Key West From Fort Myers for the day

Traveling to Key West from Fort Myers on the Key West Express

Sunny Key West is a great place to go in the winter.   Its March and my brother and sister-in-law are visiting from Toronto. The weather in Fort Myers has taken a turn, and temperatures are unseasonably cool. After several lovely days of beach, pool, and sightseeing we decide why not go to Key West for the day. That decision was likely made after a few cocktails.

Leaving Fort Myers for Key West Early Morning

Leaving Fort Myers for Key West Early Morning

The ferry departs from Fort Myers at 8:30 am and takes 3.5 hours but after reading reviews we realized we had to be there at 7:30 to get a decent seat. So the 3.5-hour trip became 4.5 hours each way.  By the time we disembarked, it was about 12:30P.

Inside Cabin Key West Express ferry Fort Myers to Key West

Middle Deck Cabin Key West Express

Upper Deck Key West Express

Upper Deck Key West Express Fort Myers to Key West

Arriving in Key West and the Conch Train

Key West is charming, quirky, fun, lively, and historical. We only had a few hours, so we hopped on the Conch Train for a quick tour.  Train tickets were sold on the ferry and maps were included (adults $30, Kids 12 and under $15), several other people from the ferry had the same idea. The initial tour is an hour, has three stops, and is hop on-hop off. The train took us past the major sites, including a few passes by the bars, restaurants, and shops on Duval Street.  Your ticket is good for the entire day, but the last trip is at 4:30 so careful planning is required if you intend to take it back to the ferry for the 5 pm boarding

Conch Train Key West

Conch Train Key West

Key West Architecture from the Conch Train

Lovely Key West Architecture

Buoy marking Southern Most point in the Continental US

The buoy marking Southern Most point in the Continental US

One of the many bars in Key West

One of the many bars in Key West

Now that we had the lay of the land, our next priority was lunch. We were hungry and wanted something on the healthy side (versus a “Hamburger in Paradise” and a beer). Right across the street from the Conch Train stop is Roof Top Cafe  (308 Front Street), ZAGAT rated one of the 8 Hottest Restaurants in Key West.  Our table was outside on an upper deck with the sun, street view, and white tablecloth. A leisurely lunch with two-for-one Mimosas and excellent fish and Cuban sandwiches; we were happy campers.

After lunch, we decided a choice between Hemingway’s house and the Truman White House was necessary. We only had a little over an hour before we had to walk back to the ferry.  The choice was Truman’s Little White House. See details on this post,  Truman’s Little White House Tour

Returning to Fort Myers on the ferry

On the return trip, the website says to be on the boat by 5 for a 6 pm departure, another 4.5-hour trip. To make it more interesting, what we realized later is many people returning to Fort Myers after staying in Key West overnight are willing to get on the boat early to get a good seat. Those in Key West for the day want to take advantage of every minute and arrive at the designated time.

According to our seatmates at 3:45 the seats were filling up – we arrived at 5P. Seats were hard to find and we ended up on the lower level and facing the bow, but we were able to sit together.  Ferry personal ask those at tables to share as there are limited seats and they tend to fill the boat! 

You might like to bring a supply of Bonine just in case.

The website has an interesting FAQ on their website  —“Keep in mind that marine travel is influenced by winds, waves, tides, and weather.” Hmmm. The weather had been windy the last few days and unfortunately picked up for the ride home. The waves crashed on the windows, and the boat was rocking and rolling. It wasn’t long before we learned why the nice men in sailing whites stood watchfully throughout the voyage carrying white bags and paper towels. Fortunately, the three of us were not struck by an unsettled stomach, but many were!

As the Captain was shifting his route trying to avoid the worsening seas our  4.5-hour trip turned into 5, all were grateful when we finally arrived in Fort Myers! I wouldn’t take the day trip again but would love to return to Key West and stay a few days. This trip serviced as a good introduction but there’s so much more to see and do in Key West, a day just doesn’t skim the surface.  

Important information and available services: 

As we exited the ferry terminal on arrival there was a row of “electric cars” (essentially golf carts) rented in advance and delivered to the ferry.  Bestonkeywest.com   The cars come in 2, 4 and 6 seats, and you can rent them for 4 hours, or a full day. 

“Don’t Drag your Bag” is the line Paradise Porters advertises. They have a booth at the ferry.  This company will deliver your luggage to your hotel and pick it up from the hotel on departure.   Rates vary you can call or email them from their website.  

Key West Express Ferry information:

Costs:
Individual $155
Senior over 62 $145
Junior 5-12 $92
Age 4 and under $62
There is a discount for booking 8 days prior to departure,  $140 for individuals. 

Key West Express Amenities:
Full-service bar
Galley sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs, chips and more
Large flat screen TVs
Air-conditioned cabins
Open air sundecks

 

About

I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

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