Key West Warnings and Dangers
The southernmost town in the United States, Key West, is known for having a laid back lifestyle with a fun party atmosphere. However there are a few safety tips that will make your stay memorable.
Although Key West offers nice weather year-round, it can change quickly during hurricane season, May-November. It’s not easy to get out since there is only a two-lane road through the keys. When everyone is trying to leave it can be congested. Another option is one of the high speed ferries that take you to Ft. Myers on the Gulf Coast but due high winds and large waves, this might not be an option. If you decide to visit Key West during hurricane season, check weather warnings frequently and get out quickly if necessary.
Key West has a great outdoor lifestyle and much of it centers around activities on the water. Always use sunscreen and stay hydrated. The trade winds from the Gulf Stream make the temperature seem milder but the sun is very strong both on land and water.
Jelly fish, particularly Portuguese Man-o-Wars, are commonly found near the shore line in the sea grass and on beaches. These colorful balloon shaped creatures have a vicious sting that can be, at best, extremely painful and at worst interfere with heart and lung function. If the pain last more than an hour, seek medical help.
Barracudas have been seen swimming close to shore and along the piers. Unlikely they would attack while swimming, but an accidental encounter such as stepping on one, might cause them to bite.
The Conch Republic, unofficial nickname of Key West, is well known as a popular spot for tourists who embrace alternate lifestyles particularly the LGBT community and those who practice clothing optional. The town is open and vibrant which adds a great deal of fun, color and livelihood to those who call this island home. If you are a light sleeper or not a party animal, it is not advisable to stay along Duval Street. Most bars stay open until the wee hours of the morning and the music is loud and as diverse as their audience.
The docks at sunset can get crowded so secure your wallet, cell phone and money. Very little free parking. Ask before taking photos of others. Do not try to pet the wild chickens roaming the streets, especially the roosters. You might get angrily “hen pecked.”
The sunsets are magnificent. The lifestyle is tolerant. The sea will call to you. Embrace your inner-Conch and bring home great memories.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers in Key West.