Key West, Florida is the most Southern of Southern cities.
Many people make the short run out of Miami to visit the vibrant city filled with palm trees, colorful houses, and superior South Florida weather almost all year round.
After all, what’s not to love about Key West? It’s the Southernmost point of the continental United States, it has tons of great beaches and snorkeling locations, margaritas galore, and it’s where you can find Ernest Hemingway’s home, the bluestone, and limestone LaFonda hotel.
So, what’s the best way to experience the best that Key West has to offer? Here are the top Key West attractions you should be sure not to miss.
Duval Street is the heart of Key West’s entertainment and nightlife scene. Stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, this vibrant street is home to numerous restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as historic landmarks and art galleries. You can spend hours strolling down Duval Street, soaking up the colorful atmosphere and admiring the architecture.
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Ernest Hemingway, one of America’s most famous writers, lived in Key West for more than a decade. His former home has been turned into a museum that attracts visitors from around the world.
The Hemingway Home and Museum is a beautiful Spanish colonial-style house where the writer wrote some of his most famous works, including “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” Visitors can take a guided tour of the house and gardens and see the six-toed cats that are descendants of Hemingway’s pets.
Mallory Square is a bustling waterfront plaza that has been a gathering place for locals and visitors alike for more than a century. Every evening, people flock to Mallory Square to watch the famous Key West sunset and enjoy street performers, live music, and food vendors. The atmosphere is festive and fun, and it’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the island vibe.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
If you love nature and wildlife, don’t miss the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. This unique attraction is home to more than 50 species of butterflies, as well as exotic birds, plants, and turtles. The conservatory is designed to recreate the natural habitats of these creatures, and visitors can walk through the lush gardens and observe the delicate butterflies up close.
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is a must-visit destination for beach lovers and history buffs. The park is home to a beautiful beach with crystal-clear water and soft sand, as well as a historic fort that played a key role in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Visitors can take a guided tour of the fort and learn about its history or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the sun and sea.
Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum
The Key West Lighthouse is a historic landmark that has guided ships through the waters surrounding Key West since 1848. The lighthouse and its keeper’s quarters have been restored and turned into a museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the life of a lighthouse keeper in the 19th century. Visitors can climb the 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the island and the sea.
Key West Cemetery
The Key West Cemetery may seem like an unusual tourist attraction, but it’s a fascinating place to visit for anyone interested in history, culture, and local lore.
Not only lined with interesting tombstones and mausoleums, but Key West Cemetery is also lined with towering trees, lush plants, and blooming flowers. It offers a peaceful atmosphere and a sense of history to visitors, providing a powerful lesson in the preservation of Key West culture.
Take a Sunset Sail
There’s nothing quite like a Key West sunset, and one of the best ways to experience it is on a sunset sail. There are plenty of companies that offer sunset cruises, and many of them provide drinks and snacks on board. You can relax and enjoy the stunning views as the sun sets over the water, and maybe even spot some dolphins or sea turtles along the way.
Explore the Beaches
One of the top Key West attractions is its stunning beaches. With crystal-clear water, white sand, and warm sunshine, it’s no wonder that visitors flock to Key West’s beaches year-round. Some of the best beaches to explore include Smathers Beach, Higgs Beach, and South Beach.
The beaches are perfect for families with young children. There are plenty of must-do activities like affordable bikes for rent to explore, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
Dry Tortugas National Park
If you have time for a day trip, the Dry Tortugas National Park is a must-see destination. This remote national park is only accessible by boat or seaplane, but the journey is well worth it. Visitors can explore the historic Fort Jefferson, snorkel in crystal clear waters, and soak up the sun on beautiful white sand beaches.
The Southernmost Point Buoy
The Southernmost Point Buoy is a concrete buoy that marks the southernmost point in the continental United States. It’s a popular photo spot, and you’ll often see people lined up to take a picture with the buoy. The buoy is located at the corner of South and Whitehead Streets, and it’s just a short walk from Mallory Square.
Key West Attractions for an Unforgettable Southern Trip
Key West is a beautiful and vibrant city that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for breathtaking natural beauty, rich history and culture, or a lively atmosphere filled with music and nightlife, you’ll find it here.
From Mallory Square to the Dry Tortugas National Park, these Key West attractions are sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Key West today!
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