One of the best places to visit in Florida is the Florida Keys, and Key West, the farthest south of the Keys has the most attractions, night life and interesting history. Lying roughly 90 miles north of Cuba, Key West is famed for its pastel-hued, conch-style houses, its coral reefs, which attract lots of divers and snorkelers, and it’s laid-back lifestyle. During our 24-hr visit there, we tried to cover 10 of the Key’s main attractions which are listed below. (See video below).
1) Mallory Square: located at the northwest corner of the island, Mallory Square is near the waterfront and has numerous restaurants and shops. There is also a large parking lot at Mallory Square, where you can pay hourly. Key West is a great place to walk, and because the tourist area is centered on the west-end of the island almost everything is accessible by foot.
2) Sunset Pier: There are also nightly gatherings near Mallory Square on the waterfront to watch Key West’s picturesque sunsets. One of the favorite hangouts to watch the sunsets is Sunset Pier at the Ocean key Resort and Spa, where you can sit by the sea every afternoon, and enjoy great seafood, drinks and live music.
3) The Key West Aquarium: This is located at Mallory Square, and features a touch-tank where you can actually touch the sea life. The touch-tank wasn’t open when we were there, which is why we didn’t go in.
4) President Truman’s Little White House: The Harry S Truman Little White House in Key West was the winter White House for President Harry S Truman for 175 days during 11 visits. It is located just south of Mallory Square. Other presidents, including presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama also stayed there for short visits. There are tours offered inside, or you can just stroll around the lovely yard outside like we did.
5) Duval Street: This is the main tourist street and runs the entire north to south length of the Key. There are lots of restaurants, shops and pubs along the street.
6) Ernest Hemingway’s home: This was Hemingway’s home between 1931-1939. This is one of the tours we enjoyed and would highly recommend if you’re a Hemingway fan. His house is left just like it was when he lived there and the garden and pool areas are very pretty. The pool is the first pool ever built in Key West. You may also be able to glimpse one of the many cats living on the property, which are the descendents of Hemingway’s cats.
7) Key West Light House: This is across the street from Hemingway’s house and was the first lighthouse built in Key West in 1825. It was destroyed during a hurricane in 1846, and was subsequently rebuilt in 1848. You can walk up the lighthouse stairs when visiting.
8) Southernmost Point in the Continental USA: This is a great photo opportunity and there is usually a long line of people waiting to take their pictures in front of the anchored concrete buoy there. (show our picture)
9) Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park: Really worth a visit! For an $8 entrance fee you can explore nature trails, go to the beach, and visit a pre-civil war fortress named after president Zachary Taylor in 1850 after his death.
10) Smathers Beach: On the way out of town on A!A you can take one last dip into the ocean on the south side of the Key. There are also jet ski rentals available!