At the Southernmost point of Florida you’ll find Key West, a laidback tropical island that will have you feeling as if you’ve stepped straight into the Caribbean. Throughout its rich history Key West has served as a refuge to pirates, ship wreckers, smugglers, writers, artists, fishermen and musicians. With an eclectic atmosphere where life moves at its own pace, every hour is happy hour in this little slice of paradise.
That’s right, Key West has recovered from the hurricane, and it is truly paradise again. Furthermore, the businesses need you guys (the travellers and tourists to return!) If there’s one thing we love doing on the blog, it’s promoting worthy destinations and that’s why we were excited when Expedia.com wanted to collaborate on a story for Key West. So get your butts back to Florida, your time and money means so much more than just an amazing holiday for yourselves, it also means an you’re actively taking part in the restoration of one of the world’s most beautiful places.
We’ve highlighted five good reasons to visit. So head over to Expedia.com to plan your Key West vacation.
If there’s one thing the locals know how to do it’s celebrate at every opportunity. The sunsets in Key West are unrivalled and in order to celebrate its magnificence there is a gathering every day at Mallory Square where locals and tourists come out to enjoy the orange hues and entertainment provided by street performers, artists and musicians who fill the streets. It’s the perfect way to end off the day and once the sun goes down you can head to Duval Street’s restaurants and bars where to continue the celebrations.
Fantasy Fest is a 10 day extravaganza that was started by some Key West locals back in 1979 and has grown every year to become the wild party it is today. This year from the 19th to 28th October, Key West will become party central with fancy-dress parades, pet masquerades and eccentric antics all celebrating this year’s theme of “Oh…the games we play”.
For the History
Key West has a fascinating history from art, pirates & shipwrecks to slave rescues. You have to make a stop at some of the many museums and historical sites around town. In 1928 Ernest Hemingway found himself on the island of Key West. By 1931 Hemingway and his wife loved the island so much they made it home. Today their little home has been restored and literary enthusiasts can go visit the exact spot where Hemingway conceptualised and wrote some of his best works.
Discover the treacherous world of shipwrecking and how it made Key West one of the richest cities in America back in 1856 at the Key West Shipwreck Museum. Delve deeper into the sea-faring history at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum known for sound archaeology, excellent research, and stunning exhibitions.
For a taste of Cuba
Being closer to Cuba than it is to Miami, Key West has a strong Cuban influence and lots of opportunities to immerse yourself in the Cuban culture. Most significant is the rum and cigar trade that flourished in Key West during the prohibition years. The Key West First Legal Rum Distillery is a unique and offbeat rum distillery with three decades of expertise. Guided tours are available and with an array of quality rum a visit here will definitely be memorable.
The Cuban Cigar tradition started in the mid-19th century when Cuban refugees landed in Key West. It did not take long until it was the Cigar Capital of the World. These days you can still enjoy a Cuban style hand-rolled cigar.
For the Natural Beauty
Higgs Beach is a stunning spot just off Duval street where you can spend your day soaking up the sun and taking a dip in the shallow waters. Tennis courts, volleyball courts, children’s playground and a dog park ensure there’s something for everyone. Water sports are also very popular here and snorkelling, kayaking, wind surfing, parasailing or jet skiing will provide endless hours of fun.
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is also a must see with swirling butterflies, colourful birds, bright koi fish, pink flamingos and turtles. The Eco-Discovery Centre will also give you a look into the ecosystems of the Florida Keys and includes an interactive satellite map of the Keys, a replica of the Aquarius underwater ocean laboratory and an underwater video camera used for monitoring the health of a coral reef.
For Good Food
The local cuisine unsurprisingly has a strong Cuban influence with a focus on seafood. Dining choices range from five-star gourmet restaurants to casual cafes and bars. Restaurants are plentiful in this small town, from Duval Street to hidden Old Town Gems and everywhere in between there’s a culinary experience just for you. Some highlights include the Cuban Coffee Queen for an authentic Cuban breakfast. Louie’s Backyard is a perfect fine dining spot for lunch and El Meson de Pepe has a variety of delicious island style cuisine to enjoy after you’ve watched the sunset at Mallory Square.