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Key West: A Short Guide

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

If you're looking for an island in continental U.S. with stunning water and lots of charm, Key West is your destination! Even though the island is only a mile wide and four miles long, there is so much to do for people of all ages. Here is a short guide to Key West:


How to Get There

Key West isn't the easiest place to get to. Even though flights to Key West International Airport can be more expensive than flights to Miami, you won't have to rent a car and drive 3-1/2 hours if you fly directly to the island. The drive across Seven Mile Bridge is definitely beautiful, but for gephyrophobics (people who are scared of bridges) it can be daunting.


Where to Stay

While there's always the option to get a vacation rental while you're visiting, they can be pretty expensive. My favorite place to stay in Key West is Casa Marina! While it can also be expensive (after all, it is a Waldorf Astoria Resort), it is totally worth the money! The hotel offers a private beach (the island's largest private beach), two oceanfront pools, a private pier, and onsite dining. You can also rent equipment and cabanas, and book fishing trips, snorkeling trips, jet ski tours, scuba diving trips, dolphin encounter trips, and more all at the resort!! My family went on a two-hour jet ski tour around the island and we had so much fun! The tour leaves from the resort's beach and returns to the same spot, so we didn't even have to leave the resort or hop in a car.

1500 Reynolds Street

Key West, FL 33040



What to Do

Writer and Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in this gorgeous home for over 10 years! It was originally built in 1851, but Hemingway didn't move in until 1931. The house still features furniture that the Hemingway family used, some of which was purchased by Ernest Hemingway's wife when she lived in Europe. Visitors can take a 30-minute guided tour of the house and check out the garden any day because it is open 365 days a year!

(Note: General admission is $16 per adult and $6 per child.)

907 Whitehead Street

Key West, FL 33040



Southernmost Point of Continental US

While some people argue that this technically isn't the southernmost point of continental US, it's a fun place to get picture and look at the ocean. Sometimes there is a line to get a picture with the massive buoy so keep that in mind when choosing a time to go.

South Street & Whitehead Street

Key West, FL 33040


Construction on Fort Zachary Taylor, which was named after former U.S. President Zachary Taylor, began in 1845 and finished in 1866. The fort served as headquarters during the Civil War and it was also used during the Spanish-American War. You can walk through the halls, see old weapons (they have the largest collection of civil war cannons in the US), tour the fort, and enjoy the beach!

(Note: General admission is $6 per vehicle.)

601 Howard England Way

Key West, FL 33040



The Key West Lighthouse, which opened in 1848 with a female keeper, underwent several upgrades over the years. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1969 and, therefore, no longer needed a full-time keeper. You can now see relics from previous keepers and climb the 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse (the view is amazing)!

(Note: General admission is $17 for adults, $12 for seniors/college students, and $8 for youth.)

938 Whitehead Street

Key West, FL 33040



Glass Bottom Boat Tour

There are a few companies that offer glass bottom boat tours and several different options for types of trips. I highly recommend taking a sunset cruise and glass bottom boat combo! You never know what you will see on a glass bottom boat tour. This is the perfect way to see sea life and enjoy a beautiful sunset on the water!


This house, which was built in 1890, was originally used as naval officers housing. Several presidents, including Bill Clinton, John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and William Howard Taft, used the house. Other important figures, like Thomas Edison, visited. Former President Harry S. Truman used the Little White House as a winter house during his presidency, hence the name "Harry S Truman Little White House"! As you walk through the house, you'll see original furnishings and get a glimpse into Truman's stays at the Little White House!

(Note: General admission is $22.52 for adults and $10.75 for children.)

111 Front Street

Key West, FL 33040



Construction on Fort East Martello, dedicated to protect Key West (controlled by the Union) from a Confederate attack, began in the 19th century, but the construction was never completed. Although it was never completed and it wasn't used during the civil war, Fort East Martello was used during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. In the 1960s, the fort was taken over by the Key West Art & Historical Society, it was renovated, and it opened as a museum. At the museum you are able to learn about the cigar-manufacturing industry in Key West, and see and learn about Civil War artifacts and Robert the Doll. Robert the Doll has been haunting people and places for many years; the museum has the entire background of the doll, including stories from previous owners. Don't forget to ask permission from Robert before you take a picture of him. 😉

3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd.

Key West, FL 33040



There's a reason why Key West is loved by so many, including former presidents: it is unique, beautiful, and charming! Whether you're looking for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, Key West is the way to go. Not only does it offer plenty of activities in its crystal clear waters, but it also has plenty of activities on the island.


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