|What can we
say, Key West tropical, with a Caribbean flavor where everyone drives on the
right side of the street (mostly), speaks English (mostly) and where you can
use US dollars for food and drink (all the time), especially margaritas. Can
Jimmy Buffett be far away?
House is a beautifully decorated Victorian mansion that won a prestigious award
a few years ago for its restoration, called the "Excellence Award for
Preservation." The hotel is NOT a nudist resort but you can use the pool and
hot tub au naturel.
Guest rooms are furnished with a careful blend of
antiques and decorated with tropical furnishings for the discriminating tastes
of experienced travelers. The resort offers unique lodging accommodations with
14 guests rooms to choose from, all with private bath, color cable T.V., phone,
air conditioning and paddle fans.
The property consists of 2 buildings:
The Victorian Mansion which offers 8 guest rooms and the pool side Cabana
building which offers 6 guest rooms....best for easy access au naturel to the
Another option you have is the Pier House Hotel, right in
downtown Key West. With its own little stretch of private beach, the property
bills itself as "topless" friendly so it's worthy of applause for sure.
Location, location, location: The hotel's address is # 1 Duval Street, at the
foot of the one of the most fun streets in the USA or anywhere for that matter.
Disneyworld can't come close, especially during the annual FantasyFest in
October. Pier House has 142 hotel rooms and suites with four unique bars and
three restaurants. The hotel's PR says: " Indulge yourself with a treatment
from the island's only full service spa."
Guest house B&Bs are
located throughout the city and offer a great option for private, party
oriented, clothing-optional groups of like-minded adults. Typical room count is
from 6 -12, good for 10-25 people or so.
Marreros is a 12-room Guest
House with a clothing optional swimming pool but it's not a nudist resort.
Merreros is perfectly located a half block from Duval Street, the heart of Key
A recent guest reports: "We stayed at Marrero's three nights a
few weeks ago and already have reservation for a week in June 2008. The mansion
1/2 block from Duval Street, the owner (John) is a great guy and treated us
very well. The clothing optional pool was nice and most everyone there was
nude. The room we were in (#26) was impressive with 11 foot ceilings and old
trim and woodwork. We would recommend this place to anyone."
House also provides a clothing optional sun deck above its 2nd floor but you
must wear a swim suit to use the pool.
The Atlantic Shores Hotel
location has been replaced by a condominium project....a wave of the future as
Key West has been found by the real estate developers. Go now before it turns
into Miami Beach.
|| Pilot House is located in the heart of the Key West
Historical district on Simonton, walking distance to most
Private guest houses and B&B homes for up to 6-12
couples are also scattered throughout the town, great for groups.
Depending upon traffic conditions, weather, time of day and day of the
week, a drive from Miami should take you 3-5 hours by car down U.S. Highway 1.
You can sail there or fly into Key West International Airport, serviced by all
major air carriers from other major Florida gateways including Miami, Ft.
Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando.
Fun ways of getting around town include
renting bicycles, mopeds, three- and four-wheeler buggies, open air cousins of
golf carts. Since Key West is only about 4-5 miles long and 1-2 miles wide at
spots, you can see the whole place easily using any of the transportation
Another unique way to see everything is to walk... since
most places of interest are convenient to Old Town anyway. A mile or two walk
is not only good for you, you get to see and discover everything up close and
|| Pilot House offers 14 rooms as a guest house only....no
meals. The main mansion includes guest rooms with kitchens or kitchenettes.
The guest houses and B&Bs offer accommodations and some provide
daily breakfast only. Most include a private swimming pool, usually out back,
for sun and fun plus a hot tub.
|| The Pilot House has no food service. Restaurants, bistros
and a grocery store are nearby. The main house includes rooms with
kitchens....however, most women don't mix "vacation and kitchen" in the same
Guest houses and B&Bs include accommodations and some
offer daily breakfast only. Most have a private swimming pool usually out back,
for sun and fun plus a hot tub.
Great restaurants, bistros, bars, fast
food joints and downright dives are spotted all over Key West with the greatest
concentration in and around Duval Street, N. Roosevelt Blvd and along Greene
and Front Streets in Old Town. Numerous dockside bars and restaurants dot the
harbor in the historic seaport section of Old Town adjacent to Caroline Street.
The largest restaurant and bar complex dockside in Key West is the
Conch Republic on Caroline with dining tables and its great bar facing the
seaport. Plenty of drinks, beer, wines and fun to choose from. In addition, try
the great boiled spicy deep-sea shrimp there...you won't find more tender and
juicy fresh shrimp anywhere else. Catch of the day and other house specialty
dishes complete the menu. A big plus, happy hour is 4-7 PM, so you can mellow
out over 3 hours if you like. There's usually live music at the bar to groove
by, troll or just enjoy the one you're with.
Other top restaurants in
town include Bagatelle, Cafe Med, Cafe Sole, La Trattoria & Virgilio's,
Mangoes, Nine One Five, Rooftop Cafe, Square One and The Catch Cafe & Wine
Bar. The most fun is to simply pub crawl and pick a restaurant wherever you
decide to stop. You really can't go too far wrong as the dining scene is
competitive. The further you drift from the tourist areas, however, the more
reasonable the prices. For a little breakfast hole in the wall, stop in at
Pepe's across the street from Conch Republic. Pepe's is also good for a meal
anytime of day or night.
Other favorites include Blue Heaven and
Louie's Backyard, a great place for dining and enjoying your significant other
Bar wise, there seems to be one on every other block on the main
streets. The one that packs the most per square foot is the 3 story building
where The Bull, The Whistle and the Enchanted Garden are located.....at the
corner of Duval and Caroline. The Enchanted Garden on the roof boasts a
clothing-optional bar for drinks and a view.....most times, you'll find more
curious on lookers than folks dropping their drawers.
Lunch off of Duval for a different way to grab a bite to eat. For you fast food
franchise aficionados, there's Denny's, IHOP and other plastic renditions of
Americana spotted all over Key West. Tourism magazines are available for free
most places so gab one when you arrive and plot your course from there.
One note. The list above can and will change as bars and restaurants
change hands, names and locations often, so plan to explore Key West with an
Needless to say, you won't go hungry or thirsty on the
||Pilot House rates run from low $100s/room/night for two up
to $350/room/night for full suites.
Guest house B&Bs have similar
For clothing-optional choices, you'll find Pilot House and
Marrero's Mansion arguably the only two that offer swimming pools where you can
enjoy the water nude. Pilot House also has a private hot tub on the grounds,
too. The Red Rooster Inn (B&B) also claims its roof is clothing-optional.
Numerous guest house and B&Bs can be rented outright for small groups from
6-12 or more couples where you can turn your housing choice into a
clothing-optional experience around the pool. At least 100 B&B and guest
houses are scattered around Old Town and Key West so you've got lots to choose
from if you want to rent an entire building for a weekend or longer party.
The former Deja Vu is no longer clothing optional and does not exist.
The hotel complex has been re-leased and is now called the Truman House, a
conventional motel that welcomes everyone. Also the Atlantic Shores is no
||Adults only for the most part at the resorts mentioned. But
throughout the town and beach all ages are seen there.
||Key West is where the Caribbean, New Orleans and Bahamas
seem to meet in one place, where the natives are friendly and the fun non-stop.
Plan to walk everywhere you can. The most fun is in front of you and
not necessarily in your car.
The entire world it seems has discovered
Key West, so you may be shoulde-to-shoulder with tourists down Duval Street
once you venture out, especially during the weekends or when the cruise ships
Diner Shores Restaurant faces South Street and is open for
breakfast, lunch and dinner with happy hour from 3 PM to 9 PM. Live
entertainment is provided about twice a week. Atlantic Shores and the Diner
Shores are both on the sunrise side of Key West, next to Duval, the main street
for Key West where you can walk 12 blocks to the other end to the heart of the
town of Key West, with lots of shopping, dining, discos, clubs and boutiques
for just about anything and everything.
The comments below come from a
client who is a resident of Key West.
Key West is not as open minded as many people think it is.
True, Fantasy Fest is once a year but even that is being cracked down
upon....but the PARTY still continues.
Most guest houses have a private
swimming pool and hot tub in the back of the property. Bedrooms can run from
3-4 up to 12-15 or so, perfect for a small group.
The food in Key West
runs from seafood to steaks mostly. One could eat out at an elegant restaurant
or a small, family run place. Recommend El Siboney for good Cuban food, not a
fancy place but family owned and operated.....and GREAT food.
seafood, almost anyplace here is good.
Now, for night life.....there is
not a lot of open minded places down here. One that stands out is the Garden of
Eden (GE) down town above the Bull Bar on Duvall, the main street in Key West.
GE is the only clothing-optional bar down town or in the Keys for that matter.
During the day, it's a mix of people. During the holidays and on weekends, it's
a great place to meet old friends and make new ones.
That's a taste of
Key West. One really needs to come and enjoy the town for a few days at least.
You have just about everything one is looking for in a tropical destination and
you can make a party just about anywhere so why not in Key West.
One store we
personally enjoy is Fast Buck Freddies, about 4-5 blocks from the foot of
Duvall, next door to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe. (Guys--Here's a tip:
Ask for the Fart Machine at Fast Buck Freddies in back room if you're really
sophisticated--it costs less than $20 including batteries. You will surprise
your friends and anger your wife---hey, it's a guy thing).
saloon in town: Hog's Breath. (better than no breath at all!)
||Expect to see lots of spots that look like
Disneyworld....mass tourism arrived in Key West big time years ago, so don't
expect lots of cute little bars or restaurants that quaintly reflect the Key
West of years gone by.....there're not there. When you see Ripley's Believe It
or Not and the big cruise ships move in, you know the Key West of Ernest
Hemingway's day is long gone.
Do expect lots of choices about where to
spend your money, though.
Other than the 2-3 guest houses, resorts
plus a bar or two that permit clothing-optional sunbathing, you can always put
your swim suit on and enjoy Higgs Beach, Rest Beach or Smathers Beach, on the
south/south east side of the island,near the airport. Smathers use to tolerate
a bit of nude sunbathing on the north/east end but due to the local "do
gooders," you won't find any public beaches where you can legally drop your
Numerous tourist choices will boggle your mind including
walking tours, sailing, diving, snorkeling, shopping, seeing the butterfly
conservatory, touring museums, gardens, historic homes & mansions, art
galleries, light houses, Hemingway's guest house and Mel Fisher's Maritime
Museum. For the adventurous, you can kayak, go sailboarding, kite boarding,
flying in a seaplane or biplane, visit and sail with the dolphins or party on
the big catamarans for a day of snorkeling, reefing and sunning. You can even
Yoga by the Sea if you're into soothing your soul. Pick up any tourism magazine
for free at most restaurants or shops and plan your days and nights
accordingly. Ride the Conch Train from downtown with open air coaches pulled by
a tractor whose driver will entertain you with a running narrative of local Key
If you just like to wing it, start at the intersection of
Duval and Greene Street, the main line where it mostly happens, and go walking
from there. Parallel streets and intersecting streets off of Duval offer lots
of nooks and crannies to explore. Don't venture down some dark alley in the
middle of the night, though. Stay in the lighted areas and be aware of your
Of course, just about every month in Key West is an
excuse to have some kind of festival and fun, the most famous of which is the
Fantasy Festival, over 25 years since it started. Fantasy Fest occurs about the
last 10 days of October, starting generally the week just prior to Halloween.
Events include costume competitions, street fairs, masquerade balls and the
grand parade finale. The local Caribbean community kicks off the weekend before
with the Goombay Festival, celebrating Caribbean and African culture. Located
in Key West's Bahama Village neighborhood, the Caribbean celebration includes a
festival of music, dance, art and craft and food.
You can even win
$1,000 at Hogs Breath's Saloon's home made bikini contest or enter you and your
dog in Fantasy Fest's Pet Masquerade, where pets and owners both compete in a
look-alike contests. Hey, it's not Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but it does seem
to be more user friendly and smaller than the million-member mob that invades
Louisiana's Bayou City each winter.
Bars and nightclubs include A
& B Lobster House, Aqua, Berlin's, Bourbon Street Pub, Half Shell Raw Bar,
Hard Rock Cage, Hog's Breath Cafe and Bar, Kelly's Caribbean Bar & Grill,
La Te Da for gay acts, Louie's Backyard, Mangoes, PT's Late Night, Schooner
Wharf Bar, Sloppy Joe's Bar and Turtle Kraals Bar. Note: These may change
names, change locations or change owners without notice so use the list as a
Funkiness reins supreme at lots of clothes, boutique,
art and head shops in Key West, with lots of selections for main line tourists
as well as gays, lesbians and folks of all persuasions.....from key lime
products to voodoo and incense shops, you'll surely find a good reason there to
spend your money.
||Tourists everywhere, every fast food franchise is
||Bars and restaurants everywhere--not necessarily bad,
but usually expensive.
||Some of the Key West guest houses and older,
Victorian homes are simply outstanding to see.
||Key West is just one of a kind. It's a mix of Miami,
the Caribbean, and just about everywhere else. the locals are an adventursome
and fun-loving lot. You have to go... at least once.
||Parking is hard to come by. Take lots of quarters to
feed the meters if you drive a car in Key West, especially over the weekends or
during holidays and special events.
||Key West is a year-round destination and is frost-free
during the "winter." Great weather most of the time, but avoid the hot summer
during hurricane season. Fantasy Week, usually before Halloween, IF YOU CAN
FIND A PLACE TO STAY! Runs New Orleans' Mardi Gras a close second.
||We wish they would limit the tourist quota.
A four-lane highway from Miami to Key West.
Wish more guest houses were nude friendly, but rent a whole place and bring
your own party. Money talks, especially when you offer to take over a complete
B&B for a few days.
Wish parking your car was more convenient on
|| View the Photo
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use many more. Why not send in yours? You can contribute to this section - all
you have to do is go to our Contribute Trip Report / Photographs page.
|| View Trip
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who have recently visited Key West. You can contribute to this section - all
you have to do is go to our Contribute Trip Report / Photographs page.
||You can arrive any day of the week so call CASTAWAYS TRAVEL
for your vacation. You can stay as long as you like.
Now that you
know, GO! Contact CASTAWAYS TRAVEL via our
quotes / reservations page or
800-470-2020 during the business day to book your trip. Thank you for visiting
our website. We appreciate your kind consideration.