The Florida Keys extend from the southern edge of Florida, southwest into the Gulf of Mexico. At land's end stands the island of Key West, the southern most point of the continental United States of America. The inhabitants of this Florida enclave are an eclectic group made up of artists, entrepreneurs, retirees, writers and those who consider themselves to be living an 'alternative' or 'eccentric' lifestyle. The local atmosphere is decidedly laid back as the biggest commitment on the island seems to be the almost subconscious daily gathering of people to watch the gorgeous sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.
Key West vacations are typically lazy, sunny days on the beach, and nights on the town that often last till dawn. The island is loaded with flashy clubs, shops and restaurants, and prices in this 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' destination can be a bit on the high side.
Some of the most popular island activities include eating a slice (or two) of 'Key Lime Pie,' strolling on Duval Street, dolphin encounters and whale watching, marlin and sailfish charters, parasailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, and scuba diving in some of the best coral reefs in all of the Caribbean Islands.
The Key West end-of-day tradition of enjoying the magnificent ocean sunset brings everyone on the island together, visitors and residents alike. Playwright Tennessee Williams, author of 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,' fell in love with the island and lived here continuously from 1949 until his death in 1983. In 1860, Key West, Florida became the richest city per capita in the U.S. because of profits earned from salvaging shipwrecks from area waters.
Key West is the southernmost point in the continental United States and the sign (to the right) displaying that fact is one of the most photographed items on the island.
The Conch Republic micronation is a declared tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West from the United States on April 23, 1982. It has been maintained as a tourism booster ever since. It began, and continues to be about the over-reach of government, however, the real official goal is: To bring "Humor, Warmth, and Respect" into a world in sore need of all three.
Major Attractions In Kew West
The subtropical paradise of Key West is a great place to get away from the daily grind, and best of all, you can drive here from the Florida mainland. And if you chose to drive, you will cross over 40 bridges on this picturesque three-hour journey from Key Largo to Key West.
Ernest Hemingway Museum - It maintains the gardens and comfortable surroundings of the home this Nobel Laureate author lived in for over a decade.
Shipwreck Treasures Museum - It transports guests back to the 1850's when shipwreck salvaging made Key West the richest town in the United States.
Key West Aquarium - This wonderful attarction is an active proponent of marine life conservation. Tens of thousands of Florida travelers visit the aquarium each year, which showcases the sea life of the Florida Keys.