Key West, Florida
The 'Must See' Tropical Adventure Island
Key West, the last of the Florida Keys, is the southern most point of the US. It is located 164 miles southwest of Miami, 97 miles south of the main Florida coastline and a mere 90 miles north of Cuba. The largest of all of the Florida Key islands, Key West is only two miles by three miles. Small, but impressive, Key West is home to about 25,000 permanent residents according to year 2000 census data.
This magical island takes its name from the designation given to it by the Spaniards, Cayo Heuso, which means Island of Bones. The island has been inhabited by notable figures, both famous and infamous, since Ponce de Leon set foot on it way back in 1513 during his elusive search for the Fountain of Youth.
The activities and attractions on Key West are designed for everyone; regardless of whether they are young and single, enjoying a family vacation or simply taking pleasure in your retirement. A variety of accommodations are scattered across Key West. Quaint guest cottages and bed and breakfast inns are offered for those who prefer a personal, informal setting as well as condos and private homes that can easily be rented for a few days, a week or longer. Hotels, motels and resorts round out the many lodging facilities available on Key West.
While it is quite convenient to visit almost any destination in Key West by walking or on bike, a number of public transportation facilities are available also including taxis, trolleys and a tour train.
Some of the most popular activities on Key West including boating, snorkeling and swimming off one of the many beaches located along the island. South Beach, located at the end of Duval Street, is a favorite among locals. This beach features a clean environment, but has no changing or restroom facilities. At the end of Reynolds Street you can visit Higg’s Beach, available from a long wooden pier. This is a nice beach for individuals and families alike, with covered picnic tables, playground area and restroom facilities. You can also rent beach chairs, rafts and various water sports equipment at Higgs Beach. If you’re into parasailing, jet skiing and windsurfing then Smathers Beach, located at South Roosevelt Boulevard, is the beach for you.
Take a trip over to Fort Zachary Taylor, where some of the loveliest sunsets can be viewed. This beach is normally quiet and offers picnic tables, restroom facilities and parking through the Truman Annex.
There are numerous boating, cruising and fishing tours and charters available throughout the island of Key West. These attractions allow visitors to do everything from deep sea fishing to experiencing close encounters with dolphins in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. West of Key West is Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, a remarkable National Park which can be accessed only by boat or aircraft. There are daily scheduled trips offered by air or over water through several carriers and charter operators.
Take a trip over to Duval Street, a popular haven on Key West and home to legendary establishments such as the original Sloppy Joe’s. The Sunset Celebration on the Mallory dock at the end of Duval is a Key West tradition that can’t be missed. Each night, locals and tourists alike gather to pay homage to the beauty of the setting sun as it dips beyond the horizon. After sunset, Key West comes alive with open air cafes, carnival performers and musicians.
Key West may be laid back, but that doesn’t mean the island has forgotten to include cultural elements. Numerous theatres, art galleries and antique shops make their home on this unique island.
Visitors who want to get a little taste of everything Florida has to offer can access other locations and cities by driving across the Seven Mile Bridge through the other key islands. Fort Lauderdale lies about 150 miles northeast of Key West. The Key West airport is served by several major air carriers, with direct flights to locations throughout Florida as well as the Bahamas. Access north to Southwest Florida cities is easy with adventurous but economical ferry trips daily from Key West.
The Key West Chamber of Commerce site offers business directory, events calendar and visitor information.
Nearby cities to check for activities and attractions: North through the Florida Keys. Fly or boat to visit the Fort Jefferson National Monument in the Dry Tortugas.
More Key West, Florida Tourist Links
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A Day in Key West, Florida - adventures of a Florida tourist
Key West Tourism - an article about Key West