Some people love to go places when they know everyone else is going to be there. They thrive on the vibe of large crowds. Other people are just the opposite. They want to be able to enjoy the beauty and charm of a place without having to jostle their way through throngs of other people. If you find yourself part of that second group, now is the time to book your vacation to Key West, Florida for later this year.
Once upon a time there were two distinct seasons in Key West, and they could best be described as Feast and Famine. The first four months of the year were the high season, but once May rolled around, the joke was you could roll a bowling ball down Duval Street from one end to the other and not hit anyone. Today people have discovered the beauty of visiting Key West later in the summer, and many special events that happen in the early fall help to draw record sized crowds to the island, but there are still several weeks in November and December when the streets are more empty than not.
There is something special about visiting such a place in the off-season, not the least of it is the money that you could save. Many of the resorts and hotels offer special off-season rates and loosen the restrictions when it comes to a minimum number of nights, allowing people to sneak away for a long weekend if they cannot afford to take an entire week off. This slow time also means no waiting for many of the Key West restaurants.
Key West has developed an international reputation for the high level of culinary output, and during this slower time of the year, it is possible to sample several of the different restaurants without having to worry about reservations or waiting in line. Plus, many different fisheries have their seasons begin in the late summer and early fall, meaning not only is the seafood going to be fresh - just like it always is - but it promises to be some of the best of the year, from sweet succulent lobster tail to jumbo size Stone Crab claws.
Part of what made Key West such a desirable destination over the years for both tourists and residents alike is the charm and beauty that was found in the quiet of life on an island over 100 miles from the mainland. The perfect time to experience that sensation is to plan a visit for the end of the year. Be sure to consult your calendar, however, because if you pick the wrong week, instead of just being one of a thousand enjoying the laid back island lifestyle, you might find yourself one of 100,000 being swept up in the craziness that is Fantasy Fest.
Jack Terry is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer who lived in Key West for several years. http://www.rooftopcafe.com