Travel Postcard: 48 hours in the Florida Keys
Visitors stroll outside the Harry S. Truman Little White House Museum in Key West (Andy Newman, Florida Keys News Bureau, Reuters Handout)
For many, it did end here, a place where ships crashed and wreckers saved sailors and kept their cargos. Grand homes reflect the glory days of found treasure, while the carefree lifestyle captures the spirit of the wayfaring rogues who trolled the rich waters.
Visitors usually fly into Miami and take the traditional 162-mile scenic drive to Key West on Route 1. Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a weekend trip in the area.
Noon - Stop for lunch at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen at Key Largo and try the grilled fish Key Lime pie. http://www.mrsmacskitchen.com.
1:30 p.m.- Visit the Turtle Hospital, one of the few veterinary clinics that rehabilitates the massive reptiles. A tour passes by the surgery suite and the ponds where non-releasable turtles live. http://www.theturtlehospital.org.
3 p.m. - Make a stop at Hawks Cay Resort at Duck Key to enjoy their Dolphin Connection in which four friendly swimming mammals like their flippers petted. http://www.hawkscay.com.
4 p.m. - Rent a kayak and paddle past your new dolphin friends, who will swim alongside. http://www.hawkscay.com.
5 p.m. - Ride a wakeboard at The oTHErside Boardsports in Islamorada, or if you are feeling more adventurous try a kiteboard. http://www.othersideboardsports.com.
6 p.m. - Stop for dinner at Tio's Cantina in Hawks Cay, or head to Key West and stay at the Hyatt Key West, which is in the city center and right on the dock (www.keywest.hyatt.com) and eat at the Hogfish Bar and Grill. Sit at a picnic table and try the smoked fish dip, local pink shrimp and hogfish, a Key West delicacy. http://www.hogfishbar.com.
9 p.m. - Take a Key West ghost tour, which is a popular attraction, to see the cursed doll that inspired the "Chucky" horror movies. Reservations are recommended. Ask politely before snapping his photo or you may inherit the curse. http://www.hauntedtours.com.
10:30 p.m. - Stop for a drink at The Schooner's Wharf, where you can sit on the dockside and watch the stars and ships. http://www.schoonerwharf.com.
8 a.m. - Leave your car at the Old Town Trolley station where there is free parking. Take their history tour, and then use it as a bus to get around the city. http://www.trolleytours.com/key-west.
8:15 a.m. - Stop for breakfast at Blue Heaven and try the Lobster Benedict or pancakes. http://www.blueheavenkw.com.
9:30 a.m. - Stroll over to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where the author penned some of his greatest masterpieces. Pet one or more of the six-toed cats descended from his pet, Snowball. http://www.hemingwayhome.com.
10:30 a.m. - Climb to the top of the old lighthouse for some great views.
11 a.m. - Take the Trolley to the Pelican Poop, a well-known Key West art shop where Hemingway completed "A Farewell to Arms."
11:30 a.m. - Head to Sloppy Joe's bar, on the corner of Greene and Duval streets, where the original sandwich of the same name was invented. It was one of Hemingway's favorite hangouts. http://www.sloppyjoes.com.