Key West originally named Cayo Hueso or “Key of Bones” by the first Spanish settlers, is the last of the islands and the most highly populated. Long the home of writers, artists and smugglers, it is connected to the mainland by the Overseas Highway, and is possibly the liveliest and most active Key of them all.
With a slew of famous restaurants, bars, and historical buildings and sites; laid back, free-spirited, artistic, quirky, and scenic, this particular Key is one of the most unique places in the United States. Only 90 miles from Cuba, this unique island city is known for its live-and-let-live attitude, tropical climate, and seemingly continuous happy hour, this tiny island has been welcoming visitors seeking a getaway from the normal for two centuries.
Imagine a mini New Orleans in the heart of the tropics, this is Key West! The home of the Conch Republic, it provides visitors with a vast array of attractions from historic tours, local artists and entertainers, and excellent dining at Mallory Square and Duval Street’s eclectic nightlife, accommodating all people and lifestyles.
Many famous celebrities and historical leaders have called Key West home, to name a few: Ernest Hemingway, Harry S. Truman, Robert Frost, Jimmy Buffet, Tennessee Williams, Mel Fisher, and Calvin Klein.
Local dining choices range from five-star gourmet establishments to casual cafes and raw bars. From Duval Street and the oceanfront, to hidden Old Town treasures or the Historic Seaport, restaurants occupy old homes and other unique buildings featuring widely diverse architectural styles. Dining in Key West is more than just a meal – it’s a real experience.
Don’t forget the key lime pie! When it comes to sightseeing, be sure to grab a bite at the iconic Sloppy Joes, and stop for snapshots at the ‘Southernmost Point’ marking the southernmost point of the United States.
Make time to tour the Hemmingway House, where ‘Papa’ resided for many years while writing the majority of his best sellers, including A Farewell to Arms… all while creating some of today’s most popular cocktails!
Key West is one has one of the warmest climates in the United States. Like most tropical climates, Key West has two seasons – the wet season and the dry season. The dry season runs from November through April and is normally sunny and quite dry, with only 25 percent of the annual rainfall occurring. This rainfall usually occurs in advance of cold fronts in a few light showers. In some years the winter can see severe drought conditions. May through October is normally the wet season. During the wet season some rain falls on most days, often in quick tropical downpours, followed by intense sun.
About 70 miles west of Key West is the Dry Tortugas National Park and can be reached by chartered yacht or the daily ferry aboard the Yankee Freedom III. The islands crown jewel is the historic Fort Jefferson, which was used as a prison during the Civil War, The Park is known for having the best beaches in all of the Keys, with soft powdery sand and clear blue waters. This is definitely a ‘final stop worth exploring.