Margaritaville in Key West

Growing up a Jimmy Buffett fan, I’ve always tried to live my life in a Margaritaville state of mind…living a laidback lifestyle, taking everything in stride. The beauty of Margaritaville is that it can be anywhere you want it to be. So, it’s no surprise I was able to find my Margaritaville in Key West.

As a Parrothead, Key West is home to a lot of amazing places to see. Jimmy called this place his home for many years. Because of this, we decided to create our own Jimmy Buffett Key West walking tour. We went to every restaurant, bar and landmark Jimmy wrote about in his songs.

As a helpful guide, I read Jimmy Buffett, A Good Life All the Way by Ryan White. And, our hotel was only a block away from Duval Street, Caroline Street and Mallory Square, so conveniently everything on our self-made tour was within walking distance.

When we arrived in Key West, the first place we visited was the original Margaritaville restaurant and store. We couldn’t start our Key West vacation without going to Margaritaville, right?  The food, as usual, was phenomenal.  We loved every little detail that was inside the restaurant. 

The pictures of a young Jimmy, the channel markers on the wall and the small Key West details made the place feel like home.  As soon as I mentioned that I was a Margaritaville University Ambassador, the entire staff treated me like family.

Naturally, our next stop was the Margaritaville Key West Resort and Marina, where we had breakfast at Bistro 245.  Located right next to Key West Harbor, we had the perfect view of the water.

Later on, we headed to Captain Tony’s, mentioned in Jimmy’s song Last Mango in Paris. Next, we found ourselves in front of Jimmy’s Key West studio! The unmarked location is hidden in plain sight, so it’s easy to find if you know what you are looking for.

When in Key West, seeing the Southern Most Point of the U.S. is also a must. It also happens to be walking distance to Louie’s Backyard!  Mentioned in Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season, Louie’s is the perfect spot to sit out on the patio watching the waves roll in. 

We ended the day watching the sunset in Mallory Square (located right next to the Margaritaville Key West Resort and Marina), where Jimmy used to play to the crowds that would gather.

Our other days in Key West were spent snorkeling in the Gulf of Mexico, touring Ernest Hemingway’s house and a day trip to the Dry Tortugas.  There’s so much rich history in Key West that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

My family and I visited for a week and still didn’t have enough time to do everything we had planned! My advice when visiting Key West would be to plan out your days ahead of time so you can squeeze in everything accordingly. Don’t forget to plan some relaxation time too! Whether you’re watching the sunset or visiting all the sites, Key West holds a natural Margaritaville state of mind and I hope you can find yours too! Fins Up!

Jordan O’Neal is a Margaritaville college ambassador at Clemson University. Learn more about Margaritaville University here.

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