Thursday, November 8, 2018

Fulfilling My Florida Keys Bucket List

Visiting the Florida Keys has been on my bucket list for a long time.  R and I have talked about going since we were married 15 years ago.  Well, back in August we decided to finally quit talking about going to the Keys and just go over my Fall Break in October.  While planning our trip, I made a list of all the things I've said I always wanted to do when I finally went to the Keys.  As a planner, I wanted to make sure I made the time to do the things that were apparently important enough for me to take the time to write down.  Here are the eight items that made my list and whether I did them or not:

✔ Visit the Southernmost Point in the Continental US

Other than standing in line to go through security at the airport, this was the only line we stood in during our Florida Keys vacation.  When we arrived, there were approximately 20-25 people already lined up in order to capture a Kodak Moment of themselves in front of this famous Key West landmark (located at the corner of Whitehead St. and South St.).  Luckily, the line moved somewhat quickly and most of the line was in the shade.

✔ Eat Key Lime Pie

Boy, did I ever!  When it was all said and done, I ate 10 different pieces of Key Lime Pie from 9 different places/bakeries.  I'll share my thoughts and favorites in a forthcoming post.  

✔ Visit The Turtle Hospital

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for turtles and when I learned that the Florida Keys had a hospital just for these majestic creatures, I knew I had to visit it one day.

The Turtle Hospital, located at 2396 Overseas Hwy. in Marathon, offers daily tours that start on the hour and last approximately an hour and a half.  At the beginning of the tour, visitors are shown an informative slideshow before proceeding to the operational part of the hospital (operating room and x-ray).  The majority of the tour consists of visiting both short term patients (who will be released back into the wild upon recovery) and the permanent residents (who live at the hospital because their condition prevents them from surviving in the wild).

I was thoroughly impressed by the facility, staff, and by the efforts taken to rehabilitate these magnificent creatures.

✔ View a sunset

Opportunities to watch the sun set are abundant in the Florida Keys and I was fortunate enough to not only watch the sun set once, but four times!  The best one, in my opinion, was the first sunset we watched at our hotel on Long Key.

✔ See some six-toed cats

The official term is polydactyl, but saying six-toed is just more fun and doesn't elicit as many strange looks as polydactyl does.  

The Ernest Hemmingway Home and Museum in Key West is the home to  40-50 six-toed cats and some are direct descendants of Hemmingway's first polydactyl feline, Snow White.  A sailor gifted Snow White to Hemmingway because six-toed cats are believed to be good luck.

As I toured Hemingway's house and grounds, I saw several  six-toed cats.  I also saw many cats that have a normal amount of toes (5), but who carry the polydactyl gene.

✔ See the Christ of the Abyss 

Christ of the Abyss is a 4,000 pound bronze statue that stands just below the ocean's surface at a depth of approximately 25-feet at a site called Key Largo Dry Rocks in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The 8.6 foot sculpture is a replica of a statue of the same name that was submerged off the coast of Genoa, Italy in 1954 as a memorial to sailors lost at sea.  The statue off the coast of Key Largo was cast using the same mold as the original, "Il Cristo Degli Abissi."

Although the waves were a bit choppy and visibility wasn't the best, I'm still so very glad that I was finally able to see this iconic statue in person.

✔ Sample some seafood

Disclaimer:  I'm not a fan of seafood, so this bucket list item was a bit of challenge for me.  If you'll notice, I said "sample" instead of "eat" because I'm not big on commitment when it comes to seafood.  Anyway, I ate Lobster Mac 'n Cheese (twice, actually); ate one Conch Fritter, which reminded me of a hushpuppy; and I sampled a bite of R's Stone Crab.

✔ Visit the Dry Tortugas National Park

Most people don't even know about the Dry Tortugas National Park, which lies about 70 miles west of Key West and is only accessible by boat or seaplane.  Even though the trip took up the better part of one of our two days in Key West, exploring historic Fort Jefferson and snorkeling in the picturesque blue waters that surround the fort was worth it.  

And there you have it...  With a little planning and the patience and assistance of my husband, R, I was able to complete all 8 items on my Florida Keys Bucket List  :)  My visit to the Keys was everything I hoped it would be and I feel safe in saying that I will make a return trip one day.

Have you ever made a Bucket List for a destination?  Have you ever done any of the things on my Florida Keys Bucket List?

Linking up with:


  1. Been to the further most point. Ate some seafood and conch. Not much of a planner just do what comes up. I didn't get to snorkel in key west like I wanted

  2. I've never been in Florida. The most fascinating to me is turtle hospital. That is great thing to help those innocent creatures.

    Please visit:

    1. I think most people think of Disney when they think of Florida, but there is so much more. I simply fell in love with the keys.

  3. Key west is on my list too! Lots of great ideas here for things to see and do. Pinning.

  4. I have visited several beaches and cities in Florida, but somehow I have missed out on the Keys. This post has made me want to plan a visit! Thanks for sharing! #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. I loved the Keys. There are many "beaches," but that was ok by me. The water was lovely. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (when you go)!

  5. I loved the keys too. I only missed the turtle hospital! Thanks for sharing #TheWeeklyPostcard

  6. What a fun list!! I would definitely have the key lime pie on my bucket list (because if not there, then where??)!! I didn't know there was a turtle hospital. I also have a soft spot for turtles (it's my nickname!) so I would definitely want to check it out, too. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. Thank you! Yes, if you weren't looking for it (and didn't notice the sign), you might zip on past the turtle hospital. I definitely recommend it!

  7. Being a Florida native and living in SE Florida I have been to the Keys more than once and you did a good job of bringing the highlights forward. The Turtle Hospital is a must, it is educational and thought provoking. I would only add try a guided kayak tour from Key West and around nearby mangrove islands, you will learn about local sea life and if lucky maybe see a few dolphin or manatees. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. Thank you, I appreciate your kind words. When I get back there one day (notice I said "when" and not "if"), I plan to do a kayak tour. I am a kayaker, I just didn't have enough time to do everything I would've liked. Good to know that you recommend it.

  8. I won't be going to the Tortugas or keys, but I have accomplished quite of few of those Florida favorites. My favorite key lime delight is actually a cupcake. From Gracie's.

    1. I will have to keep that cupcake recommendation in mind for when I return!

  9. I want to visit the 6-toed cats' home. Their paws look happy. The story behind the Christ statue was very interesting. I take it you like key lime pie now. :-)

  10. What a great trip! The food looked delicious! A turtle's hospital - that is fabulous. Love those large paws on kitty!

    Thank you for link up on Wandering Camera!


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