Sunday, 10 March 2013

Florida Magic


Beautiful white beaches, crystal clear sea and fish every colour of the rainbow. This was Key West, the next location on my US tour.

After a wonderfully amusing adventure on the west coast it had been time to say goodbye to my girls from camp. Whilst they flew back to the Big Apple I headed southeast to visit my grandmother in Florida. 

Now I don't know how much prices have changed but in 2009 I managed to fly across country for $80- a bargain flight! But often internal flights can be that bit cheaper meaning those long haul buses can sometimes be avoided.

An obvious tip here, but if you have connections in different locations use them. I just happened to be very lucky that my grandma had decided to uproot to the sunshine state 10 years previous leaving me a very comfy spare room to crash in and a great opportunity to see Florida. 

Now don’t get too excited, she doesn’t live anywhere near Disneyland, which had been my original hope, she lives in a city called Sunrise- sounds so idyllic right? Sunrise is located six miles west of Fort Lauderdale and is full of highways, malls and that’s about it. 

One thing about Florida is that it is extremely hard to travel around if you do not have a car so, piece of Bex FYI for ya: if you’re planning to visit rent a car as everything is a good drive away.

My brother and cousin had come out to meet me for this next leg of my journey and boy was it a laugh. Arriving in September, the area’s hurricane season, meant that we were hit with rain from 12pm onwards everyday- bad time to go visit grandma. This ruined my plans of sun bathing and pool lounging. Instead we visited the famous Sawgrass Mills Mall (sixth largest in the US) a dozen times, had extremely dodgy super-cuts (never recommended) and watched a series of bad movies. 

However, after a while it was time for us to venture a bit further afield. We rented a car and headed towards Key West, an island in the Straits of Florida. The island is surrounded by lush beaches, filled with gourmet restaurants with a stack of ice cream on offer at every corner. Thankfully, the weather here was a lot different to Sunrise. It was swelteringly hot, despite it being September, with no rain in sight which meant I could catch up on those rays.

Although only 4 miles long and 2 miles wide, Key West holds host to a multitude of attractions including the Key West Botanical Forest and Garden, the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory and the Key West Gay and Lesbian Museum and Archive

Now I have to admit that our day trip to Key West meant that time was limited. However, we still managed to wander around the town, check out the beach and end the day with a cruise of the island and a snorkel expedition.

Key West has loads of options for outdoor sport, boating trips and sunset sails and often they can be the best way to enjoy a new place.

Myself, the bro and cousin, ventured into North America’s only living reef and spent time snorkelling in the colourful sea. Sounds a lot more glamourous than it was because, as an adult, I still can’t master the art of not swallowing sea water and having it go up your nose. This became a point of hilarity on the trip but the sea life views were worth it. 

A trip like this could not come more recommended. The cruise was a reasonable price and allowed us to see the best of the island.  Everything about Key West was stunning and the boat trip highlighted that by ending our day with a sunset view from the water. This picture represents the wonderful day I had in Key West made all the better by spending it with family. Florida Magic.

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