Staff Picks - The Best of Key West

Are you spending hours online surfing the internet and scrolling for things to do and see on your next vacation to the Florida Keys and Key West? You’ve probably already been to TripAdvisor reading reviews and on Instagram checking out the sites, but you still desire that inside scoop on all of it. The best way to find the answers is to speak to the people that live here, and that’s what we did. Southernmost Beach Resort’s Todd Jones, Property Manager and resident of Key West for 23 years, along with JenaRose McCall, Sales Manager, resident for over 17 years, helped us narrow down the list to find the best of Key West. Here’s what they had to say:

Favorite Place to Eat + Drink in Key West

La Te Da and Santiago’s Bodega

Here are two different experiences that provide guests with that unique Key West flair in food and fun.


Man holding drink with decorated Christmas tree behind him

Todd’s favorite place to eat and drink is La Te Da, located just a few blocks away from our Key West beach resort.

La Te Da is a Key West landmark located on the world-famous Duval Street

La Te Da is a Key West landmark located on the world-famous Duval Street.  It’s got the best live entertainment on the island with a piano bar, terrace bar, and cabaret. While visiting, make sure to check out the Cabaret shows and have a drink or two on the terrace bar.

La Te Da is highly recommended and deserves an A+ in food, music, and entertainment.  Learn more about La Te Da.


Santiago’s Bodega is a tapas bar that serves global small plates in a warm, inviting atmosphere. It’s charming, cozy, and serves up the best house-made sangria.

Cold glass of sangria from Santiago’s Bodega

Photo credit: Santiago’s Bodega Key West.

JenaRose had this to say,  “For dinner, Santiago’s Bodega is my favorite.  I don’t think I could ever love a restaurant more. It’s just that good.  The sangria is delicious, and the Tapas menu offers so many options, all shareable.  I think it’s also my husband’s favorite place to go.”

Learn more about Santiago’s Bodega.

Where to go to avoid the crowds?

Dry Tortugas and Fort Zachary Taylor Beach

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas is like no place else on earth and offers visitors an adventure of a lifetime.  If it’s not on your travel bucket list, it should be.  From the pristine clear blue waters to the massive Civil War Fortress, there are many reasons Dry Tortugas National Park is that one place you’ll always remember.  A hidden gem for sure.

Man taking selfie under water at Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park Photo Credit: Javier Figueroa.

Racquel Natasha on Instagram sums up the Dry Tortugas experience. ‘Who would of thought such a magical place existed 70 miles off the coast of Key West?  Spent the weekend exploring Fort Jefferson from the 19th century and 7 small islands! After such a crazy year this mini trip with a digital detox was such a tropical dream.”

Simply beautiful with a historic atmosphere. A once in a lifetime adventure! ~ Laura Roberts

Visit Dry Tortugas National Park by Seaplane or Ferry.

Yankee Freedom Ferry

Journey from Key West to the Dry Tortugas National Park & Fort Jefferson aboard the Yankee Freedom III Ferry!  This full-day excursion takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to get there, and you have over four hours to tour the fort, snorkel, and experience the beaches of the Dry Tortugas.  Find out more about the Yankee Freedom Ferry.

Key West Seaplane Adventures  – Offer half-day and full-day trips.

FYI this is the only seaplane service to Dry Tortugas National Park.  The half-day trip, just under 4 ½ hours, gives you at least 2 ½ hours of island time.  Travel time is about 40 minutes each way. The full-day trip is just under 8 hours provide you with over 6 ½ hours of exploration.   Charter flights are also available.  Find out more about Key West Seaplane Adventures.

Have you been to Dry Tortugas National Park?

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park

The beach at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park is one of the most talked-about places to visit for many reasons. While Todd and JenaRose have different reasons for adding Fort Zachary Taylor to the list, it is a must-see and do’s while visiting us in paradise.

Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, Key West sail boats in the background and palm trees at shore line.

Photo credit: @caribbeancastaways at Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, Key West.

If you are searching for a place to go and avoid the crowds, go here.  If you’re looking for a family-friendly place to visit, go here.  If you want to find the best places to watch the sunset, go here. Best beach, go here.

Fort Zach (as the locals call it) offers a unique beach experience and more. Take a tour of the Fort while you are there.

Learn more about Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park.

Who has the Best Key Lime Pie?

Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shoppe and Southernmost Beach Cafe

It’s another one of the most frequently asked questions, where can I find the best Key Lime Pie.  According to JenaRose and Todd, it’s at Southernmost Beach Cafe and Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe.


Local key lime pie shop with owner holding pie.

Photo credit: Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shoppe on Facebook.

One of the many things to add to your to-do list is to eat Key Lime pie.  A favorite place to eat and shop all things Key Lime is at Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shoppe.  You can find a variety of Key Lime treats here, including Key Lime Pie on a stick, pies and bars, salsa, cookies, jellies, oils, juices, and so much more.  Try the Key Lime pie or the chocolate covered Key Lime pie on a stick!  You’ll thank us!

Where to get all these Key Lime goodies? Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shoppe, your go-to for “All things Key Lime” and they have multiple locations – 200 Elizabeth Street also houses Kermit’s Kitchen Cafe, serving breakfast & lunch till 3 pm daily. You can also find another Kermit location at 431 Front Street behind Mallory Square.

Learn more about Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shoppe and find out what All Things Key Lime means!


Southernmost Beach Cafe Key Lime Pie with Oreo Cookie Crust

Southernmost Beach Cafe Key Lime Pie with Oreo Cookie Crust! Yes, Please!

Located right on South Beach, steps from our beach resort – oceanside on the Atlantic at the end of Duval,  is where you’ll find Southernmost Beach Cafe. What you’ll find is delicious, locally-inspired Key West cuisine, the freshest seafood, the most creative cocktails, and the BEST Key Lime pie, along with spectacular ocean views.

We love the Key Lime Pie and the delicious oreo cookie crust.  It’s a winner and one your palate will love.

Our small island is serving up big flavors.  Indulge in fabulous food and drinks and remember to save room for dessert, and tell us who has the best Key Lime pie.

Learn more about Southernmost Beach Cafe.

What’s that one place you tell everyone to visit?

Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square

We all have our favorites and that one place we think everyone should visit, and according to JenaRose, Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square is that place.  “It’s unique to the island; you’ll see a beautiful sunset and experience some talented street performers and local artists.”

Key West Sunset by the water with man walking on tight rope.

Photo credit: Rob O’Neal.

Best Place to Watch Sunset

Since we are talking about the sunset celebration, we know you’re wondering where the best place to watch the sunset is?  Both JenaRose and Todd agree, experience it from the deck of a boat, sunset cruise, or Mallory Square. Don’t forget Fort Zach is also a great place.

Learn more about Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square.

Favorite thing to do in Key West?

A day at the beach, boating, and spending time with loved ones.

Todd’s answer is what one might say the perfect day in paradise. “Relaxing and spending a day at Fort Zach!  Sometimes we’ll go in the morning, pack a picnic lunch, and stay until the sun goes down.”

Boat selfie of man and woman.

Get out on the water whenever possible or go to the beach. I try to take advantage of living on an island as much as I can to remind myself why I love it here.  ~ JenaRose

Recap on Staff Picks: Best of Key West

  • Eat + Drink – La Te Da and Santiago’s Bodega.
  • Avoid Crowds – Dry Tortugas and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park
  • Must See and Do – Experience Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square
  • Best Place to Watch Sunset – Sunset Cruise, Mallory Square, Beach at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park
    Best Key Lime Pie – Kermit’s Key Lime Pie Shoppe and Southernmost Beach Cafe

Explore, dream, and discover the best this island has to offer.  Whether it’s spending a day at the beach or on the water, you won’t be disappointed, and you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.

Thanks, JenaRose and Todd, for taking the time to share your favorites and the best of Key West with our readers.  #somolife