5 Reasons Why Key West should be on your Bucket List
Domestic Caribbean Travel (if there was such a thing)
So you don’t have a passport but you’re craving the Caribbean? Key West, Florida is the perfect remedy for this conundrum. Visitors get to experience the best of both worlds, domestic travel with an island vibe. Key West is the southernmost point of the United States and is actually closer to Cuba than it is to Miami! The majestic waters that surround the keys are one of a kind. That’s because this is where the dark blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the clear turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico meet. Thanks to this geographical gold mine, you will be afforded with the most beautiful waters on your visit!
While in town, stop by the Southernmost Point buoy. Located at the intersection of Whitehead Street and South Street, this is a must see while in Key West!
** Tip: Go early because there’s often a long line to get a photograph with the buoy. Also beware of splashing waves, the buoy sets right along the waters edge and waves often splash up along the shore.
Energy Level: Relaxed
While in Key West, you’re on island time. There are plenty of sights to see, water sports to experience, and local restaurants to taste. However while doing all of these activities, you’re still on the relaxing time of the islands. One of the best parts about Key West is that you don’t have to be doing anything to enjoy what’s around you. Take a stroll down the street and gaze and bright colored houses. Stop by Kino Sandals and grab yourself a pair of flip-flops made right in front of you. Take an afternoon nap on the white sandy beach. Or grab a book to read in a shady spot. Whatever you’re planning on doing in the Keys, you’ll be nice and relaxed by the time you return home.
Looking for a good beach in town? Surprisingly there aren’t a lot of beaches in Key West. That’s ok though, the beaches the island does boast are some of the most beautiful around. My favorite is the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.
** Tip: For the ultimate Key West experience, purchase a hammock at the Key West Hammock Company, take it with you to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, and hang it between two palm trees. Life doesn’t get much better than that!
Deep Rooted Culture
Key West is only eight square miles but packed full of its own eclectic culture. Once the richest city per capita in the United States, Key West continues to give off luxury beach vibes. Victorian style houses line the older parts of town, some of which are home to celebrities and writers, both past and present. While most parts of the island are immaculately clean, don’t be surprised if you run into a stray chicken or two. Chickens have roamed the island for years. Like many islands, one of the best ways to get around in Key West is via bicycle. The influx of tourists that have rented cars, along with the locals who also drive, can sometimes make traveling by bike quicker. Not to mention that you can observe more of what’s around you by traveling on two wheels rather than four.
Check out the Hemingway House at 907 Whitehead Street. This beautiful home is still furnished with the Hemingway families artifacts. If walls could talk, this house would have plenty to say!
** Tip: Take the guided tour. The tour guides are experts in not only Hemingway’s life but the home itself. Even if you aren’t a Hemingway fan, the history behind this property is deep rooted and well worth the time and money of the tour!
Key West is one of the most gorgeous places to visit in the continental United States. Sunsets at the keys are a little more perfect. Boat rides on the alluring waters are unlike any other in the world. The lowest temperature Key West has ever experienced was 41 degrees. It’s never snowed in the Keys and temperatures remain between 70 and 80 degrees year round. Remember this while you’re shoveling out your driveway in the dead of January!
Looking for the best sunset on the planet? Visit Mallory Square for their sunset celebration. Each night visitors and locals alike line the square to watch the sun set into the Gulf of Mexico. Entertainers line the walkway, food truck vendors arrive nearby, and artsy shops open their doors. Mallory Square is an excellent way to spend any evening.
** Tip: Arrive early! The celebration begins two hours before the sun will set on that given day. Come early and stake out your spot!
Better as an Adult
Although there are plenty of things for kids to do in Key West, it’s the perfect place for an adult-only vacation. Whether you’re traveling with your girlfriends, a guys-only adventure, or looking for a romantic getaway, the Florida Keys is an excellent decision. Why you may ask? Two words: Duval Street. It’s nearly impossible to miss this mile long street lined with bars, pubs, restaurants, and shops when visiting the island of Key West. Channel your inner college spring-breaker and make the mile long pub crawl. With places like Fat Tuesdays, Sloppy Joes, and Ricks Bar, you’ll never run out of bars. Looking for ‘dry’ things to do? Charter a boat for the afternoon and fish with the locals. Or go snorkeling. The Florida Keys is home to the third largest coral reef in the world!
What better way to be an adult than to take a guided ghost tour of town? Some people will tell you that the island is haunted. Take a tour and decide for yourself!
** Tip: Make sure your tour stops at the Key West Cemetery. Although from the outside it may look like your typical cemetery, on the inside you’ll find humorous headstones and fantastic ghost stories.