Key West is the southernmost city of continental USA and a major tourist destination of the country. This island city is part of the Florida Keys and is very popular for its sunsets and beautiful beaches, and is also as the home of Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams. Its proximity to Central and Latin America means that there is a strong Caribbean and Latin influence in the culture and architecture of Key West. In fact, Key West is closer to Cuba that it is to Miami! So pack your bag with your swimwear, put on some Calypso music, and head out to one of the most famous party places of America. We will help you pick the best of Key West in this blog.
- Martello Towers
The Martello Towers are two historic fortifications that were built in the mid-19th century to protect against attacks on the neighboring Fort Zachary Taylor from the east. Although the fort was never attacked and the towers not scarred by any battle, Martello Towers have become a major tourist attraction for their stunning sweeping views of the Atlantic coastline. The East Martello Tower is home to the Martello Gallery-Key West Art and Historical Museum. The whole area has been beautifully landscaped and is ideal for a casual stroll in the evening.
- Dry Tortugas National Park
This national park is located about 68 miles west of the Key West island and is the most isolated of the Florida Keys. This park is home to seven Dry Tortugas islands and Fort Jefferson, the largest brick masonry structure is the western hemisphere. Dry Tortugas National Park can only be accessed by boat or sea plane but it still attracts over 60,000 visitors annually. The reefs around the islands are some of the best preserved in the region and very rich in marine life. If you are fond of snorkeling, then this is the place to be in Florida. Bird watching, fishing, and kayaking are also quite popular in this park area.
- Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Key West was infamous in the past as a place of several shipwrecks. The legend who is best associated with the shipwrecks in this part of the world is Mel Fisher. This museum is dedicated to the life and achievements of Fisher, a treasure hunter and dive shop pioneer. He is best known for discovering the wreck of Nuestra Senora de Atocha, a Spanish galleon that sank in 1922 about 40 miles from the coast of Key West. The museum displays artifacts from several shipwrecks, including a slave ship.
- Key West Aquarium
The Key West Aquarium is located on Whitehead Street and is a fun attraction for the whole family. It was opened to the public in 1934, making it one of the oldest aquarium in the state of Florida. It had originally opened as an open air museum, which had made it one of the earliest and largest at that time. Key West Aquarium has a large and interesting collection of marine animals including sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, and alligators. There is also a touch tank which is very popular with the visitors.
- Southernmost Point
As stated earlier, Key West is the southernmost point of continental USA. There is no way you should miss out on visiting the southernmost tip which is marked a brightly colored buoy. It was established in 1983 and became an instant hit with visiting tourists. This large buoy is one of the most photographed in Key West. The marker buoy may not be the most dramatic of landmarks, but its geographical significance makes it a popular tourist attraction of Key West. Such is its popularity that several souvenir sellers have set up their stalls nearby.
- Harry S Truman Little White House
This mansion used to be the ‘winter White House’ of former U.S. President Harry S Truman. In the later years, it was also used for meetings by President Eisenhower and President Kennedy. President Jimmy Carter and President Bill Clinton used the mansion for their family retreat. With so much history, it is no wonder it is one of the most prominent attractions of Key West. The mansion was converted to a museum in 1991 and has since welcomed a steady flow of tourists.
- Ernest Hemingway House & Museum
The Ernest Hemingway House & Museum is located on Whitehead Street in close proximity to another local attraction – the Key West lighthouse. This US National Historic Landmark was the residence of the noted author between 1931 and 1939. This is the house where he wrote some of his world-renowned classics, like ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ and ‘A Farewell to Arms.’ Visitors to the complex are greeted by a beautiful tropical garden. The house has several artifacts associated with Hemingway. Even the cats roaming in the property are descended from the cats of Ernest Hemingway!
- Conch Tour Train
Just like many cities have city tour buses, Key West has its historical Conch Tour Train. This tourist trolley journeys in and around the city, stopping at prominent attractions. It is one of the most relaxing ways to enjoy the sights of Key West. The Conch Tour Train itself is a part of Key West history. It started in 1958 and has welcomed over 15 million guests, including Ernest Hemingway. Kids under 12 years of age get to ride free on this train.
- Mallory Square
Key West is very famous as a sunset point, and according to the locals there is no better place for viewing it than Mallory Square. This plaza is located near the northern end of Duval Street. It is almost a tradition at Key West to watch the sunset from Mallory Square. The ‘Sunset Celebration’, as it is called, is watched by hundreds of tourists every day. The ‘celebration’ includes street performers and craft exhibitors showing off their skills. After watching the sunset, you can grab a bite from any of the food stalls that are set up near the pier.
- Duval Street
Duval Street is the hub of activities at downtown Key West. This 1.25 mile long stretch is home to numerous restaurants, cafes, boutiques, inns, and art galleries. It runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean and is named after the first territorial governor of Florida – William Duval. It was designated a ‘Great Street’ by the American Planning Association. The well-preserved Victorian mansions with their Spanish and Caribbean influences add to the charm of this street. Duval Street is one of the most prominent attractions in Key West.
Originally posted 2017-07-18 06:48:59.