A trip to the Florida Keys isn’t complete without a visit to Duval Street in Key West. Duval Street is to Key West what Bourbon Street is to New Orleans. And when the sun goes down there really isn’t much difference between the two places. There is a mixture honky tonks, restaurants, shops for the tourists, and places of ill repute (fun spots)… which can provide for a lot of people watching entertainment – if you are into this type of thing as we are.
Duval Street starts at mile marker 0 on the Overseas Highway where the sunset pier and Mallory Square are for viewing the daily sunset celebration. Not far from here you will find the cruise ships docking nearby where the throngs of tourists disembark to separate themselves from their hard earned cash… when the locals who run the businesses along Duval will be hawking their wares just like they do in New Orleans.
The Sculpture Garden is also nearby where some quirky sculptures and a small museum offer a respite to the shops and bars. Along Duval you will find the tourists stopping at the places to visit on their list – Sloppy Joes, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, the Conch Train, the Key West Key Lime Shoppe, etc.. Further down Duval you will begin to notice the rainbow colored flags signifying what once was the area known best for its gay friendly establishments, but now all of Key West is gay friendly and as such there are a lot of people who frequent this area. Then around the 800 block of Duval you enter the area where you find the transgendered friendly establishments and this is where many visitors to Key West will come to watch the famous drag shows that are live each night. We haven’t made it to one of these yet but may do so before we leave as we hear they are extremely hilarious.
So what you really find in Key West is a large group of businesses that are “people friendly” and thus you end up with a quirky little town that can be as fun as you make it. We really like the quirkiness of all of Key West but we also prefer to spend a lot of our time on it’s neighboring island called Stock Island. This is where you will find the Hog Fish Bar and Grill that I have mentioned before. After visiting Key West on our way back home we have found that by occasionally going to happy hour here (from 4-7pm where we can get $1.25 pints of frosty beverages) that we can engage in conservations with the locals and “nearly” locals that visit the establishment.
We have met many interesting and friendly people here and from these many conversations with these very friendly people we have had an invite to go sailing in Panama City when we are in that town and an offer to boondock on a couples 200 acre farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and last night we had an offer to go over and watch the fire works at the Key West Harbor Yacht Club. The couple we met were members of it and invited us along where they even bought us dinner as we watched the fireworks light up the skies of downtown Key West… Life is indeed Grand!!!