Key West Area Florida Travel Guide
Key West Area Florida
Key West is an island city located in the Florida Keys, a chain of islands stretching approximately 120 miles off the southern coast of Florida. Key West is the southernmost point in the continental United States and is only 90 miles from Cuba. The city is known for its tropical island lifestyle, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife.
Key West is a beautiful island city located in the Florida Keys. There are many things to see and do in Key West, from exploring the historic sites to enjoying the island life. Here are some of the must-see attractions in Key West:
Mallory Square is a popular gathering place for tourists and locals alike. It is famous for its stunning sunsets and street performers, who put on a show every evening. One of the main draws of Mallory Square is the daily Sunset Celebration. Every evening, as the sun begins to set over the Gulf of Mexico, street performers and vendors gather in the square to put on a show. Musicians, magicians, acrobats, and other performers entertain the crowds with their skills and talents, while vendors sell food, drinks, and souvenirs.
In addition to the Sunset Celebration, Mallory Square is also home to a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops. Visitors can enjoy fresh seafood, Caribbean cuisine, and other local specialties while taking in the beautiful views of the ocean and the surrounding islands. There are also many shops selling souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, and art galleries featuring the work of local artists.
Duval Street is the heart of Key West's historic district and one of the most famous streets in the United States. It runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean and is lined with historic buildings, shops, bars, and restaurants. Duval Street is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Key West, Florida, from art galleries and museums to unique boutiques and souvenir shops.
Visitors can also find a wide variety of restaurants, from casual seafood shacks to upscale dining establishments. Key West is known for its fresh seafood, and Duval Street is the perfect place to sample some of the local favorites, such as conch fritters and Key Lime pie. Duval Street is also known for its lively nightlife. The street is home to numerous bars and nightclubs, many of which feature live music and entertainment. One of the most famous bars on Duval Street is Sloppy Joe's, which was a favorite hangout of Ernest Hemingway. Other popular spots include the Green Parrot Bar, the Bull and Whistle Bar, and the Hog's Breath Saloon.
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum:
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a historic landmark located in the heart of Old Town Key West, Florida. The home was once the residence of the famous American author Ernest Hemingway and is now a museum open to the public for tours.
The Hemingway Home was built in 1851 by Asa Tift, a prominent businessman in Key West at the time. Hemingway and his wife, Pauline, purchased the home in 1931 for $8,000, and it became the couple's primary residence for the next ten years. During this time, Hemingway wrote many of his most famous works, including "A Farewell to Arms," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro."
Today, visitors can tour the Hemingway Home and Museum and see where the author lived and worked during his time in Key West. The house is a beautiful example of Spanish Colonial-style architecture, with high ceilings, arched doorways, and a large wrap-around veranda. The property is also home to a lush tropical garden filled with exotic plants and trees.
One of the most interesting features of the Hemingway Home is the six-toed cats that roam the property. Hemingway was a cat lover, and he acquired a six-toed cat from a ship's captain in the 1930s. The cat, named Snow White, became the ancestor of a colony of six-toed cats that still live on the property today. The cats are now one of the most popular attractions at the museum, and visitors can see them lounging around the house and gardens. The Hemingway Home and Museum also feature a gift shop, where visitors can purchase books, souvenirs, and other items related to Hemingway and his works. The museum hosts special events throughout the year, including literary conferences, lectures, and book signings.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory:
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is a beautiful indoor tropical paradise located in the heart of Key West, Florida. The conservatory is home to hundreds of species of butterflies and birds, as well as exotic plants and flowers, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers.
The conservatory is housed in a glass-enclosed habitat that spans over 5,000 square feet. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and watch as the butterflies flit around them. The butterflies come from all over the world, and visitors can see a variety of species, including the Blue Morpho, the Zebra Longwing, and the Owl Butterfly. In addition to the butterflies, the conservatory is also home to a variety of birds, including finches, canaries, and quail. Visitors can watch as the birds flit from tree to tree, and listen to their beautiful songs.
Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters Museum:
The Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters Museum is a historic landmark located in the heart of Old Town Key West, Florida. The lighthouse was originally built in 1825 to guide ships through the dangerous waters of the Florida Keys, and the Keeper's Quarters was added in 1887.
Today, the lighthouse and keeper's quarters are open to the public as a museum, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the lighthouse and the keepers who maintained it. Visitors can climb the 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse for breathtaking views of Key West and the surrounding ocean. The museum features artifacts and memorabilia from the early days of the lighthouse, as well as information about the technology and techniques used to keep the light shining. One of the most interesting exhibits in the museum is a collection of photographs and stories about the keepers who worked at the lighthouse over the years. In addition to the exhibits, the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters Museum also features a gift shop, where visitors can purchase souvenirs and gifts related to the lighthouse and Key West history.
Southernmost Point Buoy:
The Southernmost Point Buoy is one of the most famous landmarks in Key West, Florida. Located at the southern end of the island, just a few miles from Cuba, the buoy marks the southernmost point in the continental United States.
The buoy is a concrete structure painted with bright colors and marked with the words "Southernmost Point Continental U.S.A. 90 Miles to Cuba". It has become an iconic symbol of Key West and is a popular spot for tourists to take photos. HOME OF THE SUNSET!
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park:
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is a popular destination in Key West, Florida, known for its beautiful beaches, historic fort, and natural beauty. Located at the southern end of the island, the park is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, picnicking, and exploring.
The park is home to a historic fort, which was constructed in the mid-1800s to protect the coastline of Key West during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Today, visitors can tour the fort and learn about its history through exhibits and guided tours. The main beach at the park is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing, with crystal clear waters and soft, white sand. The beach is also a popular spot for snorkeling, with coral reefs and a variety of marine life just offshore.
Key West Cemetery:
The Key West Cemetery is a unique and historic destination in Key West, Florida. Established in 1847, the cemetery is the final resting place for many of Key West's early settlers and prominent figures, including sailors, soldiers, and local residents. The cemetery is filled with ornate gravestones, monuments, and crypts, many of which feature humorous and irreverent epitaphs. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the cemetery, exploring the historic gravesites and enjoying the unique ambiance of the area. One of the most popular sites in the cemetery is the grave of a local resident named B.P. "Pearl" Roberts. Her grave is marked with a large monument featuring an inscription that reads, "I Told You I Was Sick." This epitaph has become a popular and somewhat irreverent tourist attraction.
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum:
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is a fascinating museum located in Key West, Florida, dedicated to the history and archaeology of shipwrecks and underwater exploration. The museum is named after Mel Fisher, a famous treasure hunter who discovered the wreck of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha off the coast of Key West in 1985.
The museum features a wide range of exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays that highlight the history and culture of shipwrecks and underwater exploration. Visitors can learn about the techniques used by early explorers to navigate the seas, the importance of trade and commerce, and the dangers of life on board a ship.
The museum also features exhibits on the history of piracy in the Caribbean, including the exploits of famous pirates such as Blackbeard and Anne Bonny. Visitors can learn about the tactics used by pirates to capture and loot ships, and the harsh living conditions on board a pirate ship.
Truman Little White House:
The Truman Little White House is a historic landmark located in Key West, Florida. During the presidency of President Harry S. Truman, It served as the winter White House. Today, the Truman Little White House is a popular tourist attraction that offers a glimpse into the history and politics of the mid-20th century. The house was originally built in 1890 as the officer's quarters for the naval station in Key West. It was later used as a residence for several U.S. presidents, including William Howard Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy. However, it is most closely associated with Truman, who spent more than 175 days of his presidency at the house.
Visitors to the Truman Little White House can take guided tours of the property, which includes the original furnishings and decor from Truman's time. The house has been preserved as it was during Truman's presidency, giving visitors a unique and authentic look at life in the mid-20th century. In addition to the main house, the Truman Little White House also features a number of other historic buildings and attractions. These include a museum dedicated to the history of the house and its residents, as well as a gift shop and bookstore.
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Go on a Sunset Sail:
The Key West area is known for its stunning sunsets, and what better way to enjoy them than on a sunset sail? Many local companies offer sunset sailing tours, where you can relax and take in the breath-taking views.
Take a Snorkelling Tour:
The crystal-clear waters around Key West are perfect for snorkeling, and there are plenty of tour operators that offer snorkeling trips to the nearby reefs. You'll have the opportunity to see a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even the occasional dolphin.
Go on a Bike Tour:
Key West is a great place to explore by bike, and there are several companies that offer guided bike tours of the area. You'll get some exercise while also seeing the sights and learning about Key West's history and culture.
Key West is also known for its vibrant nightlife. The city is home to many bars, restaurants, and clubs, and there is always something happening after dark. One of the most popular spots for nightlife is Duval Street, a lively street lined with bars and clubs.
For those looking for live music, the Green Parrot Bar is a must-see. The bar features live music every night of the week and is a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
Key West is known for its delicious seafood, and there are many great restaurants in the city to enjoy it. One of the most popular is the Conch Republic Seafood Company, which serves fresh seafood in a beautiful waterfront setting.
For those looking for something a little different, the Blue Heaven restaurant is a must-visit. The restaurant is located in a historic building and serves a mix of Caribbean and Southern-style cuisine.
Key West is also a great place to shop, with many unique stores and boutiques. One of the most popular areas for shopping is Duval Street, which is lined with shops selling everything from clothing to souvenirs. For those looking for something truly unique, the Key West Artisan Market is a must-visit. The market features local artisans selling their handmade goods, including jewelry, artwork, and home decor.
Key West is a beautiful city with a rich history and a vibrant culture. Whether you're looking to explore the historic sites, enjoy the beautiful beaches, or experience the lively.
The history of Key West dates back to the early 1800s, when it was first discovered by Spanish explorers. In the early 1820s, a naval base was established on the island, and the city began to grow as a result of the increased economic activity. By the mid-19th century, Key West had become a major center of the cigar-making industry, with thousands of workers employed in the factories.
During the Civil War, Key West remained under Union control and served as an important base for the blockade of the Confederate states. After the war, the city continued to grow, and by the early 20th century, it had become a popular tourist destination.