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Key West’s warm weather and miles of accessible beach front make it an attractive destination in the winter months; and the hotels know this. As snowbirds from Michigan, Ohio, and other northern states rush south in November, the number of available rooms drops and the price for them skyrockets. Don’t expect to get a last-minute room for cheap. This goes double for during the holiday rush -- in fact, if you plan on visiting in December, it’s best to book your rooms well in advance!
The good news is, the balmy winter weather continues right on into spring. The average temperatures between March and June remain pleasantly in the high seventies and low- to mid-eighties, and the number of visitors drops to a more manageable level. This even includes Spring Break season in March: while the easy-going Key West “live and let live” attitude is certainly attractive to college students, Key West draws fewer spring breakers than the more popular Panama City and Daytona Beach.
While it might be tempting to snag a hotel on the beach when the crowds have gone, for once, visiting in the off season is a bad idea. The reason that there are so few visitors in August through November is because of the horrible weather—and not just the high temperatures. These months are the prime time for thunderstorms and, more dangerously, hurricanes in Key West. Especially if you live somewhere that isn’t used to dealing with large storms, visiting during this period can be courting disaster.
The summer months of May, June, and July mark the rainy season in this beach front vacation location. As long as you don’t mind a little drizzle and check for extreme weather beforehand, it can still be safe to visit, and cheaper too. While you might be tempted to grab an inexpensive room in a hotel on the beach, consider how much use you actually plan on getting out of it. After all, June has an average rainfall of five inches! Note as well that June is host to Key West’s PRIDE Parade, making finding a last-minute room harder.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay that’s on the water, you should definitely check out Key West’s B&B options. Some possible lodgings even take it literally! Not only are there a number of condos, cabanas, and guesthouses you can rent, as well as more typical bed & breakfast style rooms, but quite a few nautical-minded locals even rent out houseboats! Imagine being lulled to sleep by the soft sway and sound of the waves against your temporary home.
You might even get a good bargain; while many hotels rooms in Key West can start at $225 per night even during the shoulder season in March, you can find a considerable number of rooms for rent, private cabanas, guest houses, and even a houseboat or two for less. This is partially because there aren’t a large number of economy hotels or motels on the island -- in fact, the Days Inn that was there for many years has closed.
Make sure to read the descriptions for anything under $75/night closely, though. A large number of rental rooms under that price are actually for outdoor tents or campgrounds -- quite fun in their own way, but you will be getting what you pay for. If you’re specifically looking to camp on Key West, check out Key West KOA*, which offers almost as many amenities as an actual hotel room, including cable TV, Wi-Fi, and a full service marina.
Key West is what’s known as a coral island, which makes it perfect for snorkeling, scuba, and exploring the many live coral reefs that surround it. It also has several beaches, from the clear blue water of Dry Tortugas Beach in Fort Jefferson National Park to Smathers Beach’s perfect snorkeling coves. Then, of course, there are the beach front resorts that offer scenic views and even tours of the local waters, by cruise or swim.
The Ibis Bay Beach Resort, for example, offers both daytime and sunset cruises as well as fishing tours and the rental of clear-bottomed kayaks that let you zip through the waves while marveling at the sea life. A queen bed there costs about $270 a night. It is also only a short, two minute drive—or slightly longer walk—along Roosevelt Avenue to the Key West Dive Center. The Dive Center offers scuba dives of local wrecks and reefs, as well as a dolphin encounter and snuba, for those who want a deeper dive but don’t have their scuba certification.
Similarly, the locally popular Southernmost on the Beach Hotel at the southern end of popular Duval Street offers stand-up kayaks to ride and a private beach, which hosts both volleyball courts and beach yoga classes. Its beautiful beach view and luxury hotel service make it a popular place for wedding ceremonies to be performed—a stay there makes you likely to witness at least one lovely beachside ceremony. And, after a long day of play in the surf, you can relax in their full service spa.
Duval Street is where the vibrant color, adventure, and spontaneity of Key West really come to life! This street, made famous by the Village People’s hit song “Key West,” hosts a variety of restaurants, shops, bars, attractions -- and, of course, accommodations. The eccentric street is well known for attracting an outgoing and social crowd. Stop and have a drink at the original Margaritaville restaurant or at Sloppy Joe’s (which has counted Ernest Hemingway amongst its patrons), or on the roof of the La Concha Hotel, which is favored by the locals for its view.
At the south end of the street is the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, a conservatory and learning center for not only multiple species of butterflies but also tropical trees, flowers, shrubs, and birds. The learning center is perfect for visitors with small children, or for those older kids-at-heart who are interested in learning more about the life and behavior of these beautiful winged insects. It is right across the street from the Southernmost on the Beach Hotel, and right around the corner from both Pearl’s and the Best Western.
Duval Street also offers an amazing number of historical and cultural attractions. Walking up and down the street, you’ll see a number of classic-style conch houses built in the late 1800s. Some of these unique houses are even available as Bed and Breakfasts, or have been converted into hotels such as the nearby Douglas House Guest House, making finding local lodging easy. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is just around the corner as well, where you can learn all about the famous author, his works, and his time living in Key West.
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© 2017 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.