Key West Information & Travel Tipps – learn what makes Key West the ideal place for your next vacation.
Best Sights and Attractions
Key West lies on the western fringes of the Florida Keys, an archipelago in the Gulf of Mexico. Being closer to Cuba than the mainland, this island marks the southernmost point of the USA. Prominent authors like Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee used to spend their holidays here, and today Key West attracts vacationers, artists and musicians with its laid-back atmosphere. Once on the island, the hustle and bustle of modern America quickly becomes a distant memory. Instead, visitors can enjoy the good life at white sandy beaches and explore idyllic islets on a boat trip.
You do not have to stroll far to enjoy beautiful nature: Still within city limits lies the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden. Here, visitors get to know the flora of Southwest Florida and catch a glimpse of birds and lizards in the lush vegetation.
The Florida Keys form a unique ecosystem – one that you can learn more about at the Eco Discovery Center. With its aquariums and lifelike dioramas, the museum is especially suited for children. If you want to discover the true beauty of South Florida, you should take a boat trip to Dry Tortugas National Park 70 miles to the west. This secluded reserve is not only known for its biodiversity and untouched beaches. It also houses the remnants of Fort Jefferson, a coastal defense system built in the 19th century.
Colorful coral reefs make Dry Tortugas ideal for diving and snorkeling. Those looking for a true underwater adventure should try wreck diving off the coast of Islamorada: In San Pedro Underwater Park a sunken Spanish galleon provides shelter for a wide variety of marine species. In other places, decommissioned ships have been sunken on purpose to create artificial reefs.
The island houses a number of historic buildings that are part of the national heritage. Most famous among them is the vacation home of Ernest Hemingway where descendents of the author’s cats still live today. At the Little White House, guests learn how US president Harry S. Truman spent his time on Key West. The island also played an important role in naval defense, as can be seen in Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park: Here, impressive canons from the Civil War make for an interesting photo opportunity. Colorful pollinators flap their wings at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and the Mel Fisher Museum lets you explore the world of marine archeology. Here, you can marvel at the gold treasure of the Spanish galleon Atocha, worth 400 million Dollars in today’s money.
Warm water, fine white sand and plenty of sunshine make Key West the perfect spot for your holiday by the sea. Take 2 miles long Smathers Beach, for example. The island’s largest beach is known for its moderate waves and shallow water – ideal for families with children. Popular activities include kayaking, snorkeling, and beach volleyball. If you are looking for peaceful, tropical surroundings and a playground for children, you should visit Higgs Beach. Still relatively unknown among vacationers, but very popular with the locals is Fort Zachary Tailor Beach. Here, at one of Key West’s few natural beaches, you can enjoy untouched nature and even see dolphins and sea turtles if you are lucky.
Shopping Opportunities Galore
Mallory Square is the perfect place to buy beautiful jewelry made from sea shells, as well as natural sponges, designer clothes, gemstones and beauty products, all made with high quality standards. If you are looking for stylish swimsuits, you should take a trip to Aqua Beachwear and the Ocean Key Boutique. Fair trade clothes and handmade accessories fill the shelves at the Green Pineapple Boutique, and Key West even has its own mall: Housing 120 different stores, the Key West Shopping Centre offers the right product for every customer.
There is no better place to end your day of sightseeing than Duval Street with its many restaurants and bars. The street is home to Sloppy Joe´, a restaurant where Ernest Hemingway himself used to dine. In the evening, locals and visitors gather at Mallory Square to watch the sunset – and to enjoy a nice piece of Key Lime Pie, South Florida’s most popular dessert. The island is also famous for its fresh seafood. This becomes especially clear during the annual Lobster Festival.
Accommodation in Key West
Being one of Florida’s most popular holiday destinations, Key West features a wide range of accommodation options for every taste. Beautifully decorated vacation houses, budget-friendly motels and luxurious hotels are available here. Comfortably located near the southernmost point of the USA and many other sights is the Blue Marlin Hotel with its swimming pool and lush palm trees. Lovebirds can spend a romantic vacation at the Banana Bay Resort, one of Key West’s few hotels directly at the sea shore. Amenities include a fresh water pool, a spa, and a private beach.
Climate and Weather
With its tropical climate and warm temperatures, Key West is the perfect place for sun worshippers in Florida. Winter is considered the best travel time. From December to February temperatures range around 24 degrees Celsius, and there is less precipitation than in summer. Temperatures and humidity levels reach their peak during the months of June to October: Then, you have to account for at least 10 days of rain. The showers can get intense, but rarely last long. Good news for beach lovers: Water temperatures are warm enough to go swimming and diving the whole year round.