We talked about our road trip to discover Florida in this article FLORIDA ON THE ROAD and also through stories on Instagram (look at the highlight stories).
Miami and its characteristic neighborhoods, the famous Miami Beach with its quirks, the peace of Key Biscayne and the wonderful animal world of the Everglades.
But now we have arrived at the jewel of Florida:
Best time to visit Key West? You’ll find the best temperatures from December to March, but even from April to June it’s very popular, although the heat is really great.
Florida on the Road | Visit Key West
Close your eyes and try to imagine a beautiful sun, pastel-colored houses, bicycles…
And then imagine the sand under your feet, the sound of the sea and every day in shorts, flip-flops and a straw hat, a fruit and vegetable drink in your hands.
Key West is the southernmost tip of the famous Keys Islands, a thin but 160 km long strip of tiny islands with crystal clear sea and white sand.
There are several ways to reach and visit Key West as a courier or ferry, but on our road trip aboard our beetle, we have traveled Overseas Highway, the scenic route;; this road is a very long bridge over the water that rises precisely between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and that makes the journey by car truly unforgettable.
First of all I have to tell you that the whole island can be visited mostly on foot or by bicycle; The central and most lively area of Key West is the Old Town, where you’ll feel like in a vintage painting. The characteristic alleys, several roosters, the streets and their names engraved on brightly colored woods and its pastel-colored houses.
The streets you’ll find yourself walking on most often are Duval Street, Whitehead Street, and all those that intersect with them. On these streets you will find typical little places to eat and even hotels where to sleep, even if considering the area, the prices can also be high.
We stayed at the Lighthouse Court Hotel, delicious and highly recommended!
Right in front of our Hotel is the house in which the famous writer Ernest Hemingwey lived for many years. It was during the trip that I had the pleasure of reading his famous book “The Old Man and the Sea” which allowed me to learn more about the character of Ernest, and to visit his home seemed to me like go to a friend.
Visit Key West | Ernest Heminguey’s House
It was inhabited by the writer from 1931 to 1939, is now open to paid visits (bring cash) and, as originally, is literally full by cats. The building dates back to 1851 and over time has shown resistance to the elements: during the 2017 Hurricane Irma, when the whole island was evacuated, the museum curator, the employees (and the many cats with them) refused to leave the house, and all survived without any problem.
Right in front of Hemingway’s house is another beautiful Key West museum, dedicated to the lighthouse and the guardian’s house. Climbing the 88 steps, you’ll come to enjoy a beautiful view of the island! This lighthouse has a remarkable historical importance, and a visit deserves it. You’ll go for a walk in the life of the lighthouse keepers, discover every secret. Very interesting!
Visit Key West | Old Town
The Old Town is a cluster of streets between Duval Street, Truman Ave, White Street; all kinds of shops, music, free dancing, colors and good food. This is what Key West’s heart represents.
The parallel is Whitehead Street, where at the junction with Fleming Street, you’ll find the road sign that you’ve seen everywhere in the island’s souvenir shops: Mile 0 (Mile Marker 0). This point of the island and its respective green signal with the white writing, represents the end of the Overseas Highway, or Route 1, the panoramic road that brought you to the island from north Florida.
A few steps from here you’ll find yourself in front of an important historic building, the Monroe County Courthouse, the courthouse dating from 1915.
Many other historic buildings that you will find near this area are: Oldest House & Garden Museum, the oldest house in Key West, built in 1829; visitable inside, you’ill discover the life of the Watlington family.
Also interesting is the Curry Mansion, the home of Florida’s first millionaire, which can be visited for free.
I’ve already told you that Key West has a lot to offer! We talked about history, but there are also several bars and clubs where you can find good drinks, music and entertainment.
First we have the famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar, between Duval and Greene Street.
This bar is famous because Ernest Hemingwey was a customer more than fond of!
But the truth is that the authentic Sloppy’s Joe is not where you find it now, but just a few minutes away, where the Capt Tony’s Saloon now stands, live music, food, dollars and bras that act as a ceiling in a real atmosphere saloon from the past!
Other places worthy of mention?
Smallest Bar, the smallest of the island and The Bull & The Whistle, which represents three in one. On each floor something different! On the ground floor music and revelry, on the first floor more tranquility, and at the top the Garden of Eden where it’s also possible to … stay naked, completely.
Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square | Visit Key West
The appointment that for no reason in the world if you are in Florida and more precisely in Key West, you have to lose.
Mallory Square, which you can access by entering Front Street, is a very large square, northwest of the island, made famous for its Sunset Celebration. From 8.00 pm every evening, the sky will be tinged with peach, there will be music, street performers, local craft stalls and shacks selling typical cocktails. The atmosphere makes everything more beautiful, the distant thoughts, the light heart. Sit down and enjoy the spectacle of the sky that goes down disappearing into the sea while surfers or tourists on boats, disappear against the horizon.
Key West | Southernmost Point
At the bottom of Whitehead Street; we are on the southernmost point of the United States and the monument you’ll find (and you’ll have to stand in line if you want to photograph it) is just that. It’s said that on sunny days, it’s possible to see the outline of neighboring Cuba!
Just to be aware, it seems that there is still a point further south of this in nearby Fort Zachary, which I will tell you about shortly, naming the most beautiful beaches!
Key West | The best beaches
We are not in the Caribbean but Key West can and knows how to defend itself well!
One of the most famous beaches is right next to Southernmost Point, and it’s called South Beach. Its coastline is sandy, the water is not too high and it’s still a small quiet beach.
In a quarter of an hour on foot, you’ll find the “greenest” Higgs Beach a beach larger than the previous and rich in vegetation.
Among the most beautiful and even less touristy, we find the paid beach (a few dollars access) of Fort Zachary (Fort Zachary Beach). The coast is composed of sand but on a rocky surface; strange to explain but the important thing is that you get there with the shoes suitable for rocky beaches. The beach is equipped, you’ill find Pic-Nic areas, showers and a bar where you can eat. Near to the bar there will be a small shop that also sells shoes suitable for the rocky seabed, even if the price is certainly not convenient.
With the help of a ranger it will also be possible to visit the fort. A really nice experience.
Here is Key West, the jewel of Florida.
Very different from the west area of the United States, California with its parks and the coast of Venice Beach, Malibu, San Diego …
But this is the beauty of the United States, diversity and beauty that they conquer in a different way, one from the other.