The island is the southernmost point in the continental US and is actually closer to Havana, Cuba than it is to Miami. This small island has a rich and varied history. The town has an independent and free-spirit as demonstrated in its 1982 symbolic secession from the Union when it dubbed itself as the Conch Republic. This unique spirit is perhaps why so many artists and writers have made this place their home at various times including Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Robert Frost.
At one point during the late 1800s, Key West was the wealthiest city, per capita, in the nation. Today it is a laid-back community with an eclectic mix of residents that has more of a Caribbean atmosphere than that of an American city.
Key West continues the theme of the other keys for being a fantastic water sports playground, but it is perhaps better known for its eccentricity, night life, lovely architecture, and historical landmarks.
Key West is reputed to have the most gorgeous sunsets and the best place to see them is at Mallory Square Dock overlooking the harbor. The event is celebrated with performances from many street entertainers including mimes, fire jugglers, sword swallowers, and acrobats. Mallory Square is a center for various restaurants, bars, shops, and outdoor vendors.
Nightlife takes on a lively and spirited pace in a 12 block long area of Duval and adjacent streets once the sun goes down. Music fills the air from the many establishments that define these streets. Nightclubs, bars, restaurants, shops, sidewalk cafes all contribute to create a continuous street festival.
A tour will display various points of interest and architecture. Bicycles and motor scooters are a popular means to get around. However, one of the best ways to sample this fascinating city is from a tour on the Conch Train.Touristy as it is, the Conch Train provides a very interesting and informative tour. In addition to numerous points of interest, dozens of beautifully kept historic houses will be seen.
One the more notable residents of was writer Earnest Hemingway. His beautiful Spanish-Colonial house is on display.
The southern side of the island features a few beaches. Swimming, sailing, jet skiing and parasailing are popular at these beaches. Snorkeling and diving are best further offshore at the reefs.
About 70 miles to the west lies Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. Travel to this historical island fort is available via boat or seaplane.
Further north up the chain of keys is Bahia Honda State Park. The facility features beaches, picnic areas, concessions, a marina and campgrounds. Kayaks and windsurfers are available for rent and a dive shop offers reef snorkel and scuba trips.