Sunsets, Key West
The sunset viewing from the top of the La Concha Hotel on Duval Street is fantabulous and a great alternative to the Mallory Square sunset celebration
This seven story hotel has a rooftop that allows for a complete 360 degree walk-around and views of Key West, the seaport and southernmost point.
While I have never stayed @ La Concha (but have tried to get reservations during peak times unfortunately), I have had friends there and they showed me an entrance to the rooftop via elevator that is accessed through the hotel's bar facing Duval Street.
On my last trip to key West in October 2006, they were even serving drinks on the rooftop so I was able to "toast the sunset" and this made for a most enjoyable evening overlooking the city, the harbor, and the cruiseships in port.
I would highly recommend this as well as at least one Mallory Square sunset celebration for anyone visiting Key West.
For all you morning people like me. Take a walk along the southern side of the island and catch the sun coming up. There is a nice walking path all the way from Higgs beach around past the airport to Flagler Ave. A great way to start your day and get some excercise. Or end your late night!
The La Concha is the tallest building in old town, and of course there is a bar on the rooftop. For a panoramic view of the island make this one of your sunset spots while here. There is a one drink cover charge at prime time (sunset of course), but you can have a gander for free any other time of day.
There is nothing better than watching a sunset in Key West. After a day of fishing, drinking, boating or, whatever your pleasure, pick a spot on the western side of the island and watch the sky explode in colors as the sun glides off the horizon. Key Westers, or conchs, as they like to be called, are so enamored by their sunsets that they celebrate them nightly at Mallory Square.
We took these pictures from a sunset cruise just off the shore. If you've read any of my tips, you've probably guessed that I'm not a huge fan of Key West. But even I had to be impressed by this sight. Just another reminder of the color and beauty that only nature can create.
ASK, ASK, ASK about discounts at your hotel and check out all the free tourist books that are in every restaurant and tourist place. You can save 10 - 30% on so many things to do. Most hotels offer some sort of cruise or tour or something special for their gusets only.
We took a sunset sail on one of the old schooner ships. There are two sister ships that are just about the same, my photo shows the other one while we are on ours. They dock at the Key West Bight. This is a wonderful way to experience the absolutely gorgeous sunsets that Key West is famous for. There are plenty of sails to choose from, ours included a seafood chowder and all the wine or beer or soft drinks you wanted, along with some live entertainment in the form of a guitar player, singer and story teller. The crew was very friendly and were happy to talk about the history of the ship.
You can't miss the sunset celebration, every day when the sun sets everyone in the Key West goes to the Mallory Square Dock to see the spectacular sunset and after that... the big party is in the street with mime, jugglers, food carts and street performes!!!
We chose the Schooner AmericA. The America is a $4 million replica of the famous racing yacht that defeated all challengers in the 100 Guinea Cup Race in England (which later became the America's Cup). For $75 a person/$25 for children, you can take a cruise for a few hours. They let you help raise the sails and even steel the ship. Your money includes complimentary beer, wine and champagne along with fruit and vegetables.
Reservations are required. Sails from 4:30-6:30 pm.
Not sure how you are getting to Key West, but if you are driving down from Miami area, I think it is one of the greatest drives in the country. Water on both sides, plenty of little side trips all the way down.
The winter time is a bit tricky because it does get a bit cold and rain is always a possibility. The water does not look as nice as in the summer months. Bit of a hit or miss.
If you are driving down try to stop at Islamorada Flsh Co. for a drink on the water and good food.
Another cool stop is in Big Pine Key. I used to be a resident of that Key and while I found the Key Deer to be a pain in the butt, it is very nice to get to see them as that is the only place you will get a chance to see these protected animals.
Must stop would be the "No Name Pub". Great burgers and pizza. Inside, the pub it is covered with dollar bills. Difficult to find as it is out of town.
Key West itself is a party town. No trip is complete without doing the Duval Crawl. Careful which bars you walk into, none will be dangerous but are sometimes "gender specific".
My most memorable experience was the dinner cruise on the Sunset Culinaire Dinner cruise. Not sure if they are still running the cruise as it was last year when we went, but the trip was excellent. The food was an absolutely fantastic three course meal (as a Chef, I know), we drank wine and champagne (included) and the sunset was fabulous.
A week is alot of time in Key West. You will be sure to see almost everything in that amount of time and hopefully the weather will cooperate.
Dream Chaser Charters
My most recent visit to Key West was in July 0f 2000, when I brought a very special woman who at the time was merely considered my “girlfriend” down to Key West and proposed to her in dramatic, romantic fashion. She thought I was just going to take her on a sunset cruise, but instead I actually chartered the catamaran "Dreamchaser." The owners took us out at sunset to somewhere off the edge of the continent where the blue and green swirls of tropical water blur the boundaries of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. They were extremely accommodating, even providing the special song and flower arrangement I requested. They also prepared for us a lobster and steak dinner for two. It was the ultimate proposal -- nothing but the best for my wife!
We did "Commotion on the Ocean" with Fury. The only difference between this and a regular sunset cruise is food and a live band. Both offer free drinks (alcohol, sodas, water). The food offered was appetizer type foods - cheese, veggies, fruit, chicken wings, and meatballs. The band was great! The singer/guitar player was Cory Heydon (www.coryheydon.com). There was also a bass player, but I forgot his name (sorry!). He sang/played good songs by artist like Bob Dylan, The Police, James Taylor, Neil Young, Lynrd Skynrd, etc.
We spent 2 hours on the water just watching the sunset and listening to the music. It was a very good time that I recommend to anyone! (Families included - it was kid friendly)
Buy your tickets online at the website to save $5
I lived on a sailboat for two of the years I was in Key West. I found that the sunsets really were the most psychedelic in the summertime. I highly recommend getting on a boat for the sunset and listening to some roots reggae, versus standing at Mallory Square in the crowds. There is a time and a place for that too, though, if you feel like people-watching and drinking an alcoholic beverage!!
There are several companies in Key West who offer a variation of the Sunset Sail - we took the Fury Champagne Sunset Sail, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The price includes free champagne, beer, and soda, and a 2-hour cruise around the harbor and out a little ways to watch the famous Key West sunset. Our cruise was not crowded, and was romantic.
Check the tourist booklets or ask at the counter for discounts - when we went, they were running a special: ladies sailed for 1/2 off the price on certain cruises...
Among all the reasons to go to Key West, this is perhaps the most rational: to watch the sun set. Daily, hundred of people gather at the dock to watch the sun set over the ocean as musicians strum their guitars, men with bare chests swallow swords, and teenagers spin fire as pensive hippies play bongo drums behind them. The performers try to steal your attention claming "It will still be there after our show." But it is mesmerizing to watch it slowly sink away into the ocean.
Key West is known for it’s beautiful sunsets. Unfortunately, we were still about a 25 min drive outside of Key West when the sun went down. We could see it in the distance and it looked gorgeous even from out there. Probably would have been awesome if we’d actually been in the town. Because I didn’t get a pic I’ve put a postcard pic here so you can see what it would look like.