Healthy Travel Guide: Key West

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC


Key West is a super fun, quirky beach vacation destination, but with a pretty dominant party/drinking/fried food scene, having a healthy stay can be a bit of a challenge.

Our quest for healthier food options (or even a decent salad) took us off the beaten path and into some surprisingly awesome restaurants and even a few adorable health food stores. Our craving for a bit more of a mindful vacation gave way to some great yoga classes and a luxurious Ayurvedic spa experience. And our thirst for adventure yielded some unexpectedly fun times.

Below, our top picks for super fun and healthy Key West vacation.

Key West Healthy Travel Tip: rent a bike at one of the many rental spots around town for the best way to explore the island, while burning off that key lime pie!

Where to Eat

Organic-Beauty-Key-West-Travel-GuideHelp Yourself Organic Market
829 Fleming St
This little healthy oasis is the perfect spot to stock up on essentials you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere (other than Sugar Apple) — health food store staples like healthy snacks, nut milks, kombucha, and even some natural beauty staples can be found here, as well as some delicious made-to-order vegan and mostly raw meals. Make sure to try the “TLT” — tempeh, lettuce and tomato wrap, the killer salads, and the raw vegan cheesecake.

The Sugar Apple
917 Simonton St
A perfect pit stop to stock up on supplements, tinctures, and herbs, as well as vegan snacks, fresh green juices or smoothies.

Louie’s Backyard and Upper Deck
700 Waddell Ave
Housed in a beautiful waterfront mansion, with unparalleled views of the water, this little gem is great for locally sourced, inventive dishes and small plates. Watch the sunset on the Upper Deck over an heirloom tomato and eggplant salad and charred octopus and Key West pink shrimp cazuela, or head down to the backyard for the daily catch, prepared with elegant simplicity.

Cafe Moka
1211 Duvall St
This sweet little coffee shop serves the best coffee we found on the island, and they have non-dairy milk!

223 Petronia St
New southern cuisine in a super cute space, where both the food and atmosphere reminded us of our fave restaurants in home sweet Brooklyn. Though the meaty menu doesn’t have tons of healthy options, they have great salads (including the only kale salad we saw all week) and deliciously inventive wine and beer-based cocktails. Try the kale and arugula salad with sautéed shrimp and the delectable biscuits with fresh gooseberry jam.

Flaming Buoy Filet Co.
1100 Packer St
Quite possibly one of the yummiest, cutest and most fun of all the restaurants on the island, The Flaming Buoy’s inventive menu and serious wine list has been written up in the New York Times, Frommers, and countless travel guides… and with good reason! Try the heirloom tomato caprese, green curry, or daily fresh catch. Though there aren’t many vegetarian items on the menu, they’ll adjust dishes to suit your needs. Plus, the owners and wait staff are some of the coolest people in town.

Cafe Sole
1029 Southard St
This quirky, Provence-style French joint showcases simple, delicious local seafood without any stuffy Francophile pretension. The local hogfish was quite possibly the most delicious fish we’ve ever tasted, the local lobster was delish, and the conch carpaccio was delicate and understated. For a little bit of decadence, share a slice of their key lime pie, which was one of our favorites on the island.

Where to Get Centered

Organic-Beauty-Key-West-Travel-GuideYoga on the Beach at Southernmost Hotel
Sat / Tues / Thurs at 9am
Get your zen on with a beautiful view of the ocean and a good blend of hatha and vinyasa classes right on the beach. A perfect way to start the day.

Yoga Sanctuary
1130 Duvall St – Daily classes
Located on the quiet end of Duvall Street, this great little studio offers many different daily classes to suit all tastes and styles.

Lazy Dog Paddle Board Yoga
Perfect for honing balance and stability, paddle board yoga on the calm clear water is super challenging and extra zen.

Where to Get Beautiful

Organic-Beauty-Key-West-Travel-GuidePrana Spa
625 Whitehead St
With super affordable treatments and awesome add-on’s like coconut body scrubs and shirodhara Ayurvedic oil treatments, this peaceful little spa is the perfect place to get massaged, pampered and beautified.

Purely Paradise
1108 A Duvall St.
We were so thrilled to discover this little natural beauty shop on Duvall St, where all the lovely, all-natural bath and beauty products are made in-house by a wonderful mother-daughter duo. She formulates simple, effective beauty staples without any chemicals, mineral oils, or additives — all scented with delicious tropical essences. We are obsessed with the natural deodorant that kept us dry through those 100-degree, humid days, formulated with enzymes that turn sweat into salt that immediately evaporates into the air. Also try the rooibus-infused eye serum and yummy sugar scrubs!

Where to Get HistoricalOrganic-Beauty-Key-West-Travel-Guide

The Hemingway House and Museum
907 Whitehead St
Visit the famous author’s home where he wrote the majority of his oeuvre, and hear tales of his crazy life while perusing the beautiful grounds and making friends with the 50+, multi-toed Hemingway cats that live there.

Organic-Beauty-Key-West-Travel-GuideThe Little White House and Truman Annex
111 Front St
Biking around this beautiful little enclave makes you feel like you’ve steps into the pages of Southern Living magazine. If it’s your thing, you can get a tour of the Little White House, where many presidents hung out, but we were more into exploring the little micro parks and ogling the beautiful architecture.

Ghosts and Gravestones Tour
501 Front St
Totally camp-tastic and goofy, this nighttime trolley tour gives you a peek into the more sordid and supernatural underbelly of this bizarre little town. Plus, you get to meet Robert the Doll, a creepy possessed toy that’s housed in a glass box in the middle of a purportedly haunted old fort.

Where to Adventure

Mellow Ventures
These guys provide a much needed alternative to the slightly boozy and fratty scene that dominates many of the island’s excursions. You can create a custom adventure with snorkeling, dolphin watching, paddle boarding, fishing, and/or private island hopping with a more chilled out vibe.

Organic-Beauty-Key-West-Travel-GuideJet Ski Tours
Fury or Hydro Thunder
Though I was initially dubious of this particular activity, the 60-90 minute jet ski tours around the island and out into the open waters was an absolute blast. Gliding over the smooth, clear water; exploring the surrounding islands and preserves; finding ourselves on beautiful sand bars far from shore, and stopping for swims in the warm ocean was the perfect blend of adrenaline and calm.

Organic-Beauty-Key-West-Travel-GuideDeep Sea Fishing
Captain Conch
Again, I wasn’t sold on this Hemingway-esque pastime, but there is definitely something exhilarating about catching a huge mahi mahi or snapper, bringing it to a beachside cafe, and having them grill up your catch for the ultimate ocean-to-table lunch. Now if only I didn’t get super sea sick….

Organic-Beauty-Key-West-Travel-GuideThe Butterfly Conservatory
1316 Duvall St
Ok, ok, I know this doesn’t sound like much of an adventure, but the is something both amazing and terrifying about being in a glass dome surrounded by thousands of beautiful butterflies and birds, flying at, on and around you. I spent the entire time screeching with glee (and fear) as enormous Blue Morpho darted at me from all angles. It was a total blast.

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