As the largest island in Florida (4 miles long, 2 miles wide), Key West is famous for being the residence and occasional inspiration for notable writers Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams while boasting some of the most fetching old American architecture. Early settlers farmed key limes while later inhabitants salvaged cargo sunk on nearby reefs.
Lovers of the outdoors will find gorgeous golden-sand beaches, a Botanical Forest & Garden and Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. Enjoy a vast array of water sports-from snorkeling to parasailing-just as easily as a fresh-air hike. Apart from its natural wonders, Key West offers a host of theaters and a thriving artist community at the Studios of Key West.
Places to Explore
- Key West Shipwreck Historeum Museum
Movies, laser technology and a plethora of artifacts tell the fascinating story of the age-old scalawags. Wander this fascinating museum and climb the 60-foot tower to snap a picture of the distant white sands.
- Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square
Take in the spectacular sunset while enjoying carnival performers, local artisans and scrumptious snacks.
- Southernmost Point
Stand at the southernmost point of the continental United States. Be sure to bring your camera to take pictures with the signs marking the significant point. There, you're only 90 miles from Cuba!
- Harry S. Truman Little White House
This late 19th-century house is the only Presidential Museum in the State of Florida.
- Key West Lighthouse Museum
The museum documents the fascinating history of the 92-foot lighthouse, built in 1847. After your tour, scale its heights to enjoy a breathtaking view of the Keys-a glorious sight you won't be able to see anywhere else.
- The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum
Ernest Hemingway penned his masterpieces Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls while living in Key West. The place where inspiration became creation is on display when you visit his home. Step back in time and see the rooms and gardens where the Nobel Prize winner lived and wrote for over 10 years.
- Sloppy Joe's
There's only one Sloppy Joe's, and this is your chance to experience the real thing! This well-known bar has been one of Key West's favorite "watering holes" since 1933. It opens at 9:00 a.m., live music begins at noon, and the fun keeps going!
English is universally spoken though you will hear some Spanish too.
U.S. currency is used all over the island, as are all major credit cards.
- How to Get Around
Driving around Key West can be difficult, and parking can be expensive. There are plenty of alternatives including scooter, golf cart and bicycle rentals. You can even explore the area on foot. A good, economical bus system exists with lines that are color coded for ease of use.