Known as the birthplace of the key lime pie, Key West beckons and will not disappoint. The beaches, glorious ocean waters, and shopping galore draw RVers to the islands every year. The Key Lime Festival is sure to please those who love citrus fruits and sweet dishes.
The celebration focuses not just on the pie made famous by the lime but also highlights cocktails, a scavenger hunt, and a beach brunch. Of course, every event features this flavorful combination of tastes, and one of the main attractions of the festival is the renowned key lime pie eating contest. Eating a 9” pie in record time is the goal. No hands allowed, and the entire pie must be devoured.
If sipping a coffee and savoring the pie slice is more your style, then attend the talk on the history of the pie and take as long as you like to eat your piece. Take a class to learn how to bake your own delicious pie with an age-old recipe. Visit the 1869 mansion where this delectable dish was invented and buy a signed cookbook.
Go on the Key Lime Scavenger hunt and explore the sights of this captivating place. Watch key lime pies being dropped from a lighthouse, all with the aim of not damaging or destroying the pie in any way.
Prices will vary from event to event for the Key Lime Festival. For example, the cocktail sip and stroll will be around $30, while the pie eating contest is $20 to enter, but no cost to watch. Many of the festival happenings are free, such as the fireworks picnic, one of the highlights of the weekend. To verify the prices, visit www.keylimefestival.com.
You will be heading toward the southernmost point of the continental United States when driving to Key West where the festival is held. Many events take place beachfront, which makes for a warm and sunny vacation. The fun is in the center of town, so set the GPS for your first stop and don’t hesitate to ask directions.
Motorists will cross several bridges along highway US-1 heading to the festival sites. Some events will be situated with different addresses on Key West, so be sure to note the specific locations for the events that you choose first to help orient you upon arrival.
The streets of Key West can be tight to navigate in a big rig. You will want to make decisions ahead of each festival event. Finding parking could be a challenge; it may be best to have a smaller vehicle in tow for ease of travel or plan on parking further out of town and transiting into the area.
Key West Transit may come in handy if you decide to go that route. With reasonable fares and a good schedule, this popular mode of travel offers a stress-free ride about town. Additionally, taxi and ridesharing services will deliver you door to door from one festival event to the next.
There are camping resorts within town limits, and they offer beautiful beachside spots to set up your RV. The venue itself does not have an onsite option, but camping close to downtown allows you easy access to the Key Lime Festival.
Full hookup sites, launches for boats, opportunities for snorkeling, and proximity to hiking and trekking are just a few of the amenities available within minutes of the Key Lime Festival. If you want to venture further out, immaculate campgrounds offer shady private sites. Campers can park in a marina campground or set up camp lakeside under a palm tree and close to a pool. On your way to or from this culinary delight, you may also enjoy a trip to Everglades National Park since you can't miss it en route.
Wear comfortable shoes for walking around town as you make stops in between key lime culinary events. The walk will be a few blocks either direction. If you have children, you may want to bring along the stroller for easy transport if they are tired at any point during the day. It may be hot, necessitating breaks in the shade as you stroll along.
Light and airy clothing is ideal Florida apparel, especially in the southernmost areas of the state. Fun and floppy hats for everyone are a must. The ears, cheeks, and nose will feel the sun’s strong rays otherwise. For the campground, shorts and bathing suits will most likely be the main components of your wardrobe.
A vacation in a hot and sunny zone calls for a campsite equipped for ways to keep cool. Keep the shades down in the RV all day as a way to block the heat. Set up your outdoor shade spot with an awning. Have a big cooler outside full of ice and cold drinks so the kids don’t go in and out of the camper all day long, letting the heat inside. Lawn chairs are a must for relaxing by the water’s edge. For the festival, make sure everyone is toting a refillable water bottle.
Keep an eye on the kiddos to ensure they are staying hydrated at the festival, beach, or campground. Sunscreen is an essential part of staying safe and healthy. A Florida sunburn can be very unforgiving and painful, so don’t allow anyone to become a victim of the heat or sun. Hydration is critical all vacation long.
Florida is hot, so keep the meals cool. Smoothies, guacamole and cold sliced chicken, and wraps containing cold shrimp and veggies are all delicious satisfying meals after a day of walking around town. Yogurt parfaits are perfect for breakfast, as are fruit bowls and cinnamon toast. Adhere to restrictions on fires and outdoor cooking if you do feel like a steak or the kids are begging for s’mores.
Seafood will be the number one dish on the menu, but if that is not to your liking, opt for pork sandwiches, veggies and tofu, tamales, pizza, or jerk chicken. The abundance of flavors and the variety of offerings are endless. For dessert? Key lime pie, of course, or maybe a jelly donut.
A trip to the Key Lime Festival wouldn’t be complete without a festival tee, free with registration to certain events. The town is also full of nifty shops for souvenirs and trinkets that showcase the Florida Keys. The shops will sell you ornaments made of shells, key chains, sunglasses, hats, stuffed plush turtles for the kids; it’s all there and waiting to be enjoyed.
The local police force will patrol on foot, by motorcycle, and in cars. They will keep the order and ensure that locals and visitors to the town are safe and enjoying the festival. The drinking age is 21, and ID must be shown to partake in events like the rum sampling distillery tour or the sip and stroll.
Days will be gloriously hot, so enjoy every minute. Make breaks in air-conditioned stores part of your daily festival experience. The shopping is plentiful in the Keys and it makes sense to take advantage of the cool air and the bargains, too. Humidity is always a factor here so if shopping for vacation clothing, keep it light. Rain can easily pass through at a moment’s notice. Have fun and colorful umbrellas for the kids to enjoy when a shower shows up.
A concern when travelers are not used to high heat and humidity is heat stroke. Insist that all family members carry a water bottle to hydrate often. Top up the first aid kit with pain relief, aloe vera gel, and soothing ointments. Make sure that no medicines are forgotten when packing by putting them at the top of the prep list. Even in this island environment, medical and pharmacy options are situated within a 10 to 15-minute drive from the main event locations.