For a party vacation, head to Key West, Fla. This desirable destination is the furthest southern island in the U.S. and at just 90 miles from Havana, Cuba, the most southern point of the continental United States. Since the sun is almost always out in Key West, you won’t be short on opportunities to head out for some deep sea fishing, scuba diving or sunbathing.
Students on spring break flock to the island every year to enjoy fun in the sun and the fantastic nightlife Key West has to offer. You’ll also have the chance to catch a glimpse of the infamous six-toed cat, a creature brought to the island by American writer Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway wrote many fantastic works in Key West, so literature enthusiasts can't miss taking a stroll through the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. Tours are available for visitors to the site located at 907 Whitehead Street in the center of Old Town. Hemingway found solace in his Key West home and he loved the inspiration the surrounding waters provided him. While participating in a tour of the grounds, visitors can step inside the rooms and gardens at the Hemingway home.
There are also a number of other museums on the island, including the East Martello Museum and Gallery, Key West Heritage House and Robert Frost Cottage, Key West Lighthouse Museum and the Shipwreck Historeum.
Pirate-lovers can see rare artifacts and even Captain Kidd’s last journal at Pirate Soul. At the museum, there are weapons once owned by Blackbeard as well as the only authentic pirate treasure chest in the world. The journey through Pirate Soul will take visitors back more than 300 years to the adventures of the high seas.
Things To Do
No matter how long you stay on the island, be sure to catch the iconic sunset at least once, as it is tradition in Key West to celebrate the sunset. Residents and visitors alike head to Mallory Square for the Sunset Celebration while meandering through food vendors, artists and acrobats in the carnival atmosphere.
There is no shortage of ways to amuse the kids in Key West,
includes some specific tips on kid-friendly adventures.
History buffs should head to the Audubon House and Tropical Gardens. This 19th century home is named after renowned painter and bird expert John James Audubon who visited the house in 1832. Located in Old Town, there are self-guided and audio tours available for visitors.
For a great memory, venture out to the Southernmost Point. Not only will you be standing exactly 90 miles from Cuba, but you can even catch the lights glowing from the nearby country on a clear night. You’ll want to take a picture in front of the memorial, which is located at the corner of South and Whitehead streets. Keep in mind that the site is going to be crowded during the day, so plan a visit early in the morning and snap a picture as the sun comes up.
Top Restaurants and Shopping
If you want to purchase souvenirs native to the island, stop at one of the many T-shirt stops on Duval Street. For commercial items, visit the Clinton Street Market where there are plenty of kiosks to peruse.
Cigars used to be the main industry of Key West, so you’ll find a number of stores along Cigar Alley where there are viejitos, or little old men, on the street rolling cigars. Grab your own selection of cigars at the Conch Republic Cigar Factory on Greene Street where you can find the famous El Hemingway.
Key West may be a small island, but it offers a huge selection of restaurants, many of which focus on seafood. Some of the isle's best cuisine is located in the neighborhoods of Around the Island and Around Town. Recommended for seafood are Alonzo’s Oyster Bar, Bagatelle, Blue Heaven, Hogfish Bar and Grill, Seven Fish or Turtle Kraals Wildlife Grill. If you’re in the mood for Italian, you’re in luck with eateries like Antonia’s, La Trattoria and Magnia Magnia.
There are also tons of nightlife destinations, including Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar, Sloppy Joe’s. Bar crawls are available for those looking for a fun night out, including the Key West Pub Crawl Tour, Kokomo Joe’s Off Duval Bar Crawl and the Key West Bar Stroll. During tourist months, many bars have “all you can drink” specials for a great price if you get there before a certain time.
A historic and fun-filled destination like Key West will give you memories of a lifetime. A vacation to this island at the southernmost point of the Florida Keys is a prime tourist destination with plenty of sites to be seen.
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