KEY WEST, CAREFREE & CLOSE TO PERFECT
Southernmost point in the U.S., Key West is the most famous of all the Florida Keys, mostly because this four-by-two-mile island has everything anyone could wish for.
Awashed with mellow and romantic vibrations, Key West is a heavenly town where palm trees pave the way for colonial mansions and conch houses which many a celebrity once called home, from Ernest Hemingway (whose house is also a musem) to Tennessee Williams, and John Audubon.
Daytime sees locals and visitors enjoy watersports in all their forms in warm, blue azure waters, or just walk around the town to explore the captivating architecture of Key West and its 2,000 preserved historic buildings.
Undoubtedly, Key West is the most lively spot of the Keys at night time, especially in Mallory Square where street artists perform amazing acts at sunset, just before the Historic Seaport and Harbor Walk waterfront become the hub of an exhuberant nightlife.
Nicknamed the "Conch Republic", and following the motto "One Human Family", the Key West community opens its arms year-round to all those looking for a care-free, close to perfect vacation.
Key West Map
A watersports lover's heaven
- Like the other islands of the Florida Keys, Key West is a great place for all watersports: sailing, kayaking, scubadiving, snorkeling, fishing, jet skiing, parasailing...
- Whether to dive, fish, snorkel, take a day-long water adventure or an eco-tour, the Historic Seaport is where you will be able to select your favorite activity and take off for an unforgettable experience.
- Sunset is a unique and fantastic experience in Key West, which is best experienced with a perfectly romantic sunset sailing trip on the Gulf of Mexico's sun-sparkled waters.
- Wild dolphin watching is a popular activity in Key West and you will find numerous specialized charters in every part of the town offering all-inclusive sightseeing and snorkeling excursions.
A rich multicultural heritage
- Afro-cuban culture is a big influence in Key West, from the 1800s Bahama Village founded by Africans migrants to the Historic Seaport district, as well as a breathtaking Civil War-era Fort that oversees a unique 1860 African Burial Ground.
- Although mostly dedicated to commercial activities, the two-centuries-old Mallory’s Historic Seaport (aka "Key West Bight", or "inner harbor") has been a major feature of the local history and is a great place to get a feel of "Old Key West".
- National landmark commanding over the Historic Seaport, "Old 91" is a perfectly restored 19th-century Custom House (pictured above) that is both visually stunning as historically significant. This remarkable exemple of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture is now a renowned museum and and official headquarters of the Key West Art & Historical Society.
- Only accessible with high speed ferries available at the Historic Seaport, Historic Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas is worth the 70 miles trip from Key West. Built with 16 millions bricks, the picturesque hexagon-shaped Civil War building is a fantastic exploration ground graced with amazing beaches to kayak, snorkel or parasail.
- To find out more about life in the Keys during the Civil-war era, make sure to visit Fort East Martello, a 1862 U.S. Army Civil War Fort built enforce the Union's sea blockade and fight a Confederate sea assault that never came.
- A great place to explore with self-guided tours, Fort East Martello also harbors a small, almost spooky museum which is a home to the infamous, alledgedly-cursed "Robert the Doll".
- Of course, you can't leave the island without visiting Ernest Hemingway's Home & Museum in the heart of Old Town Key West, where Nobel Prize recipîent and author of The Old Man and the Sea wrote for more than a decade, and where you might meet glorious descendant of the author's legendary six-toed cat.
A NIGHTLIFE TO REMEMBER
- At nighttime, the streets of Key West come alive as wanderers invade streets filled with the rythms of afro-cuban tunes and the unique bouquet of conch fritters.
- The famous Duval Street (pictured above) concentrates most of KeyWest's night action, thanks to a melting-pot of four-star restaurants, cozy wine bars, upbeat clubs, and a slew of excentric dive bars.
- For a soft start to a four-star evening, enjoy a fine wine tasting at Grand Vin Wine Shop & Bar, try fine organic treats at Lush Key West, or mingle with the locals at Cork & Stogie.
- There is a fine choice of upscale restaurants in Key West. On Duval Street alone, you can go all-American at the Square One, European-style at Martin's, or keep the Caribbean vibe alive at the Hot Thin Roof.
- For a quick but tasty bite, the choice is even greater but you can always try Frita's Cuban Burger Cafe, Panini Panini, Mangoes, or the Black Fin Bistro.
- To shake extra calories and dance the night away, head for Rick’s & Durty Harry’s for live music, adult entertainment, karaoke, and more. Country-music lovers and quare dancers cannot miss a trip the Coyote Ugly Saloon.
- For a high point in your Key West nightlife experience, set some time to enjoy a full night of fun at The Cabaret at La Te Da, a hotel-cabaret-bar-restaurant that has been the beating heart of Duval Street nightlife since 1978.