Few destinations in the US have the allure of the legendary island of Key West, Florida. Known for its laid back “bohemian” atmosphere, tropical climate and romantic sunsets, it is one of the most unique places in the United States. It is considered the American Caribbean and has been attracting visitors from all over the world. Even such famous writers as Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost and Tennessee Williams called the island home. Despite its small size, Key West is fascinating and bustling with activities. You can choose from sailing, boat tours, romantic sunsets, and snorkeling to lively nightlife, beaches and historic sights. Here are some highlights:
Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
If you’ve been to Key West, but haven’t seen the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, then chances are you’ve actually never been to Key West. A visit to the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is a unique opportunity to explore the grounds of one of America’s foremost authors and Nobel Prize winner.
Dry Tortugas National Park
If you make it down to Key West, a cluster of seven islands called Dry Tortugas National Park (“tortuga” is the Spanish word for a turtle) is a must visit place. Once you get there, you will be completely stunned by its beauty. You can go scuba-diving, snorkeling or hang out at the beach, just make sure you have enough water, sunscreen and, of course, your camera with you. The historic Fort Jefferson which once operated as a prison during the Civil War and the waters of the islands with its coral reefs are worth a visit as well.
If you’ve made it to Key West, you’ve made it to the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States. An anchored concrete buoy the Southernmost point buoy is one of the most visited and photographed spots in Key West. Except for the concrete block, there is nothing else around, but simply standing on the southernmost point feels pretty exciting. If you want to take a good photo, you better get there early in the morning.
There are plenty of choices to treat your taste buds in Key West: from a fantastic waterfront seafood restaurants to the old-school Cuban restaurants in town. While Duval Street is known for familiar brand names, Old Town is a perfect place to find more locally inspired cuisine. Whichever place you choose, don’t leave Key West without trying conch fritters and an authentic key lime pie. And, yes, the lime pie is actually yellow, not green.
Swim with dolphins
If swimming with dolphins has always been your dream, then Key West is a place to make it come true. You will find a variety of tour operators offering dolphin swims either on a boat tour or as a part of interaction programs. Whichever you choose, an unforgettable experience is guaranteed.
Mallory Square (Docks)
Don’t leave Key West without seeing the Sunset Celebration. It is a nightly arts festival with live entertainment on the Mallory Square Dock. The festival invites both tourists and locals to gather on the dock to watch the glowing pink and red sun sinking into the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy the carnival atmosphere. Getting to the square around 6:30 is recommended, otherwise you will manage to catch only the last glimpses.