW and I really enjoy KW and have spent many weeks in that city as well as a few port days.  So lets talk about the OP's question.  KW is a relaxed, laid back, lazy town that comes alive around sunset.  So when the OP asks about 7am - 2pm my first thought is that nothing in KW is really functioning (other then breakfast) before 10am.  And if your ship leaves at 2 you will need to be aboard by 1:30.  So the OP is really talking about 10 - 1:30 which is not a lot of time.  It does allow a cruiser to walk around town and browse/shop in the shops (many of which have become touristy places).  There would also be enough time for an early lunch or stopping in a bar at a very early hour!   If you want to go to the tourist kind of places like the Hemingway House then that would be an option.  If you want to ask like a cruise ship passenger and ride around the town on the Conch Train (usually offered as a cruise ship excursion) then you can ride around like a child in a tram car.   There will also be some cruise ship excursions such as a snorkel tour that can be done in the allotted time.


So you might ask, what do most folks do when they actually stay in KW?  DW and I always stay at a very nice boutique hotel which has an excellent pool area (with free Bloody Marys in the morning).  On a normal morning we might crawl out of bed by 9 and go to a local restaurant for a decent breakfast.  Then we relax at our pool/sun deck for most of the day (until the cruise ships leave).  Late afternoon we might shower and then stroll down to Mallory Square to enjoy a drink and the crazy local people watching.  After 8 we will head to dinner in one of the decent local restaurants (some of which are not even open when ships are in port) and after dinner go to our favorite piano bar/night club where we will relax until around midnight.  For most who go to KW it is about relaxing, eating, drinking, partying.  I have walked by the Hemingway House more then 100 times...and have yet to pay the price to enter.  It is a valid tourist destination, but like most who spend a lot of time in KW we do not do the tourist things done by many cruisers.  We have gone out on several half and full day boat/snorkel tours since to get to the decent waters near KW one does need to use a boat.



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