Key West is a little slice of paradise located at the southernmost point of Florida. It's well-known for it's beautiful sunsets, historic sites and laid back vibe. Just a few of the reasons so many famous people have called it home.
The first stop on our Holland America cruise, we spent the day strolling the streets of Key West and exploring the many exciting attractions that make it such a popular destination.
It was kind of love at first sight for me. Staring out at the candy colored rows of painted houses and shimmering sail boats I couldn't wait to see more of this little island city.
check out Trip Advisor's fun tours, experiences and excursions in Key West
Key West History and Facts
- Ponce de Leon first discovered Old Town Key West in 1521 while on an expedition in search of the Fountain of Youth. Settlers came along and established in 1823.
- Key West is actually closer to Cuba than Miami.
- Home to Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost and Tennessee Williams
- Roosters freely roam the city. Raised in Cuba and the Keys for cockfighting, the Key West roosters were released on the island after fighting became illegal.
- Killing local chickens is illegal, a law leftover from many years ago when voodoo practices included sacrifice of chickens.
- Many Key West residents were immigrants from the Bahamas. They were called the “Conch” people in reference to a tradition in which a conch shell was placed on a pole in front of the home when a baby was born.
Key West Beaches
While there's plenty of water, there are no beaches in Key West. It's America's only living coral reef and the world's third longest barrier reef.
Things to Do In Key West
- Explore Old Town Key West on a guided bicycle tour
- Visit Dry Tortugas National Park (check out this popular excursion)
- Tour the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where the famous author wrote 70 percent of his life's work.
- Explore the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Marvel at the beautiful butterflies, flamingos and birds of all sorts.
- Visit Harry S. Truman's Little White House, the winter home for the 33rd President of the USA.
- Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
- Set sail on a sunset cruise
- Walk around Mallory Square, a historic waterfront area with lots of quaint shops and restaurants.
- Visit Duval St. This vibrant street is lined with shops, bars and restaurants. A great place to have a cocktail, enjoy a meal and do some people watching.
- Enjoy a slice of Key Lime pie!
You could easily spend the day just roaming the streets of Key West, there's so much to see. Unique gift shops, restaurants, coffee shops, book stores, antique shops and plenty of bars! We loved popping in to the shops and checking out all the local-made trinkets.
Key West Instagram Photo Spots
Best Photography Spots in Key West, Florida
- The Southernmost Point Buoy
- Mallory Square at sunset
- Dry Tortugas
- Seven Mile Bridge
- Higgs Beach Pier
- 801 Bourbon Bar on Duval St.
- Smathers Beach
You can't possibly leave Key West without trying the key lime pie! It's famous and you'll find plenty of spots to grab a slice.
Key West Resorts
- Margaritaville Key West Resort and Marina
great location on the waterfront of Old Town Key West; on-site restaurant, lounge and poolside bar;
- Oceans Edge Key Resort and Spa
newest and largest hotel with 6 pools, a fabulous restaurant and marina
- Southernmost Beach Resort
- Sunset Key Cottages
- Pier House Resort and Spa
- The Marker Waterfront Resort
- Hyatt Centric Key West Resort and Spa
Key West Restaurants
- Best Local Favorite -Blue Heaven
- Best Fine Dining- Latitude's Restaurant
- Most Family Friendly – Duetto Pizza and Gelato
- Best Fast Service- Keys Coffee Co . (try the avocado toast!)
- Best Cuban Food- El Siboney Restaurant
- Fresh Seafood Favorite- DJ's Clam Shack . (omg, the lobster roll!)
Margaritaville Key West
By the waterfront, right in the heart of Old Town Key West you'll find the Margaritaville Resort. Walking distance to Duval street makes this the place to stay if you want to be in the center of the excitement.
The outdoor heated pool and hot tub are great for sun and fun. They also offer a business center, fitness center, on-site shops and water sports facilities for guests.
Key West Travel Resources
best key lime pie in key west
We love Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe
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Try Pirate's Scooter Rental
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Fury Water Adventures
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