3/9/2020 0 Comments
#56) Shell World ~ Key Largo
You can’t pass GO without collecting $200 - and you can’t pass through Key Largo without collecting some shells - at Shell World.
Located @ 97600 Overseas Highway in Key Largo, Florida, Shell World - to me - is the single best souvenir shop in all of the beautiful Keys.
While everyone’s driving to get further and further south, I passionately believe it’s also always a good idea to stop while enroute. And that stop can be a small and very brief break, or it can be a much longer one. It can be a lunch outing, an overnight, or something, somewhere in between. But either way, on our travels we always take a break. Get some lunch. Or I’ll do some stretches, and I always get my steps in. I may get a coffee. Or, better yet, I’ll do some good old fashioned shopping… browsing, souvenir hunting. And when shopping is classified as better than coffee, for me, that’s a good store indeed.
On our first trip to the Keys a few years back, we already knew about Shell World and that we were most definitely going to be making a stop there. My mother-in-law had told us about the place, and she had also brought us back a sea urchin from her visit there, which I now have sitting front and center atop my white, antique dresser in my bedroom.
And since our first visit to the store, Shell World has moved locations. They’re now situated in the center medium on the Overseas Highway. Their former location had them placed in the Southbound lanes of the highway - meaning all northbound drivers had to cross over to get to the store. Now, travelers going both north and south bound can access Shell World with equal and greater ease.
Don’t let its looks deceive you either. Shell World is huge. Housed in a simple and brightly painted building, once inside, it’s a shopper's paradise. I walked and I walked, and I browsed and I browsed. The store just kept going. I’d say allow at least twenty minutes to a half hour inside Shell World - if you love shopping as much as I do. But I’m pretty confident I might have been inside there even a tad longer than that.
You’ll feast your eyes on every type of sea shell you can possibly imagine. Coral, starfish, shark teeth, sand dollars, shells in their natural state and shells that have been painted or otherwise decorated in some fashion, sea urchins, sea glass… the list can go on.
And that’s just the shells themselves. Shell World is not just one room - it is many, many rooms, all connected in one large building. You can walk and walk, and not see the same thing twice. After checking out all the shells, there are then the typical touristy souvenirs such as tees, sweatshirts and hoodies, bathing suits, flip flops, beach towels and other gear for days in the sun, baseball caps and sun hats.
And I really loved checking out all the jewelry. I spent way too long browsing through it all, and I think the jewelry sucked up most of my time in the store. I’m actually not very sure how I passed it all up - in order to buy a tank top and some shells from the world - apparently the shells were more important to me.
I also purchased a piece of red coral, which was on both my “definitely” and “must buy” lists. And I was really happy with the very comfy and lightweight tank I picked out as well. I then snagged a few postcards, stickers, and a few other unique shells and other finds. All items added up, I spent a total of $57.18 at Shell World. And honestly, I did not even feel too overcharged, only just a bit overcharged, in a place that could easily sell at even much higher prices to brief encounters with endless tourists.
And now that Shell World has officially become a Keys tradition for me, I will most definitely be going back on my next adventure to Key Largo. Whether I’m just once again quickly passing through the island, I will, at a minimum, be utilizing Shell World to get out of the car, do some browsing, and to stretch my legs. And if I’m once again spending the night on Key Largo, I’ll still stop and do the same. I’d highly recommend stopping in while you’re traveling the Overseas Highway. If you love shopping, you’ll be in a shoppers paradise, while you’re also, literally, in paradise. ~
Have you been to Shell World in Key Largo, Florida? I’d love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Hey - you, over there - feel free to check out these other stories about my Floridian travels, right here. And don’t forget to sign up to be a Sunshine Subscriber while you’re at it, y’all:
13] 2 Pro’s & 2 Cons About My 2 Night Stay - In Celebration, FL
18] Sea & Sky Jax Weekend ~ Fun In The Florida Sun, Sea, Sky & Sand
24] In Real Life ~ My First Visit To A Southern Living Idea House
29] Dinner & A Show ~ The 26th Annual St. Augustine Nights of Lights
40] Visiting The Florida Cracker Kitchen ~ Jacksonville
42] Where Does The Chicken Cross The Road?
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
46] Key Largo, Montego, Baby Why Don’t We Go?
52] Keeping Cool - And Creamy ~ In Key West
I have always, always loved that song. The first time I stepped foot on Key Largo, I had that gosh darn song stuck in my head long after my short visit had concluded.
So why don’t we go to Key Largo, y’all?
Take my hand and right there we’ll be.
During my recent travels driving on down to the Florida Keys, we were lucky enough to have one, single, solitary, quick night to spend on the small island mentioned in that classic Beach Boys song.
I had been once in the past - to Key Largo - not Kokomo. However, my visit was merely for a short lunch break on our drive down toward that last Key on the map. You could say that my visit to Key Largo was a “If-You-Blink-You-Miss-It” type of visit.
So I obviously didn't have much time at all on the island to speak of… But during that short experience a few years back, Key Largo was so very intriguing enough to me that I knew we needed to come back. And I knew I wanted at least an overnight on the island.
I thought… If I couldn't stay forever, I’d at least need that.
So, we booked one night at the Hampton Inn Key Largo. Located at 102400 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037. Its location is right in the middle of it all; in the middle of everything that is Key Largo. If merely because Key Largo is so small that, to me, anywhere in Key Largo is everywhere in Key Largo.
We reserved a standard king with a balcony and pool view. Our total cost was zero dollars for this stay, as we used Hilton Honors points for the entire cost, taxes, all associated fees, etc.
And let me just say, if you are not a Hilton Honors member, and you love to travel, go get yourself a Hilton Honors Membership - pronto. Like - you know, stop reading this. And go sign up my dears.
Why? You may ask me…
For the simple reason that a completely free membership will bring things into your life like the example I just named above… A free night stay in Key Largo. No darn, yucky, gunchy, stringy, strings attached. Yep, it’s that easy.
And I NEVER pay for memberships that provide rewards. I believe in making my own money work FOR me, not the other way around. Once I’ve already earned the money, why do I need to spend it again to get the benefit of something. It’s kinda like how Suzy Orman taught me a very long time ago… You know. Like on a cold winter's day back in 1987, and the snow was falling, and I had to walk uphill to school both ways… with no buses even running then... she said to me,
“Don’t pay for memberships, my dear child.”
Well, scratch that. She might not have told me that personally. Actually, she might have never even said those exact words... But in my mind she did, and in my mind she taught me that. In my head I hear her voice when it comes to spending. Because she helped teach me about responsible finances, spending, and saving too. And I do think of Suzy Orman every time I think of memberships.
So folks, you see… Why pay to have your money work for you? When you can work your money yourself?
Here’s an example: I have the Disney Visa. But I don’t have the Platinum-Gold-Shiny-Heavy-Carved-Straight-From-A-Diamond-Mine-Disney-Visa that costs $50.00 a year plus. I have the free version. And all I have to do is swipe it and my money works for me on both ends.
And as I now tend to travel outside of the Disney gated kingdoms more so than within, I also have Hilton Honors, because it’s free as well. And just by swiping at the grocer each week, and for clothes and gas etc. etc. my money paid out is earning me stays. Stays that are easy to book, without blackouts and fine print that you would need a magnifying glass and a law degree to interpret. Get Hilton Honors, and honor yourself with vacations. Or any free hotel reward program - there are quite a few to choose from.
So there you have it. Swipe and earn, my friends. Swipe and earn.
Our room was just perfect for a Hampton Inn stay. I’m a huge fan of Hamptons all around and have been to countless of their locations.
I suppose I’d say that while I’ve never been to THE Hamptons, I’ve been to plenty of OTHER Hamptons.
I actually couldn’t count my stays in Hampton Inns if my life depended on it. But let’s just say that this hotel room was as nice as all the rest of those ‘other’ Hamptons or even more so. I’m kinda biased because of the view we had:
The room was clean. The bathroom was spacious. There were lots of towels and toiletries. But mostly there were the cups. The famous moustache cups.
Dear Hampton Inn:
Would you please make note to never discontinue your moustache cups? I love them. I need them in my life. They make me smile.
Thank you kindly,
Nice shutters with lighting behind delicately lit the room. And there was an extra comfy chair in the corner, as well as a desk to work upon. For all that work one has to do while on vacation in Key Largo, you know.
And speaking of work, our Shetland Sheepdog was along for the journey. And prior to our arrival at this hotel, she had been working hard all day in the fields, rounding up the sheep of her namesake. So when we got to our room she was a very tired little doggie.
*Fine print = PET FRIENDLY!!
Yes, the Hampton Inn Key Largo is currently pet friendly. I say that with some real and serious fine print though. Always double check when making your reservation if you are bringing a pet along. Because with lots of those hotel stays in all brands of hotels, it has been my experience that pet policies change quite regularly.
It’s almost as if like… um, one day hotels are pet friendly and one day they are not. And then one day they are again, and one day they are not. Like - pet policies change as often as hotels change out the bedding. And that is not a good thing either way you slice it.
So I highly recommend always double-checking the pet policy before you travel. Even if it means picking up a cell phone and doing the actual manual labor of typing the hotel phone number into your phone and calling that hotel. Speak with someone at the front desk. Verify they accept pets. End phone call. Or get an email from the establishment confirming prior to travel. End of manual labor.
So the good news was that this hotel was pet friendly from booking through the end of our stay. But if you’d like to stay here, I do highly recommend a quick phone call to confirm while booking. Things change quickly in the hotel business. Very quickly.
So like I said, after our Shetland Sheepdog was done rounding up all those countless sheep throughout the day, she was very happy to be snuggled inside a hotel room that welcomed her species at their establishment, and she promptly fell right asleep looking out the big window, gazing toward that vast Key landscape. I’d say she had a diligent and good night's sleep that night. As good of a rest as we humans did, in fact.
The beds were very comfy. The Hampton’s of Hampton Inn are not cutting any corners and cheapening up the bedding, at all, and it is much appreciated and noticed by frequent travelers. The blankets are thick, I’m not too cold because they actually give you more than a thin sheet and something that is supposed to resemble a blanket. And the bed is soft. And I’m very partial about my own bed so I say that with extreme pickiness in mind and as a great compliment to the hotel.
The room was quiet. We were on the second floor balcony brought up by elevator, with a view the stuff dreams are made of. Needless to say, our little fluffy creature had a great time, and so did we.
Free breakfast of croissants and muffins and fruit and coffee the next morning before checkout. Tiki bar out back. And yes, my first very real, in Mother Nature, sighting of a manatee out the back door beach area of the hotel.
Steps from my room, manatees were just hanging around. I honestly thought seeing that was one of those lifetime experiences I will always cherish. As an animal lover, and lover of animals living out their lives in their natural habitat and not behind chains and fences and walls and tanks if at all possible, it was very special for me to see these magical creatures just doing what they do…. chillin out... in the Keys. Floating on by. A way of life so innocent and special and cherished, and I was very blessed to meet them.
So, overall our stay was fabulous. Even if I was paying the rack rate, I would definitely stay here again. I absolutely and 100% highly recommend the Hampton Inn Key Largo.
Whether you’re on your way to Montego, and just stopping in to say Hey along the way. Onward to Key West for more fun in the sun. Or making your entire vacation on the island of Key Largo itself. Definitely consider this hotel. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
So we swiped away
Till we got away.
We got there fast.
And then we took it slow.
I watched my tropical drink melting in my hands
As my furry baby barked at manatees while sitting in the sand.
Then we put out to sea, as we perfected our chemistry.
We said goodbye. With a great big sigh.
We headed on down to the Southernmost Point
And checked into our next cool joint.
Baby, why don't we go?~
Have you been to Key Largo? Have you been to an island named in a song? I’d love to know - let me know in the comments down below:
Check out more of my Floridian Dreams right here:
13] 2 Pro’s & 2 Cons About My 2 Night Stay ~ In Celebration, FL
18] Sea & Sky Jax Weekend ~ Fun In The Florida Sun, Sea, Sky & Sand
22] Saturday On San Pablo Island
24] In Real Life ~ My First To A Southern Living Idea House
42] Where Does The Chicken Cross The Road?
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
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