When it comes to idyllic destinations that offer a perfect blend of sun, sea and vibrant culture, few places compare to the captivating Florida Keys. Nestled off the southern coast of Florida, this archipelago of islands has long been a favorite among travellers seeking an unforgettable getaway. From its mouthwatering cuisine to its welcoming community and plethora of activities, the Florida Keys truly have something to offer every discerning visitor.
We did the 165 mile long drive from Miami to Key West, Florida Keys, along the Overseas Highway - one of the longest over water roads in the world. This drive took us across a total of 42 bridges and through many beautiful quaint towns such as Key Largo, Layton and Boca Chica Key to name a few. Key West is a U.S island city and is Florida's southernmost point, just 90 miles from Cuba. The island is around 4 miles long and 1 miles wide, it has a population of just 26,500 according to figures collected in 2023.
Key West boasts a captivating history that adds to its unique allure. Once a bustling seaport and a haven for pirates, the island is steeped in stories of exploration and adventure. Immerse yourself in the rich maritime heritage by visiting the Key West Shipwreck Museum - where you can learn about the fascinating tales of shipwrecks and treasure hunters. Explore the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where the famous writer penned some of his most iconic works. Stroll through the charming streets of Old Town, adorned with traditional Victorian-style houses and lush gardens, and discover the rich architectural heritage of the island.
Key West's natural beauty is nothing short of breathtaking. The island is located on the Gulf of Mexico and is surrounded by azure waters teeming with vibrant marine life, making it a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Explore the mesmerizing coral reefs and swim alongside colorful tropical fish in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. For a truly unique experience, take a boat trip to the nearby Dry Tortugas National Park, home to the historic Fort Jefferson and pristine beaches. Indulge in the tranquility of the island's beaches, such as Smathers Beach or Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, where you can relax on soft sands and soak in the warm sun.
Key West's vibrant culture sets it apart as a destination like no other. The island's diverse community (known for its welcoming and laid-back nature) creates an atmosphere of inclusivity and celebration. Discover the eclectic spirit of Key West through its numerous festivals and events, such as the world-famous Fantasy Fest; where locals and visitors come together in a colorful extravaganza of costumes and revelry. Enjoy live music performances at bars and venues along Duval Street - the main street of Key West, stretching 1.1 miles is known for its lively nightlife. Explore the art galleries and studios that dot the island, showcasing the talent of local artists inspired by the island's beauty.
No visit to Key West is complete without witnessing its magical sunsets. Head to Mallory Square, a bustling waterfront square, where locals and visitors gather every evening to witness the breathtaking spectacle. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky transforms into a vivid canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples, casting a serene glow over the island. The sunset celebration at Mallory Square is a testament to the island's sense of community and its appreciation for the simple joys of life.
During our visit to Key West, we stayed at Treasure Island Ocean Club. This hotel was situated on Gulf Boulevard, with great views of the Keys. It has an outdoor pool overlooking the beach, as well as a bar, BBQ facilities and free parking. We booked last minute for this room and paid just £62, but as the demand for hotels in Florida Keys increases - unfortunately so do the prices. We stayed in a Standard Queen Room which came with 2 queen beds, refrigerator, TV, microwave, coffee maker and an in-room safe. Even though the price may be slightly higher than we paid at the time, we would definitely recommend staying in this awesome hotel.
Key West: with its rich history, natural beauty, vibrant culture and unforgettable sunsets, offers a tropical escape that leaves a lasting impression. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation or a vibrant nightlife, this picturesque island has it all. From exploring its captivating landmarks and indulging in water sports to immersing yourself in the lively local culture, Key West is a destination that promises an experience like no other. So pack your bags, embrace the island's charm and let Key West cast it's magic on you.
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