Photo by Mercedea / Flickr
Miami is paradise, but it's a traffic-gridlocked one. If you're looking for a weekend getaway, you're probably hoping to escape precisely that traffic — and fast. On a good day (i.e., no accidents on Overseas Highway), you can get to Key West in about three and a half hours. Many hotels offer a Florida resident discount, and if you have a medium-to-high tolerance for sweat, you can take advantage of summertime deals, when a decent room goes for around $100 a night. Start your day with a Cuban breakfast sandwich at the Cuban Coffee Queen ($7) or a huevos and chorizo breakfast burrito at Bad Boy Burrito ($11). When you need a midday break from the sun, head to the Porch, a craft beer spot that's one of the island's few indoor, air-conditioned bars, or the Butterfly & Nature Conservatory (general admission costs $12, and discounted rates are available for children and seniors). Sunsets at Mallory Square are a must, as are late-night cafecitos to break up your Duval Street bar crawl. (You can find one on almost any corner.) And don't leave the Conch Republic without at least one trip to Captain Tony's, supposedly one of the oldest bars in Florida. The beers are cold, the bartenders are zippy, and there's always someone playing guitar in the corner.