Located in the Straits of Florida, Key West is a picturesque island that is about 6 km long. It was originally called Cayo Hueso, which is the Spanish name of the island. It is just 90 miles away from Cuba so you can witness the Cuban influence on the local cuisine, festivals and culture. Until 1912, Key West was isolated and disconnected from the mainland. Currently, it is well connected via Overseas Highway which is a popular route with stunning views.
Literary icon and journalist Ernest Hemingway was a resident of Key West for several years in the 1930s. Some of his best works were written there. It is actually closer to Cuba than the city of Miami. The city is just 90 miles away from the coast of Cuba. So don’t get fooled by the Florida address. Known for its warm weather and relaxed vibe, Key West attracts millions of visitors from around the world. The island is also known for its unique conservation efforts to maintain the tropical ecosystem and natural wildlife.
One of Hemingway’s lesser-known contributions is a white six-toed cat by the name of Snow White that he brought to the city. Today, the Hemingway Home and Museum is home to about 50 six-toed cats.
The best time to visit is from March to May as the crowds are lesser and hotel rates are cheaper. The weather is also lovely for sightseeing, similar to winter's blissful 70s and 80s. If you are a budget traveler, avoid traveling during the winter months as Key West can get crowded and overall the rates are much steeper.
There are options galore when it comes to getting around Key West. Old Town is quite small: two miles wide by four miles long. You can easily explore the city by walking, bicycling, taxis, electric rental cars, mopeds, pedi-cabs, city buses, and trolleys. So even if you don’t have your own transport, there are plenty of options to enjoy sightseeing.
Key West can be viewed as a more costly destination when compared to other places in Florida. While expenses for things like lodgings, food, and recreational activities can accumulate rapidly, there are budget-friendly alternatives that can be found with proper planning.
Visit during the off-season. Avoid going in winter and instead book your trip between March and May as the weather is lovely and the rates are cheaper. Visits to the bar can be quite expensive. Collect and use the commonly available 2-for-1 drink coupons that bars and restaurants around town offer. Enjoy the nightly sunset celebration in Mallory Square. Watch street performers, enjoy the beautiful sunset, and tuck into some scrumptious street food.
Key West has several top tourist destinations that should not be missed, such as the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the southernmost point marker, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.
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