About Key West

by SmarterTravel Staff
Key West-Duval Street (Photo: Len Kaufman/Florida Keys News Bureau)

The southernmost city in the continental U.S., Key West, Florida, is famous for its gorgeous scenery and relaxed atmosphere. The conchs (locals) are happy to share their piece of paradise, and have a live-and-let-live attitude that makes everyone feel welcome.

Ernest Hemingway made Key West his home for many years. Today, guests can tour his house and see the 60 cats that call it home. He's not the only public figure to fall under the spell of the city. Robert Frost wintered here for much of his life, and Harry Truman spent time in the "Little White House."


Fishing is a popular activity, especially on the Florida Straits and the shallow flats. During the day, visitors can take in the blue water sailed by Ponce de Leon in 1513 by kayaking, snorkeling, or scuba diving near area reefs. The Dry Tortugas National Park is another great way to experience nature, and perhaps even find long-lost pirate treasure. Whatever you find at the beach, you're sure to see pirate loot at the Pirate Soul museum, which has the only authentic treasure chest in America.

Duval Street is one of the most popular Key West attractions, with plenty of shopping and hopping nightlife. The party atmosphere really heats up during the Sunset Celebration on Mallory Dock. Every night when the sun begins to disappear, the informal event takes off, with jugglers, mimes, and musicians bidding adieu to the day.

Key West International Airport is served by American, Continental, and Delta, so finding flights to Key West should be an easy task from most cities.

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